When I realised that it was only two weeks till school shut for the year end break, I pulled out a few of my favourite Christmas books for my sessions this week.
I’ve often shared about my penchant for collecting meaningful Christmas books and right on top of my list is, Patricia Polacco. Her stories are often drawn from personal experience and filled with family, community, love and support.
Her book CHRISTMAS TAPESTRY is based on a story she had heard as part of the homily at church.
Jonathan resents his preacher father's reassignment from Memphis to a dilapidated church in Detroit. A blizzard damages part of the church ruining months of planning to restore the building in time for Christmas Eve services.
When they find a beautiful, bargain-priced tapestry he and his dad purchase it to cover the damage. Little did they expect a Christmas miracle that brings about the reunion of an elderly Jewish couple separated decades earlier during the Holocaust. Peppered with Polacco’s trademark illustrations, this is a book I read to my older students and it caused many a throat to choke and many pairs of eyes to well up.
A moving tale of the universe conspiring to create little coincidences…or so they seem. Yet they seem to fall into place with a purpose.
This is a long, slow paced read and the children need to be familiar with the occurrence of the Holocaust.
Book two, RED AND LULU by Matt Tavares, was read out to my younger elementary children.
Another tale filled with love and serendipity.
Red and Lulu are a pair of cardinals who live in a beautiful, huge evergreen tree. They love the Christmas season when humans gather around to sing ‘Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree’. They live happily together in their tree home, when the unthinkable happens…they are separated.
Red, follows the truck carrying the tree on its bed and along with it Lulu.
Will he ever find her again?
The children followed along with Red, holding their breath both at the image of the Rockefeller centre tree and Red’s journey.
Nothing quite beats a singalong book and this beautiful picturised version of FELIZ NAVIDAD by Jose Felciano, had the children singing along and busy copying down lyrics. The illustrations are done in Peurto Rican style as the lyrics follow the journey of a group of ‘parranderos’ or carol singers as they spread Christmas joy.
I loved sharing these books with the children to help put them right into the Christmas spirit.