Award-winning Hanukkah book gets stage debut in Mountain View

“Oskar and the Eight Blessings,” a Hanukkah story about a young Jewish refugee that won the 2015 National Jewish Book Award for Children’s Literature, has been adapted for the stage and is getting its world premiere this week in Mountain View.

The book, written by Richard and Tanya Simon and illustrated by Mark Siegel, tells the story of Oskar, a boy sent to America by his family after Kristallnacht.

A page of artwork from "Oskar and the
A page of artwork from “Oskar and the Eight Blessings”

He arrives by ship in New York City in 1938 with only a photograph and the address of an aunt he has never met, and walks the length of Manhattan to his new home on the seventh day of Hanukkah. Along the way, the hungry and exhausted child experiences acts of kindness from people he encounters and lives out his father’s last words to him: “Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings.”

The show will be presented Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8-9, as part of Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Stories on Stage” series. There are shows Friday at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $8, except for the Friday night show — at which the $10 admission price includes holiday snacks. Tickets and other info available here.

Rob Gloster

Rob Gloster z"l was J.'s senior writer from 2016-2019.