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01 December 2012

{25 Days of Holiday Book Reviews}: Yes, Virginia, There is A Santa Clause

Our kick-off poster is Danielle from There's a Book.  Danielle's blog was one of the first that I started following.  She's so knowledgeable of children's books, and I just love when her kids ask author's questions!  Danielle is also one of the nicest people you'll ever talk to, especially on twitter (@the1stdaughter).  She's posting about one of my favorite holiday stories, Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus.

First of all I want to say thank you to Amanda for the opportunity to post during her 25 Days of Holiday Book Reviews! We've been blogging friends for some time now and when Amanda mentioned she was planning to host this celebration in time for the holidays I couldn't wait to be involved. I decided to pick a book to review that is close to my heart, one that reminds me of the true meaning of the season and helps me to remember to cherish the child within all of us during this time of year. So, here goes!
Published by HarperCollins Pages: 32 Ages: 3-7
Publishers Summary: In 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote the New York Sun to ask a simple question: Is there a Santa Claus? The editor's response was a stirring defense of hope, generosity, and the spirit of childhood. His essay has been reprinted countless times since, and the phrase "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" has become part of American Christmas lore. Based on these actual events, Yes, Virginia is the story of a little girl who taught a city to believe.
Virginia lives for Christmas and more importantly, Santa Claus. From the decorations to the presents to the spirit of the season Virginia believes in the very best parts of the holiday. When her belief is challenged by another young girl Virginia decides the only way to the truth is to ask a reliable source, The Sun, a local newspaper. Based on a true event, Virginia's plight to discover the truth behind Santa Claus leads to the story that has inspired readers for ages.

My first encounter with Yes, Virginia: There Is A Santa Claus by Chris Plehal was just over two years ago when the picture book was first published, but this is actually a story I've heard since I was very young. In my youth one of my mom's favorite sayings was inspired by Virginia's true story, "Believe". We had various signs, pictures and even wrapping paper one year that featured the phrase because my mom loved it so much. It was wonderful because through my questioning I discovered that my mom's belief in the season was much like Virginia's and that belief was then transferred to myself. When I discovered that this incredible story had been made into a picture book you can imagine how excited I was and it not only met, but exceeded my expectations by truly capturing Virginia's story through beautiful illustrations on each page.

Yes, Virginia: There Is A Santa Claus by Chris Plehal and illustrated by the talented James Bernardin is without a doubt my favorite book during the Holiday season. Regardless of what holiday you may celebrate Virginia's desire to share the true meaning of the season will touch any reader's heart. It's message of sharing and caring for those less fortunate and valuing the small luxuries we do have by sharing them with others is powerful, especially when read to young kiddos. Yes, Virginia: There Is A Santa Claus and the true story it's based on will be one I'll share with my own kiddos year after year and I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new addition to their holiday picture book collection.

Here's a preview for the televised version of Yes, Virginia: There Is A Santa Claus which can now be viewed in it's entirety on Netflix:
Danielle Smith aka The1stdaughter blogs about children's literature at her site There's A Book. Danielle is also a middle grade writer, a professional flutist, and wife but her biggest accomplishment to-date would be her too book loving kiddos.

Thank you, Danielle!

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