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Christmas Books by Juliette Saumande
A few Decembers ago, inspired by Claire Potter’s excellent Keeping the Little Blighters Busy, we started our own activity advent calendar. Every morning, the kids would find a new piece of paper folded up in the date’s pocket and discover what Christmassy activity was in store for the day. It could be anything from getting the tree to writing to Santa, to having a ‘really special hot chocolate’. On uninspired days (or days when we had forgotten to fill the pocket altogether), they would find a treat or a wee decoration to hang somewhere.
Every year, one of the highlights is the note that says ‘Take out the Christmas books’.
In our bilingual family, we have a whole stash of books to celebrate the festive season. Those include fabulously illustrated classics such as P.J. Lynch’s take on A Christmas Carol and Robert Ingpen’s version of The Night Before Christmas, as well as quirkier titles with the likes of Jackie French and Bruce Whatley’s dead-pan and hilarious Diary of a Christmas Wombat or the joyfully surreal Santa’s Beard by Matilda Tristram, Tom Duxbury and Nick Sharrat.
Too often, Christmas can be about stuff: more stuff, stuff that takes more space and costs more money. This month’s selection takes a different look at the season. The chosen titles are about people rather than things, about helping, about sharing rather than accumulating, and doing rather than having. And of course, they are about magic!
Juliette Saumande is a French writer and translator of children’s books living in Dublin. She has over 30 titles to her name, available in French and English. She is also Reviews Editor for Inis (Children’s Books Ireland’s magazine), and is a regular contributor to CBI’s Book Clinics.
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