It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
So, in behalf of the entire GatheringBooks team, we would like to greet you all a very joyful Christmas. Naturally, I am sharing two Christmas-themed books that I have just very recently discovered. I hope they find you, too.
Written By: O. Henry Illustrated by: Sonja Danowski
Published by: Minedition, 2013 (first published December 1905)
ISBN: 9888240579 (ISBN13: 9789888240579). Borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
While apparently, this is a Christmas classic, it was Danowski’s art that compelled me to seek this title out from the library. From the first few pages, I realize that this is not your typical picturebook. Note above that the first publication of this story was in 1905, hence the language is far from contemporary.
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
And so it goes. This is a story of a young couple struggling desperately to make ends meet. Never is this more keenly felt than during special occasions, and Christmas especially. They each try to find what they believe to be their sweetheart’s desire by giving up the thing that is most valuable to them – only to be surprised in the end.
While we take much joy in our Christmas presents piled on top of each other under our trees, this beautiful story reminds us of that which is important, the things we value and hold dear to our hearts, and how far we are willing to go to make our loved ones smile.
Written and Illustrated By: Matt Tavares
Published by: Candlewick Press, 2017
ISBN: 0763677337 (ISBN13: 9780763677336) Borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
I thought it would be good to pair a classic Christmas story published in the 1900s to this classic-in-the-making published late this year.
Red & Lulu has an expansive feel to it – sort of like giving you the heavens in greens and reds, in fallen leaves and hidden branches, in sparkling faery lights and endless bridges.
There is a cinematic feel to the narrative that is practically begging to be made into a film. It is a story of lost loves, a home that is carelessly taken and uprooted without warning, and finding one’s way back to lights and love.
I also loved reading about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, its annual lighting that started as far back as 1931, and what happens to the gorgeous Christmas tree once the festivities are over.
I also found a Youtube clip of one of my favourite Christmas songs that was performed during the Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting in the US in 2010. Enjoy!