By: Deborah Heiligman
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books
Publication Date: October 2007
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 2009
Toward the end of December there is a very special Christian holiday called Christmas. On December 25 the birth of "Jesus Christ, the Son of God" is celebrated. There are many different ways people celebrate. Some celebrate with gifts while others celebrate with prayers and "thoughts of peace." It is a time of to be with your family and celebrate this joyous occasion. It is uncertain when Jesus was actually born, but it was thought that around the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, would be a good time to celebrate and that is why December 25th was chosen.
In this book we hear the story of Mary and the angel who told her she would have a baby who "would be the Son of God." Mary and Joseph, her husband, went to Bethlehem where this child was born. His name was Jesus. When he was born "a host of angels appeared in the sky and proclaimed `Peace on Earth.'" The three wise men came bearing gifts. The only guide they had was a star in the sky.
This book tells of the many ways people celebrate Christmas around the world. Advent wreaths are made, people give food and gifts to the poor, they volunteer in food kitchens, donate toys "to children in needy families," visit the sick, make lists of presents, decorate homes, send cards, bake cookies, set up a Christmas tree, decorate the tree with special ornaments, sing Christmas carols, go to church and enjoy a nice meal on Christmas day.
This is a beautiful book for a child to read or be read to in order to learn about this special Christian holiday. There are numerous photographs, mostly taken in the United States, of people preparing or celebrating the holiday. The photos don't appear to be "staged" and that makes them more appealing. In the back of the book there are more facts about Christmas, directions on how to make "Memory Books," information about Three Kings Day, a recipe for Christmas Cake, a glossary, a letter from the Reverend Nathan Humphrey and additional recommended book and web site resources.
Quill says: A wonderful book to teach children about Christmas.