One of my favorite authors growing up– and to this day– is Daniel Handler. You may know him better by his pen name: Lemony Snicket, behind A Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Wrong Questions. Handler is Jewish, so on this night of Hanukkah I would like to celebrate him.
Fun fact – like Handler, the Baudelaire children are Jewish! “There is something naturally…but not exclusively… Jewish about unending misery,” he said in an interview with patheos.com. “I’m Jewish so, by default, the characters I create are Jewish, I think. Then I think I have something of a Jewish sensibility shaped by having a Jewish upbringing and so, therefore, books that I produce would be somewhat Jewish in tone.”
It is not often that we get to read a book and assume that they follow Judaism. More often than not readers assume Christianity as the character’s religion. So it feels pretty awesome knowing that there are books in which the main characters are Jewish. Thanks Handler, for creating characters we know we can relate to!
Handler has also written a book that I love called The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming. This children’s book uses the humor of a screaming latke to educate people about Hanukkah. The great thing about this book is that it is not geared towards Jewish children but all children to teach them about Hanukkah. Many books about the Jewish holidays are specifically written for those children, but this is informative without being directed at a religious demographic.
I definitely need to go back and re-read The Series of Unfortunate Events after learning this. When I first read them, I wouldn’t have looked for elements of my religion but I also may not have recognized them. So I’d be interested to read his books from a Jewish perspective.
Daniel Handler is not the only Jewish author in existence, but he is one of my favorites, period. I hope in the future he will write more books involving Judaism and I look forward to reading them.
I hope everyone gets to read some Lemony Snicket over this holiday and that you all have an
Happy Unfortunate Hanukkah!