Christmas Joy - Read Alouds

A few weeks ago, I shared that our local library has many Christmas books, and I wrote about the historical selections we were reading.  Yesterday, I shared the wide selection of beautifully illustrated Christmas carols we found.  Today, I'd like to share a few heart tugging Christmas books we found at that very same library.  I told you, Love that library!

Heart Tuggers

Coal Country Christmas
Coal Country Christmas, written by Elizabeth Ferguson Brown, tells about Liz visiting her grandmother for Christmas in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania.  Her experiences and thoughts throughout the story are simply expressed, just as a child would retell it.  Though the emotion is vital to the story line, in a way, it is quite understated and children may not even pick up on it.  However, grown ups will certainly not miss the sense of loss intertwined with the family joy and traditions.

Another book entitled Just in Time For Christmas, by Louise Borden tells of Will, a boy living with his family and Great-Gram in Kentucky.  The main story line our children remembered were Will's dog missing just days before Christmas as the extended family gathers at Will's house for a Christmas celebration that includes making pulled candy.  Although present, our children vaguely picked up on Will's great-grandma's fading memory, and how she continually calls him by the wrong name.  Again, the sorrow intermixes with the joy of celebrating the holiday together.

Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story
Every year, the Christmas Train arrives bringing presents to all eagerly awaiting boys and girls.  And, each year, Frankie hopes for one particular gift: a doctor kit.  Year after year, Frankie receives various gifts, including mittens, warm socks, and toys, but never a doctor kit.  Years later, as Frankie has grown into a man and is living far away, he thinks back to all his blessings.  He decides to move back to the Appalachian Mountains to help those who live there.  I won't give away the ending, but definitely if you can only read one of these books this Christmas season, might I encourage it to be this one?  For Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story, by Cynthia Rylant is that good.

We also read Great Joy, by Kate DiCamillo.  Frances, a little girl, lives in the city.  One day, she notices a man and his pet monkey.  He is an organ grinder, who plays his music while the monkey holds a cup for offerings.  Frances begins to wonder about the man and where he goes at night, when she sees him late one night on the street.  It is a poignant story of a little girl's compassion.  Though it serves as a contrast, I was disappointed by the mother's indifference.

Finally, two books by Patricia Polacco must be included in this list of heart tugger Christmas read alouds. 

The first, Christmas Tapestry, was definitely one to read with the tissue box handy.  {Thanks Mary for the heads-up!}  This sweet book begins with a family's move to Detroit, and ends with seemingly insignificant and significant events tied together in the beautiful tapestry of life. 

The second Polacco book we read was An Orange for Frankie.  A wonderful family tale unfolds of Christmas time in the Stowell household.  Frankie, along with his family, share what they have with those in need as they anxiously await Pa's return.  When he returns, he will bring a crate of oranges with him.  The oranges are a traditional part of Christmas for the family and are greatly anticipated.  However, poor weather delays Pa, and the family must go about the Christmas preparations without him.  The train stops behind their home, and with it comes a group of hobos who are fed and cared for by the family.  Frankie notices one man has only a thin overcoat.  He runs to his room and retrieves his best sweater, the only one that will fit the man.  Quickly, he gives it to the man.  I don't want to spoil how Frankie's generosity is rewarded, but it is in a sweet way... 

And, yes,...we did share a few slices of tasty oranges while reading this book.

Linked to Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the Word


  1. Dorie, thank you for the kind mention! :-)

  2. Oh, Silver Packages does sound good--Cynthia Rylant is always a winner! It always amazes me just how many Christmas books there are! I'm off to check out your other Christmas books posts. Thanks for linking up to RAT!


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