Holly Valentine | December 2021
C.A.T.C.H. a Spark!
Is there anything better than giving and receiving books for the holidays? The gift of a book is a gift from the heart. We give books that we have connections to and we hope they will touch the hearts of the receiver. Think about those chilly December afternoons, when the hustle and bustle of the month has quieted down and you are able to curl up with a blanket, your favorite hot beverage and a good book. It’s when we can consider books that we may not take the time to really think about during the other months of the year. The books we share with others that we might not normally buy for ourselves. Books that have something a little special and a little unique.
This month, we take a look at not only some wonderful holiday stories, but books that will sit with you, long to be appreciated.
The Christmas Pig
Think about some favorite heartwarming stories – The Giving Tree, The Wizard of Oz, The Velveteen Rabbit, Toy Story. What do you love about them? Well, roll it all up into one, give it a modern day setting and you have the Christmas Pig. This story doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities our children face today… Issues such as bullying, divorce and blended families. Instead, it approaches them in a way that reminds us we are all essentially looking for the same things: love, friendship and a sense of belonging. A young boy suddenly loses his most cherished possession, and will literally go to any length to get it back. A book that would make a delightful read-aloud, with strong conversation starters and big themes, as important childhood fears are tackled in an imaginative way. Written by J.K. Rowling.
The Wizard of Oz
This edition of the classic story is so much more than the story. This is a book of artistry. Stunning and intricate paper-cut illustrations will invoke “how did she do that?” questions from all ages who open these pages. Each time you look at these illustrations, they will draw you in in new ways, noticing new details. This is the definition of a gift book, an edition that just feels special and unique as soon as you have it in your hands. Illustrations and Paper Engineering by Agnese Baruzzi.
Colors of Habitats
A book to inspire budding scientists and artists alike. Young scientists will be encouraged to look at different habitats through the lens of colors and be challenged to notice new details. Young artists will be challenged to look at the intricacies of drawings and paintings, noticing how singular objects put together on a page lend themselves to compilations and illustrations. When was the last time you looked at the world around you through the colors you see, and considered the names of those colors. Build your eye for detail with this exquisite book that will have readers going through it again and again. Written by Stepanka Sekaninova, Jana Sedlackova.
The Sleeping Beauty
We all know The NYC Ballet for their presentation of classic stories in lavish, stunning productions. The Sleeping Beauty was among their most lavish, and they have captured it in this gorgeously illustrated book which not only captures the costumes and scenery of the production, but depicts the characters in a way that they seem to leap off the page. Layered in creativity, readers of all ages will be captivated by the illustrations, and will see the choreography even in these still paintings. For an enriched experience, play Tchaikovsky’s splendid score, and watch it take over the imagination of your readers. Written by New York City Ballet.
The Nutcracker Comes To America
What are the holidays without the magical tale of The Nutcracker? It feels like it’s always been here, but have you ever wondered how it came to be? Surprisingly, it has only been in America since the 1940s, and it is thanks to a trio of brothers from Utah, not the Russian ballet, that it is such an ingrained part of the holidays here in America. An amazing tale of how it came to be, along with archival photographs and a historical timeline at the end of the story. Also important to note is a detailed, inspiring note from the illustrator, who takes us inside her creative process. An inspiration for students to do the same! Written by Chris Barton.
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
A book is an amazing gift when it gives you the gift of character and heart. Some characters that grab our hearts from page one of a book. Coyote Sunrise is one of them. This is a book for the heart, that celebrates what is most important in life – the connections we make, the memories we hold close, and the idea of being open to whatever comes across our path – and all done with a touch of humor. Coyote will become part of every reader who lets her in, as will her journey. The perfect book to curl up with on a cold winter’s day as you journey across the country with Coyote and a group of misfit travelers, and you won’t get off of their bus until they do! Written by Dan Gemeinhart.
Gifting books opens the door to creativity, imagination and wonder. It allows your recipient to dive in and catch a spark. A spark that will touch their heart, inspire them, and want them to create for others. So, encourage that spark. Gift a book or two this holiday season.
Don’t be left in the dark – check out the previously published CATCH a Spark series!