black lives, community, culture, family, fantasy, holiday, illustration

Book List: Christmas Tales

Tacky’s Christmas (Scholastic)
Written by Helen Lester
Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

For ages: 3-7
Christmas time in Icy Land can be daunting as this is when the hunters arrive. Tacky isn’t going to let them ruin the holiday season, and he gets his penguin friends to decorate and celebrate. Tacky dresses up like Santa while his buddies dawn elf ears and hats. But then, a trio of beasts shows up with an evil gleam in their eye. Oh no! No worries. They think they have met the real Santa and his elves and a Christmas miracle occurs. This is a fun tale of Christmas time and how it can soften even the hardest hearts. The illustrations from Lynn Munsinger are the perfect accompaniment to this festive tale.

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holiday, middle grade

Middle Grade Must-Read: The Doll That Waved Goodbye and Other Scary Stories

Michael Dahl’s Really Scary Stories: The Doll That Waved Goodbye and Other Scary Stories (Stone Arch Books)
Written by Michael Dahl
Illustrated by Xavier Bonnet

For ages: 7-10
Children love horror. That’s just a fact. But, do children often get exposed to age-inappropriate horror? Sadly, yes. But that doesn’t mean we should allow them to have access to scary stories. This recent article from National Geographic discusses how the genre is really good for kids. In my teaching experience, I have included horror and scary stories in some of my read-alouds based on what my students wanted. I would also introduce the scary book, explain what it was, and state that if one person didn’t feel comfortable with me reading it, we would put it away and read another equally fun book. Sometimes I had students that didn’t want to hear it, so I set the book aside. However, almost every time, those same students would go to the scary book during their independent reading time and ultimately enjoyed the text. 

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holiday, humor, illustration, scary

Book List: Nice Witches

10 Busy Brooms (Doubleday Books for Young Readers)
Written by Carole Gerber
Illustrated by Michael Fleming

For ages: 3-7
There’s no shortage of counting books out there in every shape & style you can imagine. So it’s only fair the witches have one of their own. One witch gets added to the group at a time as they encounter spooky Halloween creatures. It’s not too scary for the kids, though, drawn in an adorable cartoonish style by Michael Fleming. There are skeletons, goblins, mummies, werewolves, and everyone you can imagine. It will not blow any reader’s mind. Yet, it is a thematically fun way to enjoy the Fall holiday and keep young children developing their numeracy.

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culture, holiday, lgbtq+, spotlight

Spotlight: Holi Hai!/Love, Violet

Holi Hai! (AW Teen)
Written by Chitra Soundar
Illustrated by Darshika Varma

For ages: 4-8
Holi is a Hindu festival also known as “The Festival of Colors” centered on the love given to humanity by the deity Radha Krishna. Its purpose is to celebrate the end of cold dark winters and the start of a warm jubilant spring. Over one night and one day, people feast and dance. Hindus are encouraged to forgive & forget past transgressions and heal broken relationships. The morning after is when Rangwali Holi happens. This is a big free for all, where participants smear each other with colored powders and play with water guns and balloons. People romp through the neighborhood singing and simply celebrating that they are all in each other’s life. The color fights mock the arguments that create dissonance throughout the year.

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