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Topic: Holiday Book Traditions

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Subject: Holiday Book Traditions
Date Posted: 11/11/2008 1:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/8/2008
Posts: 111
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In an effort to get some discussions going.... What holiday books do your kids enjoy hearing? Do you have any books that are part of a holiday  (any holiday) tradition?

For Christmas my kids like to hear How the Grinch Stole Christmas read to them. I pack it away with the christmas decorations and it is a big deal when it is unpacked (with the other holiday books). I am thinking about purchasing the Polar Express this year to add to the holiday collection.

For Hanukkah my kids really like Chanukah Bugs by David Carter. They love the silly bugs and the pop up pictures. Another Hanukkah favorite is Blue's Clues Chanukah, they ask for that one year round.

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 1:31 AM ET
Member Since: 8/4/2007
Posts: 389
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We absoulutely love Christmas books. I buy my boys a new Christmas book every year. And I wrap 25 Christmas books, and they open one every day as a countdown to Christmas.

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 1:54 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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We have a few. I'm at work and I can't remember a single title at the moment. My girls are older now so no longer read them. One I really liked was about a young African-American boy who befriended a Jewish barber (I think) and the senior taught the boy about Hanukkah and made him a minora (sp?).  We have another about angels and a really cool pop-up book about the 12 Days of Christmas. I believe we owned at least one on Kwanzaa as well.

Last Edited on: 11/12/08 1:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/12/2008 5:51 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 8,435
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The Grinch used to be one of our favorites also, along with 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

We also had a pop up book, I think it was called The Cookie Book(?) done by a guy that is an excellent pop-up book creator, although his name escapes me at the moment.

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 9:45 AM ET
Member Since: 7/11/2006
Posts: 1,070
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We have tons and tons of holiday books!   We have a couple of the collections of stories and I've always tried to read one story each night of December.   As the kids get older and homework increases, it gets more difficult to do that.   I'm going to try hard to do it this year!    One of our newer Christmas books is An Orange for Frankie, by Patricia Polacco.  It's a beautiful book, but emotional (like many of her books!)   Here is a summary from Amazon:


From Booklist
K-Gr. 2. Autobiography melds with history in this poignant tale of a family tradition, set around Christmastime during the Great Depression. Polacco introduces the Stowell family, a brood of nine living on a farm just outside of Detroit. Though they don't have a lot, the family never hesitates to share its good fortune, often feeding hungry hoboes as they pass through the nearby train station. Frankie, the youngest son, even gives one of them his favorite sweater. When Frankie loses the precious Christmas orange given to each child, he tells his mother about his error and also fesses up about his missing sweater. His family is so moved by his charitable gesture, it^B rallies to make sure Frankie has the most special gift of all. Polacco illustrates the story in her trademark watercolor-and-pencil style, with key elements picked out in bright color against more muted backdrops. Like many of Polacco's picture books, this holiday story about gifts and giving is based on a chapter from her own family history. Terry Glover
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


and another Polacco treasure - Trees of the Dancing Goats:


From Publishers Weekly
Polacco's (Babushka's Doll) warmhearted memoir can easily be pressed into double duty for both Hanukkah and Christmas reading. On the family farm in Michigan, Trisha and Richard watch as Babushka and Grampa prepare for Hanukkah in their native Russian way, hand-dipping the candles, carving the children gifts of little wooden animals, cooking the latkes. When scarlet fever debilitates their neighbors, Trisha's whole family pitches in to make and deliver holiday dinners and Christmas trees (decorated with the children's wooden animals). Polacco's characteristically buoyant illustrations embody the joy of holiday traditions even as her robust storytelling locates the essence of that joy in sharing and friendship. While this work should have broad appeal, it is in particular an excellent choice for families seeking to mingle Jewish and Christian traditions. Ages 5-10.


Oh and another - I forgot about this, have to dig it out.  It's a beautiful story!!    Can anyone tell how much we love Patricia Polacco?!    I would recommend all of these (and her others) for older children.  Great family stories that lead to some good discussions.   My kids know that I can't read her books without sobbing and I have to turn them over to dad to finish sometimes!

Christmas Tapestry:


From Publishers Weekly
Polacco's (The Keeping Quilt) knack for spinning seemingly disparate characters and plot elements into personal yarns works to great effect in this holiday picture book, based on a "true story" told as a church homily. Jonathan resents his Baptist preacher father's reassignment from Memphis to a dilapidated church in Detroit, and he's dismayed when damage from a blizzard ruins months of planning to restore the building in time for Christmas Eve services. But the elegant-looking, bargain-priced tapestry he and his dad purchase to cover the damage miraculously brings about the reunion of an elderly Jewish couple separated decades earlier during the Holocaust. Though the tale slows in spots, Polacco's signature illustrations of swirling snow, the fine tapestry and numerous love-filled faces invite readers to linger. All ages.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.



