A Well-Lit Path: A Blog from Westtown School

Let Books Herald A New Tradition

Posted by Lynn Clements on December 5, 2019

The Importance of ReadingFamily holiday traditions are important to give our children a sense of connectedness and history. This holiday season, consider creating a new tradition of building a family collection of holiday stories. The books can be packed away at the end of the season and tucked away until next year, so they become beloved, anticipated stories to share over the years. Perhaps you can start your tradition with one of these new titles:

The Shortest Day, by Susan Cooper - With stunning illustrations by Carson Ellis, this book celebrates the winter solstice and our relationship with the Earth’s cycles.

My First Kwanzaa, by Karen Katz - With bright collage illustrations, this book is a good introduction to the celebration of the seven days of Kwanzaa.

HoHo Homework, by Mylisa Larsen - Jack has a substitute teacher, Mr. Clausen, who assigns homework to write a wish on a homemade paper snowflake. Jack is skeptical, but awakens to a white Christmas and holiday magic. Perhaps making snowflakes and writing family wishes could become a tradition, along with a reading of the story each year!

Francesco Tirelli’s Ice Cream Shop, by Tamar Meir - Based on a true story and set in Budapest in 1944, a young Jewish boy is being hidden in a gelateria. While in hiding, he creates a menorah using a chocolate mold and cooking oil. This is a story of hope and resourcefulness, always welcome at this time of the year.

Christmas is Coming! Celebrate the Holiday with Art, Stories, Poems, Songs and Recipes, by the Metropolitan Museum of Art - This book is an anthology of well-known Christmas poems and stories from the past, along with works by contemporary writers. It is illustrated with gorgeous works from the museum’s collection.

Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story From the Border, by Mitali Perkins - Maria and her family travel to the U.S. - Mexican border, taking a bus to San Diego, to celebrate La Posada Sin Fronteras with family members across the border. Maria devises a solution to give her abuela the gifts she has brought for her, in spite of the border rule of “nothing through the fence.” An author’s note adds helpful context to the story.

The Tree That is Meant to Be, by Yuval Zommer - The crooked little pine tree watches as the other trees are selected in this gentle story about acceptance and companionship.

Enjoy creating new traditions and sharing family reading time together this winter!


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Lynn Clements

Written by Lynn Clements

Lynn Clements is the Lower School Library Media Specialist at Westtown School. She has 30 years of school library experience and a great love of children’s literature. She collaborates with teachers to design inquiry-based research projects and co-teaches lessons that are integrated into the classroom curriculum. Lynn has worked extensively in the area of curriculum and instructional design, most recently working on the Pennsylvania State Model Library Curriculum. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Outstanding School District Library Media Program in Pennsylvania. Lynn considers it her greatest success when a child asks for a book “just like the last one.”