America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful: Together We Stand is a beautiful picture book celebrating the diversity of the United States of America. It includes the poem Katharine Lee Bates wrote, which later became a much-loved patriotic song. The publisher, Orchard Books, recruited ten different children's book artists to illustrated the poem - which includes a wide variety... Continue Reading →

The Easter Story

This weekend Christians all over the world celebrate Easter, arguably the holiest of Christian holidays.  Children and adults alike will hear the story of Jesus and the week leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection. For families celebrating Easter, The Easter Story by Brian Wildsmith is a beautiful retelling of the story. Beautiful, not only... Continue Reading →

Uncle Vova’s Tree

I am continually in awe of author Patricia Polacco's childhood. She must have grown up in a family rich in storytellers, because many of her picture books come from her own experiences, or family history. Uncle Vova's Tree is one such book. Some of her ancestors came from Russia, and celebrated the Russian Orthodox Christmas... Continue Reading →

The Christmas Doll

Lucy and Glory are orphans living in a workhouse in London. Lucy remembers having a family, and a home, but Glory was only a baby when the fever took their parents. In order to survive deplorable conditions, Lucy whispers stories in Glory's ear after lights out - stories of their mother, their father, their home... Continue Reading →

Maria: A Christmas Story

The whole town of San Lorenzo is preparing for the annual Christmas parade.  Eleven-year-old Maria Gonzaga listens longingly to her friends' plans for their floats.  Their families are hiring designers to create breath-taking floats - and Maria longs to participate. But San Lorenzo's parade has long been for the wealthy Anglo ranchers, not the Mexican-Americans.... Continue Reading →

Kris Kringle’s Magic

Just how did Kris Kringle (aka Santa Claus) meet Mrs. Kringle (aka Mrs. Claus)?  How did he get started on his Christmas Eve tour? Diane Stringam Tolley gives her answers to these questions in Kris Kringle's Magic: The Story of a Boy Who Became a Legend. Rebecca, Mrs. Claus, tells the story of how a... Continue Reading →

Mary Engelbreit’s Nutcracker

If you're a fan of Mary Engelbreit's artwork, you'll really enjoy her book Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker. Engelbreit summarizes the story line of the famous ballet into a book format, lavishly illustrated in Engelbreit's signature style. If you plan to take a child to see The Nutcracker ballet this holiday season, this is a great way... Continue Reading →

Lemony Snicket Christmas Books

It does seem odd putting "Lemony Snicket" and "Christmas Books" together in a title. Snicket is best known for his children's book series A Series of Unfortunate Events - books which I tried reading.  However, I could not enjoy them because they were so depressing. So what inspired me to pick up Lemony Snicket's Christmas... Continue Reading →

Olive the Other Reindeer

Do you remember when Ramona Quimby (from author Beverly Cleary) suggested to her father that he turn on the "dawnzer light"?  Her family laughed so hard because she misunderstood the words to the national anthem - "by the dawn's early light." Olive, the dog, has a similar problem. As she walks through town during the... Continue Reading →

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