The Gift of the Magi
One read aloud I wanted to be sure to include this year was The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry. A story of self sacrifice on the behalf of a beloved is a timeless message, and definitely appropriate for this time of year.
I searched our library for an illustrated version to better engage my younger children. One picture book with illustrations by Lisbeth Werger was my only option. However, this one option proved to be fabulous. The muted illustrations of pencil drawings and watercolor resonate with the story line. The underlying sorrow of poverty and somber story line are superbly depicted.
The story, in this book, is unaltered. Though some of the vocabulary needed to be explained as I read aloud, it did not hinder the children from understanding and appreciating the plot and broader themes of this short story. We followed the reading with a brief discussion on O. Henry's concluding sentiments of sacrifice, gifts, and wisdom.