Vol. 8, No. 51
Dec. 21-27, 2000
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The Front Lines of Literacy
Reading New Stories into Christmas
By Lori L. Sikorski

"It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty founder was a child himself."

-Charles Dickens
This time of year it seems as if we all become children, both in mind and in spirit. We enjoy the excitement of the holiday season and bask in the warmth of the simplest of things, like watching snowfall or stringing popcorn for the tree.

If you have not let your inner-child loose yet, might I suggest you take a few hours in the most comfortable seat in the house, wrap up in a cozy throw, fill a mug with frothy hot cocoa and curl up with a few of these delightful holiday books.

Notice I did not say that they were necessarily children's books. They were written for the younger crowd, but they will be enjoyed by all that are young at heart. Illustrations and stories will transport you into a child's world to better enjoy the wonder of the season.

If you are looking for books to give to a child, you will enjoy browsing the shelves in search of just the right one. Once you've found it, you could add an extra touch by reading it aloud or on tape for your youngsters to listen to as they read along.

Many grandparents who live far away find this a great way to share the love and experience of reading to the little ones. It also gives them a great excuse to read the selections they have made.

Here are books that each year reawaken our wonder in the season:

The Littlest Christmas Tree, by Janie Jason. This story of growing and becoming part of the world will enchant ages three to 83. A young pine tree withstands the seasons with hopes of growing up to be a Christmas tree, making a home for birds and wildlife or even being cut into wood used in the home of a loving family.

Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera. If you can find this very popular book this holiday season, don't let it slip away. The publishers can not seem to keep up with demand - and we can see why. A delightful story of how it is far better to give than to receive - with a bit of Santa magic and family love. Sure to become a classic.

The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by David Shannon. For anyone who feels that the house is just not a Christmas home without a million strands of lights, a decorating contest and plastic reindeer, this story reminds us that the real meaning of the season should come from the light within our own hearts.

Counting to Christmas by Nancy Tafuri. Those just learning the magic of numbers will enjoy counting down the days and ways until December 25. A great gift to give before the season, but one that will be loved each and every Christmas.

Santa Paws Come Home by Nicholas Edward. This chapter book, set for fourth grade reading level, follows the suspenseful fate of a lovable dog named Santa Paws, who is taken from his home only to escape and wander the streets of New York City during the holidays.

The Joy of a Peanuts Christmas: 50 Years of Holiday Comics by Charles Shultz. Published this year by Hallmark, this anniversary collection is a great way to reminisce about Christmases past - and to remember Charles Shultz, who died this year. We all can relate not only to the trials and tribulations of the holidays, but also to how the Peanuts Gang copes with them. A great book to pass along for generations to come.

"The Front Lines of Literacy" is Bay Weekly's monthly column on learning to read in Chesapeake Country.

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly