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Christmas Picture Books Review

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I have two lovely Christmas picture books to share with you. And by share, today that means I get to give them to someone, too! Can you believe that the Christmas season is looming so close?  I love this time of year so much. I love the emphasis on family, on Christ, and on service to others. I love the spirit of love that is shown more abundantly during this season. One thing that I have tried hard to do is to really focus on these important things more than the presents and the candy. One way we do that is through reading lots of Christmas picture books that are related to Christ and to service. the two books I am sharing today are about those two topics.

First Christmas Night Book
The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher and Illustrated by ChristineKornacki is a telling of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. It is written in a rhyming poem format that reminds me of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. It begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and tells of all the parts we are so familiar with. It tells of Christ’s birth, the angels appearing to the shepherds, and the wise men visiting Him. It is done in such a beautiful way. The pictures are absolutely stunning and almost life-like.

 

Here is a little sample of the beautiful poetry in the story:

 

Twas the very first Christmas when all through the town
not a creature was stirring—there was not a sound.
The moon shining bright in the heavens so high
gave the look of midday to the Bethlehem sky.
The animals were nestled in warm, cozy places
with looks of contentment on each of their faces.

 

About the Author
Keith Christopher is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, and educator, and he has served as editor and producer for several major music publishers. In addition to writing and studio producing, Keith served on the faculty at the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his wife and two children.

About the Illustrator 
Christine Kornaacki developed a love for painting and bringing stories to life at a very early age.  After receiving a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford, her dreams of illustrating children’s books began to take shape, including illustrating the best-selling The Sparkle Box. She spends her days painting in her studio, which adjoins a charming cafe in New Haven, Connecticut. 
 
The First Christmas Night was published by Ideals Books. It is hardcover, 32 pages and sells for $16.99.

 

 

Sparkle Box Christmas Book

 

The Sparkle Box – A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas by Jill Hardie and also Illustrated by Christine Kornacki is a touching story of teaching the importance of service to children. The story is about a boy named Sam who is thrilled about Christmas coming. He is writing wish lists, looking forward to parties and all of the usual Christmas excitement. He sees a sparkly box sitting on the mantel and is curious about what could be inside. His mom tells him he will have to wait and see.  In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family’s good deeds. Sam’s mom explains that the things that they’ve been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him.

 

When I read this to my kids for the first time, I literally was in tears. I was so touched with the story and the lessons that were taught in this book. Serving others is something I try hard to do and to teach my children. I love that the book talks of our service as being a way to serve Him. I also love that the book comes with a sparkly box that can be used with my family. I have been doing a similar tradition with my kids, but love adding in this fun aspect of it!

 

The Sparkle Box is hardcover, 32 pages, with a fold-out sparkle box included!  It was published by Ideals Books. It is recommended for kids ages 4-8 and is sold for $19.99. Watch the trailer and learn more about the book on the Sparkle Box website.

 

About the Author:
Jill Hardie and her family began placing a gift for Jesus under their Christmas tree as a way of bringing more meaning to the holiday.  The first time they opened His gift, the commercialism of the season melted away and they felt a profound joy and peace.  Jill hopes that The Sparkle Box will spark a new Christmas tradition, bringing light into thousands of lives.

 

christmas picture books
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