I hope you are enjoying this special day with family and friends and maybe even a book or two! I want to thank you all for being a part of my book journey and hope that as I continue to share my insights, you will find books that you can enjoy as well.
If you would like ideas on how to include books into your holidays here are some excerpts from previous posts that might give you some ideas, like these two from 2014:
The Tree of Cranes is a about a little boy in Japan who experiences his first Christmas. Christmas is not a traditional holiday in Japan but his mother, who had lived in California before her marriage, still remembers the trees, the lights and the gifts gathered under the tree and in her own quiet way she shares that with her son so that he too can understand the gift that is Christmas. Say’s simple and thoughtful words and beautiful illustrations make you slow down, and really experience again the wonder and magic of this time of year all over again!
One of the things I like to do is to get out my cd of the Messiah conducted by Robert Shaw, get a big mug of hot coffee and maybe a left over cinnamon roll and settle down with Timothy Botts ‘ Messiah, a book of calligraphy inspired by the words of Handel’s great oratorio.
Botts uses calligraphy to illustrates the words of the oratorio in such a profound and deep way that as I read and see his words, I am able to hear the music in a new way. Each page is a masterpiece of calligraphy, with bright colors and numerous styles all derived from the sense and style of the music. When the music is staccato the calligraphy reflects that, when it is mournful so is the lettering, when it is joyful, the words seem to fall from the page in joy! As the music washes over me and I see the words twisting and soaring on the page I am profoundly moved and grateful for these artists who help me reconnect again to the heart of Christmas. Hallelujah indeed!
Or this one about a classic Christmas story from 2012:
For my first Christmas posting it seems appropriate to talk about the wonderful book by Barbara Robinson called The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. For years now, our family has read this out loud as part of our Christmas celebration, either reading portions of it in the week leading up to Christmas or all in one sitting on Christmas Day. Robinson’s portrayal of the culture clash that occurs when the Herdman children (known for burning down sheds and terrorizing the kids at school) decide that they want to be a part of the Christmas pageant because they heard that there were free desserts, is both funny and poignant. The book is narrated by a very smart, observant girl whose mother has to step in and take over the Christmas pageant after Mrs. Armstrong, “who was so good at giving orders that she was naturally in charge of everything,” fell and broke her leg. The Herdman’s add their own brand of chaos to an already chaotic pageant asking impertinent questions and comments like, “You mean they tied [Jesus] up and put him in a feed box? Where was the Child Welfare?” As the story unfolds we see the Herdman children begin to listen to the story of what happened so long ago and begin to understand the deeper meaning of Christmas and the other children in the church who have heard the story so many times begin to hear and understand the story differently too.
I have to confess that I cannot read this book without getting choked up at the end. Somehow this book captures the best of what Christmas means, and I am touched every time as I hear the Christmas story come alive for the Herdman children. After all, the angel must have said to the shepherds; “Shazam! Unto You a Child is born!”
May you all experience the wonder and joy of this day, today and throughout the year!