Yesterday on the first Sunday of advent each of our grandchildren got a Christmas book and a pair of Christmas socks from their grandfather and me.
Every November I enjoy looking at children’s books for the holiday season old and new and picking just the right one for each grandchild.
A huge thank you to my online middle grade author community who brought The Vanderbeekers by Karina Yan Glaser to my attention. It was the book I chose for my ten-year-old grandson. A lively family with five children finds out just before Christmas they are about to be evicted from their brownstone apartment in Harlem. The kids begin a campaign to convince their grouchy landlord Mr. Beiderman to change his mind. They get pretty creative!
Dasher a New York Times bestseller by Matt Tavares was my choice for my six-year-old grandson. Dasher is a young doe whose family works and travels under the hot sun with the circus. Dasher’s mother tells her daughter stories about her own very different childhood. She lived where the ground was covered with snow and her family could see the glow of the North Star. Dasher runs away and follows the North Star. When she meets Santa a whole new life begins for her.
For my three-year-old granddaughter I chose Happy All-Days by Cindy Jin which introduces readers to all the different winter holidays that different families from different backgrounds and cultures celebrate including Christmas and Chanukah and Kwanzaa.
I thought I knew all of Robert Munsch’s books but I had never read Finding Christmas which is told in his usual engaging style with a funny twist at the end. The book is illustrated by Munsch’s long time collaborator Michael Martchenko.
For my youngest grandchild who just turned two I picked The Christmas Baby by Marion Dane Bauer. It tells the traditional nativity story but relates the birth of Jesus to the birth of every child.
Perhaps my favourite pick this Christmas is I’m Going to Give You a Polar Bear Hug written by Caroline Cooney and illustrated by Tim Warnes. With lovely lilting rhyming text it tells the story of a child who gets hugs from all kinds of winter animals- a reindeer, a polar bear, a fox, an arctic hare, a penguin and a seal.
My other grandchildren live in Saskatchewan but the youngest is here in Winnipeg so I got to read I’m Going to Give You a Polar Bear Hug to her yesterday and she smiled and named the animals along with me and asked to read it again when we were done. Clearly a winner!