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Kids’ Book Corner: Holiday Books (and Bookshelves)

Posted By Karen Young On December 7, 2011 @ 11:51 pm In Activities,Arts & Culture,Book Events,Family,Featured,Kids' Book Corner,Literary Corner,My Daily Find | No Comments

BY JO PERRY

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” ~ Anna Quindlen

This month I give you books that will bring joy this holiday season, books that celebrate the spirit of giving, the magic of winter, and the light of tradition. Give these books as gifts and share them with your children. Their mystery and beauty will satisfy long after the batteries in your shiny new e-readers die. I hope that by the time the New Year arrives, you and your children will need to build new bookshelves. Happy reading! Happy holidays! Happy New Year!

Winter:

A brilliant winter’s tale of a young rabbit’s exploration of the snowy season.

A Starlit Snowfall by Nancy Willard, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney is a brilliant winter’s tale of a young rabbit’s exploration of the snowy season. Pinkney’s watercolors are splendid in their vitality and detail. The final pages fold-out — but all the pages are full surprises for young readers—an hospitable bear, an owl, a wolf, starlight, snow and somersaults. 4-8 years.

Christmas:

Sister Bear: A Norse Tale adapted by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Linda Graves is the bright and satisfying story of smart young girl and her pet polar bear who meet a messy and dangerous group of trolls while traveling at Christmastime to visit King of Denmark. Graves’s sensitive and festive pencil, watercolor and pastel illustrations bring to robust life the good and clever bear, the horrid trolls, glowing holly berries, rich embroidery, happy reindeer, glistening snow, hot sausages, aromatic fir trees and warm firelight in an enchanted world. Readers 5-9 years old will enjoy all of it, especially the stupid trolls.

The author collaborated with Habitat for Humanity when creating the book and will donate a portion of the proceeds to the organization.

The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale About The Rockefeller Center Tree by David Rubel, illustrated by Jim La Marche is sure to become a beloved a Christmas classic. The story begins with an 8 year old New York boy helping his father sell Christmas trees during the Depression and ends with the lighting of the spectacular Rockefeller Center tree-lighting today. What happens in the time between these events is ordinary, inspiring and miraculous. Rubel collaborated with Habitat for Humanity when creating the book and will donate a portion of the proceeds to the organization. Readers wishing to do more can order a collector’s item bookplate made from the 2010 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree at www.habitat.org/thecarpentersgift

Hanukkah:

This ambitious and lyrical biography presents Chagall’s life and work through lavish reproductions of his paintings, poems, and brief biographical sketches.

Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers: The Life of Marc Chagall in Verse by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen. This ambitious and lyrical biography presents Chagall’s life and work through lavish reproductions of his paintings, poems, and brief biographical sketches. Each image and accompanying poem chronicles one of Chagall’s “journeys into wonder” from his childhood in Vitebsk where his Chasidic uncle played his violin from the rooftop, to his time in St. Petersburg, his marriage, and his eventual move to Paris, then to New York, and his death at age 88 in France. The book’s title comes from Chagall’s “Self-Portrait with Seven Fingers,” which makes use of the Yiddish expression that means to do something well. 9 and older.

A moving, spectacularly beautiful and cleverly engineered pop-up book for the whole family.

Chanukah Lights by Michael J. Rosen and Robert Sabuda is a moving, spectacularly beautiful and cleverly engineered pop-up book for the whole family to contemplate and to treasure. Each open-book spread illuminates one of Hanukkah’s eight nights and honors a place or time where Jews have observed this holiday or searched for religious freedom. The mostly white pop-up scenes move us from the first Temple, to the desert, to a refugee ship floating on a moonlit sea, to Europe, to a shtetl in Russia, to New York’s tenements, to a kibbutz and finally to a modern skyscraper whose towers glow against the starry sky like a menorah’s eight candles. Placed within each three-dimensional scene, tiny Hanukkah gold candle flames are visible. The text is sparse, evocative and rich: “Tonight, the second night of Chanukah,/we can imagine the air above our three candles/wavering like the heat of the desert, like the hope/of a homeland for a wandering people.” The pop-up scenes are full of depth and fascinating detail––clothes hanging on lines, fruit on trees, a monkey with a curved tail scaling a roof––but could be damaged by small fingers. All ages.

Kwanzaa:

A moving tribute in poetry and image to those lost to the slave trade.

Never Forgotten by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon is a moving tribute in poetry and image to those lost to the slave trade. Through poems we learn the story of Mende blacksmith Dinga and his beloved son Musafa who is taken into slavery. A beautiful, somber and hopeful book for all ages.

Chirchir Is Singing by Kelly Cunnane and Jude Daly is the sweet story of little Chirchir, eager to help out in her Kenyan village. Chirchir tries to assist her mother get water at the well, her grandmother tend the fire, her sister smooth mud on the kitchen hut floor, her father gather potatoes and fails at every task – until she begins to sing. Readers 3 and up will love this sweet tale and folk art illustrations.

Recipes celebrating Kwanzaa.

Fruits of the Harvest: Recipes to Celebrate Kwanzaa and Other Holidays by Eric V. Copage contains stories and recipes for a meaningful Kwanzaa celebration.

New Year’s:

The illustrations are cheerful and comical

Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller, illustrated by Kathi Ember, is an upbeat introduction to this New Year’s tradition. A young squirrel doesn’t know what a resolution is, but by learning about the resolutions his friends have made, he discovers the best resolution of all—to help others. The illustrations are cheerful and comical, just right for readers 4-8 years old, with many touches that will amuse older children and adults.

Give books to children in need:

The Literacy Site: Your free clicks fund books for children in need: www.theliteracysite.com

First Book: http://www.firstbook.org/

Room to Read: http://www.roomtoread.org/

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for BookBrowse.com and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.

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