Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Countdown: Favorite Book

My favorite Christmas book, of course, is the Bible. It's the time of year when many of our students get to hear the true Christmas story for the first time. We also hear it together as a staff, at our annual party, read by one of our leaving teachers.

Besides the Bible, my favorite Christmas book, by far, is The Bird's Christmas Carol. When I was a little girl, I used to love to go down into our Indiana basement and immerse myself in the many books it contained. My grandaddy had built ceiling to floor bookshelves on one wall. In them contained all kinds of treasures for a little girl who always had her nose in a book. Some of the books were very, very old, from my great Aunt Helen. Hardbound with elaborate pictures and vocabulary from a time far gone, I thought I was in heaven. There was Beautiful Old Joe, and Five Little Peppers. They were from a time when authors concerned themselves far more with good writing than happy, unrealistic endings. And so, I found my favorite The Bird's Christmas Carol, an original from the late 1800's and fell in love. I laughed and cried, I wondered at the words I'd never heard before.

When I went to college and began my studies to be a teacher, I was assigned to write a children's literature unit around a book. It wasn't hard to develop vocabulary lists and simile searches from this book. Such rich writing, such beautiful symbolism. I wrote the unit at a third grade level. Since it is a Christmas book, I wove into it a study of Christmas around the world. How could I have known I'd be teaching third grade in an international setting, with students who have never even heard of what Christmas really means?

The book can be quite hard, and so I've waited to read it to my own girls til they could really appreciate it. This is the year. CC checked out a copy from our library for me, and I began. The problem is that it is so dear to me, I have a hard time reading it aloud without choking up at certain parts. I know what's going to happen. It's a sad book. With the development of each character, I begin to wonder again what is going to happen to their hearts in the end. I apologized to Twinkle Toes and Miss Middler the other night, "I'm sorry, it's just hard for me to read this without crying a little. I love this book so." Twinkle Toes said, "Mama, it's ok when you cry, it makes the book all the better."

Do you have a favorite Christmas book or story? If so, what is it and why?


Anonymous said...

Well Sara, we love books at our house also. Something we inherited from my grandmother who always had a book in her hand when she wasn't working. (I've mentioned her before . . . the camping grandmother.) :)

YES! We have the Five Little Peppers and How They Grew!! YES, I love reading to my kids. I was trying to think of my favorite Christmas book/story and it is probably a tie between "The Night Before Christmas" and "A Christmas Carol."

Actually, I love all the Christmas stories and am not sure I could pick a favorite. We have already started reading the Christmas story from the Bible . . . We start every year with the story of Elizabeth and Zacharias . . . Always laughing about the part where Zacharias asks Gabriel, "How do I know?" The kids comment every year stuff like . . . "Duh, you big dummy, that's GABRIEL talking! You know GABRIEL that stands in the presence of God!!!?!?!?!?" We enjoy that part and every year speculate on how Zacharias could have been so dumb. :)

Kathleen ALWAYS reads Dickens at some point during Christmas break . . . You would think she got enough reading at school. We usually get her to read to us in French, at least once while she is home. It is fun and we all admire the fact we can't do that.

The best reading we do, anytime of the year, is when we get to have devotion together. Those are special times now that the kids are all older and going their separate ways. We have some fun and interesting devotions

So, I can't name a favorite Christmas book, per say, but can tell you the thing we do different during this time of year is break out the Christmas movies . . . (You can tell the man of the house is a movie buff and not a reader.) My favorite movie is the Walton's Homecoming and I watch it a million times each Christmas.


whimzie said...

I know that the Mitford series and Little Women aren't really "Christmas stories," but they have Christmas in them and I love them both. And I love O.Henry's "The Gift of the Magi."

I think I already told you that I put a bid in for this book on eBay. I'd never heard of it.

But the Five Little Peppers? That will always be special because I wrote my very first book report on that book.

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