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03 December 2012

{25 Days of Holiday Book Reviews}: Mom's favorite books

You read that right, today's guest poster is my mom, Lisa!  She was an educator for 30 years, teaching 3rd, 1st and as a Reading Specialist.  She was a member of the Shenandoah Valley Reading Council, and was even named their Reading Teacher of the Year (I forget what year!).  She is now retired from teaching, but is currently working as a match support specialist at Big Brothers/Big Sisters.  She shares with us today, not just one favorite book, but many :)  Thanks, Mom!

Never ask a Reading Teacher for her favorite book!! You honestly want me to narrow hundreds of great books down to ONE favorite? There’s no such thing!! I would be happy to share with you some books that I’ve enjoyed using in my classes over the years, and some that were favorites of my daughters when they were young!

First of all, the “classics” have to be remembered!! The Night Before Christmas, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Carol, Polar Express, and The Twelve Days of Christmas are always treasured by any age!

Over the years of teaching Title 1 Reading, I often tended to have more boys in my groups. They always enjoyed reading The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy (Jane Thayer). Maybe they could see themselves a bit as the puppy (a little mischievous, but trying to be good!). The puppy’s mother tells him that there is a shortage of boys that year for good puppies. The puppy is discouraged but determined to find the right boy to love. In the end, he finds not only one boy, but 50 boys at the Home for Boys to love!

I love rhyming books, so I must include Llama Llama Holiday Drama (Anna Dewdney). It’s a fun book to use to reinforce rhyming. And it has a positive message – “Gifts are nice, but there’s another….the true gift is, we have each other”.

My older groups always loved reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson). No matter how many times I read that book, it would always make me laugh. Who can forget the six misbehaving Herdman kids that took over the Christmas pageant??!! Anyone that has ever been a teacher can sympathize with the teachers of the Herdman kids (we’ve all had some “Herdman kids”, haven’t we?).

Now, on to a few that I remember reading with my daughters! Amanda always collected Berenstain Bear books! I think we had every one of them! So The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear and The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving were two favorites! Allison collected Little Critter (by Mercer Mayer) books, so Merry Christmas, Mom and Dad was a favorite one! We also enjoyed reading – and smelling! – a book by Patricia Scarry called The Sweet Smell of Christmas (scratch and sniff minty candy, gingerbread cookies, pine trees, and more!).

One author/illustrator that I LOVE is Jan Brett. The rich artwork, and the intricate scenes around the
border of every page, makes any of her books a favorite of mine! You notice something different every time you read the book! For Christmas or winter, you might enjoy The Mitten (one by one, animals crawl into the boy’s mitten until the bear sneezes, sending all of the animals out!), or Home For Christmas (a naughty little troll learns a valuable lesson), or Wild Christmas Reindeer (an elf is in charge of training Santa’s reindeer for their annual Christmas ride!). In addition to these three, there are many more wonderful books by Jan Brett!!

So, as you can see, there are just too many good books out there for me to just narrow it down to
one!! I’ll close with one more favorite, which I hope all will read with their students or with their own
children… Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus!!! A classic story that asks the age old question every child ponders at some point in their life - and brings to life the magic Christmas brings!

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