WWC: Celebrate the Joy of Reading

December 17, 2006

Courtesy of Odd Mix, the words are Celebrate and Joy.

Admittedly, I take great liberty in the Weekend Words Challenge, but Odd Mix has not booted me out of the game yet. So, today I am celebrating the joys of reading; and what better time than Christmas? I should probably tell you that I love children’s books. Here are some of my favorites, both old and new. Graymama, this is for you and your family of readers!Does anyone remember the Ideals Magazine? My mom used to get it back in the day. This one, published in 1958, shaped my perception of Santa Claus and just what must have been happening in the North Pole in the days preceding Christmas.

I remember laying on my tummy in the living room , getting lost in the pictures even before I could read the words. There are two pages to read between every two-page picture. I share this book with a first grade class every Christmas and they love to find the details in the pictures, just like I did.

Here are some of the newer books that have been added to my list of favorite Christmas stories:

Olive, the other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh: This is a neat little story that was made into a Christmas movie a few years back. Olive, a pup, hears the song Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer and believes the verse “all of the other reindeer…” is a summons for her to head to the North Pole to be Santa’s helper. She becomes an integral part of the Christmas Eve happenings in a very useful and exciting way.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian: Not really Christmas, but great for winter-time, this true story is a Caldecott Medal book about Wilson Bentley, a Vermont farmboy. He was so fascinated with snowflakes that he worked with a microscope and camera to capture them on film, thus the name Snowflake Bentley. This became his life’s work and many of his photos are still used today. Last year I told this story at a Student of the Month Breakfast. We talked about how each snowflake, like each of us, is different. In Snowflake Bentley’s words, “Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated.” It was pretty neat. We linked to this site with a laptop and projection unit to make snowflakes. The illustrations are outstanding in this book.

Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco: This is a great Christmas heart-warmer about a little boy named Welcome Comfort. Being a foster child, Welcome moves frequently and at each school he becomes a magnet for bullies. He is befriended by the school’s custodian and things begin to look up. You can probably guess who the custodian turns out to be! There’s more…but I don’t want to spoil the ending for you. You will love it!

A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story by Berkeley Breathed: I love this story! Opus longs to fly, but finds that he is much more valuable as a swimmer to save the day for Santa. As always, the illustrations are the best and you know I love Opus. It just doesn’t get any better than this. Unless of course you want to read my all time favorite…

Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed: In this book the author retells the story his dad shared on the Christmas Eves of his youth. It takes place in 1939, when his then nine year old father, called Red (short for Red of Ranger fame), requests an official Buck Tweed Two-speed Crime-stopper Star-hopper Bicycle from a hermit named Saunder Clos. What a Christmas morning surprise! This is one of those books that seems to be written on two levels; one for the child in each of us and one that speaks to us as adults. I love this book and the way it makes me feel each Christmas when I read it again!May joy be yours as you celebrate this holiday season…maybe with a little Christmas reading!


In a Nutshell

A place set aside to answer
201 autobiographical questions

from a mother for her daughter.

This may take awhile…
join us if you like.

1. One of mom’s traits I admired was: that she always seemed to be quite the lady. Even when she was working in the garden, she wore a hat and gardening gloves. As I look through the pictures that remember her life to me now, I see a very elegant woman where a young farm girl once stood. To me, this is quite something.


15 Responses to “WWC: Celebrate the Joy of Reading”

  1. Jay Says:

    Very, Very cool WWC post!

  2. mjd Says:

    I love your celebrate and joy pictures. I also like the book about Snowflake Bentley. I admire how he was able to capture and photograph snowflakes. I tried this with more modern equipment than Wilson Bentley had, but I have not been successful at photographing snowflakes…not even one.

  3. gawilli Says:

    Jay – Glad you liked it. It sure was fun putting it together.

    Mjd – There is another book with nothing but photographs that he took. He sure was an interesting man.

