I’m not trying to jump the gun, like most of the stores do, but in a few short weeks, the holiday season and gift-buying frenzy that accompanies it, will begin. The next few posts will focus on reading as a gift. I’ll discuss why books make such great gifts and also provide titles of books that may be perfect for the youngsters on your list. But in addition to offering gift suggestions, I want to encourage you to incorporate literature into your holiday traditions. Seasonal stories can live in our hearts, influencing us in positive ways throughout our lives and helping us remember the holidays of our youth. I’ll start these posts by sharing how we enbedded literature in our family and ask you to join in with stories and ideas of your own.
When I was a little girl, my mother always read The Night Before Christmas after we hung our stockings. I welcomed this ritual and when I became a mother myself, decided continue it with my own children. Somehow, the number of stories grew. By the time all five of our children were born, I was reading The Night Before Christmas and The Story of the Nativity and several others before the stockings were hung. Of course, when the kids were very young, I collected a slew of holiday books that I read throughout the days leading up to Christmas. Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, and many other less known ones were read and reread throughout the season. Although it was a small thing, I hope that when my kids hear these tales today, it sparks a memory and transports them back to a happy time in their childhood. Good literature is a link to the past and beacon for the future. Do you have any traditions that involve books that you can share with us?
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Wonder by R. J. Palacio (Grades 4 and up)
For the last few days, I have been listening to the audio book of Wonder. Although I’m not even finished it, I am heartily recommending this touching story. August is a lovable fifth grade boy who is attending school for the first time in his life, having been home-schooled by his mother. Entering middle school when you’ve never even been to school is a challenging situation in itself. But for Auggie, who was born with severe facial abnormalities, the situation is almost unbearable. Told from the perspectives of many major characters, this believable tale is compelling and heart-wrenching. This is a book to share with your family. This is a book to listen to on tape because the various voices of the characters add to the realism and impact of the character’s actions and emotions. This is a book with the potential to evoke meaningful discussions and this is a book that will heighten everyone’s empathy for people unlike themselves. Wonder is quickly becoming one of my favorite young adult novels and a book I am eager to share with my grown children and my grandchildren. Don’t miss it!