Book Review: Latkes for Santa Claus, by Janie Emaus

Thank you to Janie Emaus for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.


To: Santa
From: Anna

My new dad and stepbrother celebrate Christmas, so you’re coming to my house for the very first time. And I think you must be REALLY tired of cookies. I’m going to leave you the best Santa treat ever.

Anna is excited that Santa will be visiting her house for the first time, and she wants to leave Santa a treat that blends the holidays her new family celebrates: Christmas and Hanukkah.

She expresses this idea to her stepbrother, Michael, who insists that Santa doesn’t need anything but his sugar cookies. Anna imagines Santa has to be bored with cookies by now and is determined to find a Jewish recipe that he’ll enjoy. The catch? It has to be something easy for Santa to grab and go.

It can’t be matzo ball soup—soup in a sleigh with galloping reindeer will never do.

It can’t be noodle kugel—imagine that by the handful. What a mess!

And as certain as Anna is that Santa would devour tzimmes, she knows he just doesn’t have the time to sit and enjoy a hearty stew on Christmas Eve.

Anna retreats to her thinking corner to figure out the perfect finger food for Santa, not wanting to disappoint him on his very first visit to her house.

In this humorous and endearing picture book, blending both Christmas and Hannukah, a little girl and her stepbrother compete to leave Santa the best treats ever.

Latkes for Santa Claus concludes with Anna and Michael’s winning recipes, ready for children to replicate for Santa in their own kitchens.



  • I loved the story idea blending Christmas and Hanukkah together. The characters enjoy the best of both holidays.
  • I loved the anticipation of sharing this book with family, friends, and students. I personally know many children who celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah and am excited this engaging book was written to honor the traditions of both holidays.
  • I loved the fun pacing of the story as it followed the friendly competition of Anna and Michael.
  • I loved the illustrations. The vibrant colors and character expressions bring the story to life.
  • I loved that this book could, or should, be a holiday special on TV.
  • I loved that the story ended by sharing two recipes that I look forward to trying this holiday season.


Latkes for Santa Claus is the perfect children’s book to kick off the holiday season. This adorable story follows Anna’s competition with her new stepbrother as they both strive for the best treats to leave for Santa Claus. Anna is celebrating Christmas for the first time and introduces Michael to a variety of Hanukkah dishes. The author perfectly captures the spirit and traditions of both holidays. The pacing of events reads like the next animated, holiday special. Illustrations are beautiful and engaging. I look forward to sharing this book with family, friends, and students. The two delicious recipes are a delightful bonus.


Janie Emaus is an author/blogger. LATKES FOR SANTA CLAUS is her debut picture book. EASTER EGGS AND MATZO BALLS, another blended holiday story will be released in 2023. Her time travel romance, THE TIME TRAVELING MATCHMAKERS is forthcoming in 2022 from Wild Rose Press. In addition, her essays and short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and websites. To learn more about Janie, visit her website at www.


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