  4. Ch3ll3 Says:

    It was abundantly clear you like books for kids when I saw what that little sled your Dad made was full of!

    Very cool!!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Very nice.

  6. Tink Says:

    “I wish for wings that worked.” Aww. What a great title/idea!! I wish I knew a little kid to buy it for.

    Great post. I never get tired of hearing about books. One of my favorites as a kid (non-Christmas related) was “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs.”

  7. Anonymous Says:

    lovely post and a great choice of books
    off to ireland for christmas, so i wish you and all your family a great christmas time x

  8. PJ Librarian Says:

    Nicely done and a very nice selection and a wide variety. You have a few of my favorites listed. One of my all time favorites is Santa’s Book of Names by David McPhail. It is the prequel to Edward and the Pirates another all time favorite.

    In Santa’s, Edward is struggling with learning to read. Christmas night he finds a book accidently left by Santa. In short, Edward flys around with Santa helps him find the names in the book that match the presents and by the end of the story he has learned to read.

    In the sequel, which is another great read-aloud to 3rd grade and under, Edward learns about all the adventures reading can bring and the importance of taking care of a library book. Plus, the pirates learn you need to read first in order to learn where the treasure is.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    I think my all time favorite book for children at Christmas is “The Littlest Angel”, because I read it to my children on Christmas Eve every year. I first heard it as a recording, narrated by Loretta Young. She had such an expressive voice.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I just love this particular blog entry. I wish there was at least one small child in the house again. I’d get them all those books. Reading to children seems to be even more fun at Christmas.

  11. gawilli Says:

    Ch3ll3 – that sled was a dead giveaway, but those are just the Christmas books!

    Thanks, Laurie!

    Tink, “A Wish…” is such a good book. Today was Christmas Reading at one of our elementary schools and that was the book I chose. The class had just studied penquins which worked out really well! I remember “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”, good book!

    Her indoors – Merry Irish Christmas to you and yours!

    PJ Librarian – thanks for the new books to look for! Glad you had a look today!

    Betty – What a lovely memory for you and your kids. I remember Loretta Young. She was a beautiful lady.

    Peggy, I love reading to the kids at school, at Christmas. This year 12 from our office went; two of them had not been “Christmas Reading” before and absolutely loved it. Our Technology Director dressed as a cowboy and even took his saddle for the kids to sit on. He read “A Cowboy Christmas”. The CFO read “The Legend of the Candy Cane” and had some sweets to pass out. It was great!

  12. graymama Says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    What a heart-warming, holiday spirit post going out to me and my men 🙂

    I am an extremely visual person. There are many books that Buddy has inherited from my childhood that bring me back to the days of getting lost in the pictures. I just LOVE the Santa’s workshop picture!

    Buddy is already lovin’ on Olive. I think we might have to fight over it with the next person in line at the library 😛

    Snowflake Bentley looks fabulous! Little did you know that Hubby’s master’s degree in chemical engineering is about crystallization. I can’t wait to hear how Hubby explains crystals to Buddy 🙂

    Your description of Welcome Comfort warms my heart already. What will the book do?!

    Are you running around in my head? I am a HUGE Bloom County fan!!! I cannot wait to read the Opus Christmas book and Red Ranger Came Calling!

    I have requested them all from the library 🙂

    BTW, I love the In A Nutshell section 🙂

  13. gawilli Says:

    Graymama, I’m excited that you are going to check out these books! I will be curious to know if you enjoy them as much as me. I just found another one that I really like called “Is There Really a Human Race”, by Jamie Lee Curtis. It has a very nice message about how we all need to take care of each other. Happy Reading!

  14. OddMix Says:

    I LOOOOOVE reading, too! Books really are a great joy!

    thanks for playing!

  15. […] writing in the book, it sounded like a good idea. So, I began In a Nutshell last December with this post. I got as far as number eight and hit the wall. Number nine sat in the drafts folder for a few […]

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