Tag Archives: Christmas

Love, Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Santa
by Martha Brockenbrough, illustrated by Lee White
Arthur A Levine Books, 2017

This book is sure to become a classic, as it dispels the myth of Santa in a loving, affirming way.  It will be a hit with kids, as half the pages invite children to open letters tucked inside envelopes.

Beginning when Lucy was five, she wrote a letter to Santa, and Santa wrote back. When she was six, she wrote another letter, and Santa wrote back.  When she was seven, she started a letter, but…asking for stuff didn’t matter as much.  By the time she was eight, she suspected that Santa was not real and the presents had come from mom.  Her mother wrote a letter back explaining Santa’s job is not to deliver presents, but to help us ‘believe’. Her mother tells Lucy she is now on Santa’s team. A touching story that reframes ‘Santa’ in a new, fresh way.

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The Christmas Boot

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The Christmas Boot

by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016

A fresh tale of an old woman who lives alone in her ramshackle cabin in the snow-covered forest.  While collecting firewood, she spots a black boot.  She pulls it over her rag-wrapped foot.  Though grateful, she wishes she had its mate, and in the morning it appears!  Happy, she comments that if she had warm mittens, “I would be the happiest woman in the world,” and red mittens appear.  Amazed, she wonders if the boot will give her a big fancy house and when she returns that day, one appears. She later opens her door to a man in a red suit with one boot.  She returns the boot.  He leaves behind boots and mittens and when she goes to bed, she discovers her heart’s desire, ‘someone to talk to.’  Beautifully illustrated in pencil and watercolors, this Santa tale will capture young hearts for Christmas.

Lisa Wheeler and Jerry Pinkney teamed up for a delightful, snuggle-under-the-blanket read and pure enjoyment.

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Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein

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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.

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Yoon and the Christmas Mitten

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Yoon and the Christmas Mitten
by Helen Recorvits, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Frances Foster Books, 2007

While this book is older and only available used or at a library, it’s worth seeking out.  It’s a poignant story about a young Korean girl, new to America, who doesn’t understand why she can’t celebrate Santa Claus.

In kindergarten, Yoon learns about Santa Claus.  She attempts to tell her parents about this wonderful man, but they say they live in a Korean house, not a Christmas house.  She learns about reindeer, makes popcorn balls and learns about Christmas stockings, but her parents stay solid on claiming they live in a Korean house, not a Christmas house.  Frustrated, Yoon points out, “But father, you have also told me that America is our home now.  Are we not both Korean and American?”  He contemplates her words and compliments her, “You are full of shining wisdom, little Yoon.”  On Christmas Day, she awakens to a piece of the North Pole in her mitten and a gift by her bed.

Beyond the main theme of immigrants having to make changes when they move to a new land, many additional components make this a wonderful story: the young child is ‘heard’ by her parents, the loose illustrations speak to the heart, and the charm of a red mitten in place of a stocking.  An endearing tale.

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Miracle on 133rd Street

Miracle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miracle on 133rd Street 
By Sonia Manzano, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Atheneum Books for Yong Readers, 2015

A young family immigrated from Puerto Rico feels cramped in their small apartment.  When they go to prepare their Christmas roast, the oven is too small.  The family decides to bake it at a pizza restaurant.  On their way there, neighbors in their apartment and in stores along the way all share their Christmas ‘stresses’.  When the roast arrives, it’s aromas relax everyone, and the young family invites them over to share their feast.  A wonderful story sharing all the usual holiday commotions and sharing love over food.  The loose colorful illustrations highlight the fun and frivolities of the holidays.  Sharing numerous snippets of Christmas, everyone is bound to find one familiar to their experience.

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Santa Claus and the Three Bears

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Santa Claus and the Three Bears
by Maria Modugno, illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer
Harper, 2013

Based on the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this delightful story stays true to the original story, adapting it perfectly to fit Santa and the Christmas holidays.  While the author weaves in a few fresh ideas, it feels like an original story, not an adaptation.  Rendered in watercolor and gouache, the characters draw in the readers into the humorous tension.

While I generally include a summary of the story, it did not seem necessary for this classic.  Children will delight in discovering the similarities and differences between the two storylines.  Santa Claus and the Three Bears is a book that deserves a place on the shelf with the family’s Christmas classics.

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