Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein
by Amanda Peet and Andrea Troyer, illustrated by Christine Davenier
Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2015
As you know from the title, this book is about a Jewish girl who writes a letter to Santa.
In this poignant tale, Young Rachel sees all the bright lights, decorated trees, and gifts on display to celebrate Christmas and wants to celebrate it “like everyone else does”. But her family doesn’t celebrate Christmas and she must accept that. The book has several worthy quotes, including,
“But when Christmas came to town, Rachel felt like a kid in a candy store with no mouth.”
She asks if they can put up lights. No. She asks if they can put up a tree, like another Jewish family. No. So that night, Rachel writes a letter to Santa asking him to come to her house.
“…I know that you are a fair person and will not mind that I am Jewish. After all, so was Jesus, at least on his mother’s side.”
She visits Santa, to ask him in person. And on the eve before Christmas, she makes cookies (out of latke’s) and decorates her house for Santa. But, of course, he doesn’t come. As is the family’s tradition, they go to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, but this year she sees her friends, Lucy Deng, Mike Rashid and Amina Singh, who also don’t celebrate Christmas. Learning about their holiday celebrations, she reasons, “why feel so bad about one little old day like Christmas?”
Truly a wonderful book about diversity! An eye opener for those who celebrate Christmas, to remind them it is a religious holiday, not celebrated by everyone, and to be aware of cultural differences.