Holiday Books Old and New

Lots of people (including me) are still working on their holiday shopping, and books are of course a great present for kids (and everyone else)! Mother Reader's 105 Ways to Give a Book is becoming a holiday classic, with ideas for all ages, from preschoolers to adults. If you and your child like to bake together,  the Scholastic website has a sweet (literally) page of Book-Inspired Gift Kits, all of which happen to involve edible treats.

And then there are the books themselves. At our house, we've dusted off my daughter's old favorite Chanukah books, The Flying Latke and Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, and my new favorite, Lemony Snicket's The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming. I like Scholastic's lists of holiday picture books for preschoolers, titles for independent readers, and holiday stories for early elementary school kids, which include books about Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and New Year as well as Christmas.

One new holiday book that I just love is Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts, by Anna Grossnickle Hines. Despite the Christmas tree on the cover, this is actually a book about many different holiays of lights, from Christmas to Chanukah, St. Lucia Day, Chinese New Year, and other winter celebrations, as well as non-holiday winter phenomena like the Aurora Borealis. Each is represented with a short, lyrical poem. Here's the one about icicles: "Overnight/an icicle grew/catching the stars/above my window./Now/in the sunlight/ it sets/them/free". But it's the illustrations--dazzling and (I have to say it) luminous quilts-- that make this book shine. You can see several of the quilts from the book, and read about how Hines came to create them, on her website. Here's a direct link to her quilt depicting farolitos, and to the icicle quilt that accompanies the poem I quoted. I think they're just glorious.

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Please post your thoughts about Birdland by Tracy Mack (Scholastic Press) which I just finished reading for a graduate school course. It is one of the most beautiful young adult books I have ever read. I read the book while listening to the audiobook by Dion Graham. The book is set during the school winter break time period.
Lyrical and stunning, and sad.

Hi Slow Reader--

I havent read Birdland, but Ive heard of it; thank you for your recommendation-- I will put it on my To Be Read list and will look forward to reading it!


I saw Winter LIghts at the Scholastic book fair at our school last week--didn't buy it b/c in hard cover it was still pretty pricey. But darn , is it gorgeous, and it's the book I"m still pondering.

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