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Five Great Christmas Books

Looking or a great Christmas read? Looking for a can't miss Christmas gift? These books are sure to please adults and children.

Merry Christmas, Strega Nona
Tomie de Paola brings us a wonderful Christmas story featuring that wonderful witch, Strega Nona (which means Grandma Witch). Strega Nona is busy preparing for her annual Christmas feast, which she hosts for the entire town. For some reason things are not going as planned. It looks as if Strega Nona's plans have all fallen apart, thanks to her assistant Big Anthony. Instead, there is a heart warming suprise waiting for Strega Nona and the reader.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
Susan Wojciechowski and Patrick James Lynch (illustrator) have teamed-up to present a heart warming story of family at Christmas. A woodcutter with emotional scars is healed and his faith is restored through a joyful miracle. The way the story unfolds is wonderful. There isn't one single event, but a peeling away of defenses that creates this "miracle." The illustrations are soft, with a feeling of old photographs, appropriate to this frontier town. Warning, have your box of tissues handy.

December
A story that proves picture books aren't just for little children. by Eve Bunting and David Diaz (illustrator) have done it again. The award winning illustrator of Smoky Night is the perfect choice for this unusual Christmas story. Simon and his mother are homeless. The live in a cardboard box, warmed only by his father's old Army coat. It's Christmas eve and they welcome into their small space an old woman. They share their small Christmas tree and picture of an angel pinned to the wall. Suddenly, in the early morning Simon wakes to discover that the woman is gone, but the angel from the picture is there with her light shining over the little cardboard house. What happens next is a lesson for all to welcome the stanger within our midst.

The Fourth Wise Man
Susan Summers adapts the famous story by Henry Van Dyke, Story of the Other Wise Man. Jackie Morris has illustrated this book with lush, blues and greens. Artiban is the fourth magi. He has arranged to meet his three friends to follow the star. Artiban misses them when he stops to nurse a desperately ill man back to life. Artiban follows in their path, only to miss finding the King of the Jews. Instead he spends the treasure he was to present the baby to help others. "Though he found no King of Kings to worship, he found many people to help. Wherever he went, he fed the hungry and clothed the naked; he healed the sick and he visited those in prison..." Artiban thinks that he has missed meeting the messiah. In the end he learns that he has not missed Jesus, but has served him by serving the least among us.

Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend
This book by by Julie Stiegemeyer and Chris Ellison (illustrator) does a wonderful job of sharing the legends that surround the real St. Nicholas without disturbing a child's belief in Santa Claus. Every picture of St. Nicholas reminds the reader of other drawings of Santa or Father Christmas. The story shares why we take time to remember this bishop and how gift giving on his feast day (December 6th) has been linked to Christmas.

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