Date Posted: 11/12/2008 9:48 AM ET
Member Since: 7/11/2006
Posts: 1,070
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Patricia Polacco came to our school a couple of years ago and was just amazing.   The kids were mesmorized by her stories, but some of the parents find her a little too depressing and/or serious.  I guess it's a good idea to read the books first yourself to see if you think it's something you want to share with your child.  Personally, I like to take every opportunity to let me kids know just how easy they have it!!


Forgot one....Welcome Comfort


From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-With her well-known way with words and exuberant illustrations, Polacco has again created an endearing holiday offering. Welcome Comfort is an overweight foster child who knows loneliness well, but finds acceptance and solace in his friendship with the new school custodian, Quintin Hamp. It is through his influence that Welcome learns that "believin' is seein.'" The Hamps become a stable and lasting force in his life, even though they take a mysterious vacation north every year on Christmas Eve. One year the young man and his new bride are invited along and readers learn that Welcome has been groomed over the years to become the next Santa Claus. A touching and enjoyable story that reads well aloud.-T.T.



Last Edited on: 11/12/08 9:49 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Christmas books
Date Posted: 11/15/2008 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2008
Posts: 114
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I display children's books on my mantle all through the year.  My Christmas collection has more than enough and I rotate which ones are displayed each year.  I am currently collecting patriotic books, thanksgiving books,  and ocean/seashore books to display in summer.

Anyway back to the Christmas books, Jan Brett has a new one this year called Gingerbread Friends.  I also love An Orange for Frankie and have it on my wish list, also wishing for Silver Packages.  We enjoy Courdoroy's Christmas  and Merry Chrismas Curious George.

Date Posted: 11/15/2008 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 10/12/2005
Posts: 143
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Robert Sabuda is the amazing paper artist who creates the most unbelievable popup books (including the cooking one mentioned above).  We get a new Sabuda book every year (some years several).

I love the story of Twas the Night Before Christmas, and try to get a new version of the book each year... it's neat to see how many different illustrators have put their own spin on the classic story.

We also keep our holiday books packed away with the decorations for that holiday and it's always fun to get them out and enjoy the "new" books for the season.

I have friends who do the 25 books to count down to Christmas but we've not done that (yet)

Our boys are still young, so most of their things come from Santa, but each year they get one package from Mommy & Daddy ... that package is opened Christmas Eve and contains a book (or books) and a new pair of pjs (for the pictures/video on Christmas morning).


Date Posted: 11/16/2008 2:56 AM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2008
Posts: 6
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One of my absolute favorites is the Gift of the Magi. It is such an awesome story.  My absolute favorite from growing up is Santa Mouse. Not many people have heard about it, but I love it! We had a stuffed animal Santa Mouse, and everything. I love it...!

Date Posted: 11/17/2008 1:17 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2008
Posts: 84
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My husband reads "the best Christmas Pagent Ever" to us every year, a chapter a night. I love it. My mother used to read "the Littlest Angel" to us, but I can't get through it without crying yet. I have a box of Christmas media, books & cds. My 7 year old loved listening to "the cinnamon bear" which was a radio show, we listened to in on the computer. We downloaded it here http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/11/29/the-cinnamon-bear-an-annual-holiday-tradition/

And I love Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree. I had vague memories of it, and found it just in time for last Christmas.

Date Posted: 11/17/2008 11:52 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 149
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My daughter loves all the differnt advent things we do & one of her favorites is the 25 wrapped Christmas books. 

I got smart a few years ago...  When she was 3, we already have 25 Xmas books taking up year-round space on her bookshelf.  Each year, after Christmas, I select 25 of them to wrap up.  Then ALL the Christmas books go into my Christmas bins & the advent part is already to go when we get the books down.  Putting all of them away for the year also helps to keep the stories fresh & special. 

My daughter spends a while trying to guess which wrapped book is the Lego Christmas story - Illustrated with Legos by a preacher's son.  Quite fun

Enjoy the season!!


Date Posted: 11/23/2008 9:48 AM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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Great question! I'm not certain there is a particular book that I read each Christmas except for the poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas". We do have some book related traditions, though. We celebrate St Nicholas Day on December 6th, so on the 5th my son puts his shoes under the tree and in the morning he finds an orange, chocolate coins, a new ornament for the tree and a new book. On Christmas Eve, his present from us is a new pair of pajamas (usually Hanna Andersson long johns) and....a new book!
Subject: Christmas traditions
Date Posted: 12/30/2008 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2008
Posts: 13
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I always keep a simple blessed nativity book low on my bookshelves for anyone wanting to look through it or read on their own.  My grandsons are four and eight.  Also a child's creche they are free to play with and of course my creche which belonged to husband's mother's family that is "hands off".  Also each child has an advent wreath made from a styrofoam ring covered with felt and some holly leaves (felt glued on) and red holly balls.  I made three purple candles and one pink of felt, put on a yellow flame and velcro for each candle on the wreath.