Book Kids – Book of the Month – December

Book - A Christmas Carol - Charles DickensWe’re revisiting an old classic for the holidays, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This is one of our all-time holiday favorites. The story begins with what one might not necessarily associate with the “Spirit of Christmas.” We are immediately introduced to the somber thoughts, words, and actions of the story’s main character Ebenezer Scrooge, whose heart is as cold, dark, and hardened as the cold, dark Christmas Eve night that surrounds him. One might immediately be tempted to close the book and move on to something more gleeful, but one shouldn’t! It all ends well. Grab yourself a copy and see how.

Book Overview:

The story of Ebenezer Scrooge opens on a Christmas Eve as cold as Scrooge’s own heart. That night, he receives three ghostly visitors: the terrifying spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. Each takes him on a heart-stopping journey, yielding glimpses of Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit, the horrifying spectres of Want and Ignorance, even Scrooge’s painfully hopeful younger self. Will Scrooge’s heart be opened? Can he reverse the miserable future he is forced to see? Now in an unabridged edition gloriously illustrated by the award-winning P.J. Lynch, this story’s message of love and goodwill, mercy and self-redemption resonates as keenly as ever.

Our Teen’s Take on the Book:

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than with the classic, “A Christmas Carol.”  I love reading this book, especially around this time of the year because of its message of gratitude, generosity, and hope. 1) Gratitude – No matter what we may be going through, there are those going through worse. 2) Generosity – Our time and energy are better spent getting out and helping others, rather than dwelling on negative thoughts and deeds. 3) Hope – If grumpy old Ebenezer Scrooge can change, anyone can.

The book starts out with grumpy old Ebenezer Scrooge refusing to buy heating coals for his current assistant, Bob Cratchit, who is shivering cold. Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, soon shows up and invites his uncle to his Christmas party, and obviously, he refuses. Two men later approach him to support their charity, again he refuses. He rejects every opportunity that comes his way, that could possibly help humanity. He dislikes people. He dislikes Christmas. His overall dislike of humanity is heartbreaking. And he makes it quite clear for all to hear and see. But there is hope.

Scrooge is approached by the ghost of his previous (now deceased) assistant, Jacob Marley. Marley tells Scrooge that because of his actions, he has to live a gloomy afterlife. In an effort to redeem Scrooge, Marley informs him that three ghosts (Christmas Past, Present, Future) will each pay him a visit. Soon, Scrooge falls asleep and is awakened by the three ghosts one after another.

The first reminds him of his past, specifically of the incidence of his fiancée leaving him due to selfishness and greed. The second walks him through the present, giving him a firsthand view of the poverty-stricken conditions of those around him and how he’s deliberately ignoring their cries for help. The third gives him a glimpse into his future, where he sees that people are happy and relieved that he has died.

This realization of what his future holds prompts him to promise a change of heart. He states, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!” Scrooge wakes up a changed man. He begins his generous deeds by sending a turkey to the Cratchit family and paying a surprised visit to his nephew’s party.

The story is inspiring in the end. Once you can get past the gloom in the beginning, you’ll discover the gleam in the end. It is a very refreshing read, and I recommend it for kids and adults. Gabe, 15

As always, we love hearing your thoughts on books. You may leave a comment or two about this book or other books you are currently reading.

By Dawn Hoff, Book Kids

Book Club – Book of the Month – December

Chicken Soup - Christmas1

Deciding on our book pick for December was a bit of a challenge because there were so many great titles from which to choose. One of our teens recommended Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol (a book he is currently reading as part of a class requirement), because it fits so well with the December-Christmas theme.  Another teen suggested we shift our focus to a more contemporary title. She recommended a family favorite, Grandma’s Christmas Legacy, the Testimony of the Tree by Casey Schutrop. Many other great titles were tossed around. However, after careful and thorough consideration, the team decided on Chicken Soup for the Soul Christmas Treasury for Kids by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Hansen, and Irene Dunlap.

I must say, “there is more treasure in this book than in all the Pirates’ loot on Treasure Island.” It is jam-packed with heartwarming, true stories (twenty-five to be exact, one for each day in December through Christmas Day) that will truly melt the heart and warm the soul. Through these stories, “kids will learn about the ‘angels among us’ who give selflessly to those in need; they’ll learn that sometimes the best gifts aren’t bought at a store; they’ll discover that giving to others can be more joyous than getting everything on their list; and both kids and adults will find these stories wonderful reminders of the true meaning of Christmas and make this book a cherished reading tradition for generations to come.” This book is truly a Christmas treasure, one you can either keep, give as a gift, or both. 

We’d love to hear about books that have become a part of your family’s holiday reading tradition. What would be your holiday pick? Please leave a comment or two below. For more on holiday reading traditions, see our previous blog post, Thanks & Giving: All Year Long . Happy Reading!   

 By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids