Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Christmas Books That Make Me Cry

The mark of a good Christmas book, for me, is that it makes me cry. We have a good number of children's books for Christmas, and I try to add a new book each year. We have some of the popular ones like The Polar Express and some silly but sentimental ones like Mercer Mayer's Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad, starring Little Critter. Some of the books we give the obligatory seasonal read and then put back on the rack.

But I have my favorites. These are the books that, without fail, make me cry at some point. My voice catches, a child's head pops up and looks at me and says, "Mama! Are you crying again?" I can't help it.

1. The Tale of the Three Trees (retold by Angela Elwell Hunt): This book ties it all together—Jesus' birth, life, and death—in a simple but eloquent story. I get choked up on almost every page.

2. The Story of Holly and Ivy (by Rumer Godden): This one takes us a couple of reading periods to get through, but it is so well worth it. This is the story of an orphan who wants a grandmother, a doll who wants a home, and a woman who wants a family. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

3. The House Without a Christmas Tree (by Gail Rock): I loved this TV special when I was a kid, but I'm not sure I'd ever read the book until a few years ago when I picked it up at a yard sale. Now my daughter and I read this story annually of a girl who begs her father for a Christmas tree, and I always cry at the end.

4. A Wish for Wings That Work (by Berkeley Breathed): Is it weird to get weepy over a book about a penguin named Opus? I can't help it; there's something about Santa saying, "Ho, ho, ho, go!" to a penguin whose wings don't work that brings tears every time. Also, this was one of the books we bought for our oldest for his first Christmas, so it's extra sentimental.

5. The First Night (by B.G. Hennessy): This short book starts off with one of my favorite Bible verses: "And the World became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14) and proceeds to tell the birth of Christ in simple but poetic text. I especially love the rustic look of the paintings, done on butternut wood and shaped with a jigsaw. It's the simplicity of a birth—of a new life—that gets me every time.

And so those are my Top 5 favorite Christmas books. Do you have one that makes you cry? If so, leave a comment and I'll check it out!

* In other news, be sure to check out the Book Review Carnival that is just up at Maw Books. With over 80 book reviews to peruse, you're sure to find a few books to add to your TBR list! The next Book Review Carnival will be in 2 weeks; you can submit your review here.

* To join in The Sunday Salon, click here and start joining in!


j said...

We recently borrowed The Little Reindeer from the library, where one of Santa's baby reindeer accidentally gets wrapped up and then dropped off on a city roof. A little boy finds him and takes care of him for a year, until Santa returns the following Christmas to retrieve the budding flier. The boy waits each year on the roof of his building with peanut butter sandwiches and milk for his old friend's yearly visits. It made me cry.

There are a few other non-Christmas children's books that bring me to tears (Tough Boris, the pirate who was massive and tough and brave, etc, but who cried when his parrot died is one of those books). It's nice to know that I'm not alone in these reactions!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Thank you for sharing this list with us. I immediately went to my library website and requested as many as were available. :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow, besides The Polar Express, I have never heard of any of these. I guess not having children doesn't help. :) Anyway, I wanted to share one of my favorite Christmas children's books: A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. This one doesn't make me cry, as much as laugh.

Also just wanted to let you know I dropped on your Entrecard, but under my other blog: Unfinished Rambler. Definitely not a book blog, but just wanted to let you know I dropped by under one of my other blogs.

klbest said...

Just to let you know your blog has become my favorite. I have been following it for some time. I have increased my TBR list vastly from your reviews. Now here is a question for you: Did you receive any books for Christmas? If so, what did you get and which will you read first?

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

Thanks for the suggestions!! I had forgotten about the Dylan Thomas book--thank you!!

KLBest--believe it or not, I did not get a single book for Christmas, and not even an gift card!!

Anonymous said...

I've been missing out on a lot of reading this past months due to a tight work schedule, I've been on the lookout for a good book and luckily i stumbled upon this post of yours. I hope that the following books that you have mentioned would be available in our local bookstores. You'd be hearing from me once I finished reading one or all of them. Thank you so much for narrowing my search down! I appreciate it a lot!

wisteria said...

Thank you so much for this post. I am a media specialist and teach K-5 students. I purchase books for the library and so these all look like books I would purchase. I am desperately low on good holiday. We are desperately low on funds also.
What else is new. However, you have a few great choices for me to look at.
Thanks, Wisteria...Happy New Year
Bookworms Dinner

Gail said...

I'm enjoying your blog. We have a favorite Christmas book that is a must read. It's Papa Panov's Special day by Mig Holden, a book adapted from a story by Leo Tolstoy. A great Christmas book that holds even little kid's attention yet has a powerful message. We also love Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed. He's a master artist and storyteller. Thanks again for all your great lists and recommendations!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Ah, thanks for linking up to Read Aloud Thursday! I have long been (mostly) a lurker on your blog, so it's wonderful to have you join in! I will look for the Runer Godden book today at the library! (I know that should be Rumer, but my iPod won't let me change it.)