Friday, November 27, 2009

Books that Speak to Tradition and Holidays

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and we had a wonderful family gathering with 12 adults and 2 under 2. I love the holidays and I seem to get some super spurt of energy to make everything special. It helps that my husband is the best sous chef on earth and doesn’t mind peeling, cubing and dicing vegetables for hours. My cousins are the best super cleaner uppers I’ve ever seen and they pair up as a washer drier team and my kitchen table which once was filled with cooking prep was then filled with clean pots, pans and platters. My son and niece did the breakdown of tables and moving furniture back in place. Zach, my grandson, enjoys being with people and feasted on Mom’s homemade pears – I’m going to post that recipe soon. The meal was delicious and sharing lots of leftovers means that we’ll be done with ours today. It was a perfect Thanksgiving.

But now it is time to get ready for Christmas. Sunday is the first day of Advent and the fall decorations are being packed away and the first candle on the Advent wreath will be lit at Sunday dinner. Grandparents have a special responsibility to bring tradition – both new and old to the holidays. And reading holiday books is the perfect tradition for grandparents to bring to the table. Here are some holiday books that you may want to give as gifts or keep at your home to share with your family.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore and illustrated by Mary Engelbreit
This is a wonderful classic to read on Christmas Eve and children of all ages will appreciate it when read with enthusiasm. There are many versions of this story available but I am a fan of Mary Engelbreit illustrations so I am recommending this one.

Silent Night by Susan Jeffers
This beautifully illustrated book was a favorite of my children’s and I have kept it to share with my grandchildren. There is a newer versionavailable now but it also is the perfect Christmas read at bedtime during the Christmas season.

Harvest of Light (Hanukkah) by Allison Ofanansky Photography by Eliyahu Alpern
This book describes with vivid photographs the work of growing olives, harvesting and pressing them to make oil. It goes on to show how a family uses the oil to celebrate the ancient festival of Chanukah in Israel. This is a perfect book to read with young children and connect history with our current life.

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan and Julie Paschkis
This story of a 7-year old American Muslim, observing Ramadan with her friends and family is beautifully written and richly illustrated. This is a book that will be enjoyed and is educational for children and adults – both Muslim and non-Muslim.

My First Kwanzaa by Karen Katz
Karen Katz is one of my favorite authors of books for young children and this book is highly recommended by pre-school educators as THE book to use to teach young children about Kwanzaa. The eye catching illustrations make the celebration come to life.

Light The Lights! A Story About Celebrating Hanukkah And Christmas by Margaret Moorman
Some children celebrate multiple holidays at home and many children learn about multiple holidays in preschool. This book talks about what kinds of things families do together for the Hanukkah and Christmas holidays and embraces both charmingly.

These books are reasonably priced - some are incredible bargains at Amazon right now - and with each one a grandparent can start the tradition of reading about the holidays.

The readers of this blog would love to hear what are your favorite holiday books too. Please leave your comments and share your favorites with us.

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