by Jennifer Liu Bryan, with Hazel Cole Kendle
For my book club's upcoming Christmas party everyone is reading a Christmas book of her choice. Then, rather than a formal discussion of one book like we usually have, we'll do individual "book reports" while we eat. I didn't quite know what to read until Lisa at Online Publicist sent me The Cole Family Christmas - that made my choice a simple one.
The Cole Family Christmas is a children's book about one Christmas in the real life Cole family, circa 1920. Papa Cole is a miner in the mountains of Kentucky. He and Mama Cole have 9 children, ranging in age from 1 year to 18 years old. The family isn't rich by any stretch of the word but they do have enough, and that's really all they need.
This particular Christmas Mama and Papa tell the children they can write to Santa and ask for one special thing from the Wish Book (aka the big catalog). Just a few days before Christmas however, a huge snowstorm blows in. Will Papa make it home from his extra shift at the mine? Will Santa be able to make it with their special gifts? And how can the children make amends for breaking one of Mama's treasured possessions? What will this Christmas be like for the Coles?
I loved this book! It is a wonderful tale of family love and it is well worth reading. I didn't have a chance to read it with kiddo, but I plan to do that before Christmas (or maybe on Christmas Eve?).
One thing that makes this book extra special to me is the relationship between the authors. Hazel Cole Kendle is the youngest of the Cole children and the only surviving one as well. Jennifer Liu Bryan is married to Hazel's grandson. Jennifer wrote the book based on stories Hazel and her siblings told over the years. What a wonderful collaboration between generations!
If you read my blog regularly you know that I have a great relationship with my grandparents. What you may not know is that I write down all the stories they tell me in the hope that one day I can compile them into an informal book for the rest of the family to enjoy. Knowing what I do about the authors of this book made me love it even more, and inspired me to keep doing what I'm doing with MY grandparents.
And let me say that I loved the illustrations by Jennifer Julich. Not being an artsy person I don't really know how to describe them except to say that they conveyed the characters in a realistic but still fun way. They are perfect for this book.
To learn more about this wonderful book you can check out The Cole Family Christmas website.
What do you think? Is this something you'll add to your Christmas reading each year? I know that it will stay on MY shelf, and that's a great compliment considering that I give away almost every book I read.
*** There is still time to buy books before Christmas! This would make a wonderful gift for those who enjoy the simple things in life. And families with young children could add this to the list of books they read together around the holidays. Plus, a portion of the proceeds goes toward the Berea College Appalachian Fund, so it's a gift that keeps on giving! ***
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