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?