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

I Am Malala

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”  -Malala Yousafzai

We’ve been glued to Malala’s story even before the publication of her book, I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World (Young Readers Edition). We’ve followed her story from her tragic near-death experience, to her remarkable recovery, to her heroic efforts and stance for education, to her notable honor as the youngest ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. We’ve been greatly inspired by her story of bravery, courage, and compassion, so much so that we’ve decided to select her book as our tweens/ teens’ book club pick for March. Our selection of this book was also influenced by the fact that March is Women’s History Month.

While most of our book kids and adults have read it, some haven’t. In any case, we are looking forward to having you join us in reading or rereading the story of and by a little girl with a BIG vision to change the world. As always, we love to hear your thoughts on books. Please leave a comment or two about this book or other books you are currently reading. Happy Reading!

About This Book: Malala Yousafzai was only ten years old when the Taliban took control of her region. They said music was a crime. They said women weren’t allowed to go to the market. They said girls couldn’t go to school.

Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for her cause: She was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school.

No one expected her to survive

Now Malala is an international symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner. In this Young Readers Edition of her bestselling memoir, which has been reimagined specifically for a younger audience and includes exclusive photos and material, we hear firsthand the remarkable story of a girl who knew from a young age that she wanted to change the world — and did.

Malala’s powerful story will open your eyes to another world and will make you believe in hope, truth, miracles and the possibility that one person — one young person — can inspire change in her community and beyond.

About Malala: Malala Yousafzai was born in 1997 in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. In her short lifetime, she has already experienced devastating changes in her country, which has been transformed from a once peaceful land to a hotbed of terrorism. Malala, who now lives in Birmingham, England, says she has been given a second life, which she intends to devote to the good of the people and her belief that all girls everywhere deserve an education. The fund she started can be found at

About Malala’s Fund: visit >>

By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids

30 Fantastic Fall Books for Kids

Fall Books 6

The changing of seasons is a great opportunity to get kids excited about new and different kinds of books. Summer is slowly fading away as autumn is fast approaching. We have compiled 30 fantastic fall favorites to help get your kids into the fall spirit.

These books will help them experience the scent, sight, touch, sound, and taste of the beauty of autumn through books the scent of pumpkin spice and apple pies; the sight of brightly colored leaves; the touch of cool, crisp autumn breeze; the sounds and whispers of migrating geese; the taste of mouthwatering candy corns and other fall treats; and much more. Hope your young readers will enjoy reading these fall books as much as ours have.

As always, we love hearing your thoughts on books. You may leave a comment or two about these books or other books that are on your kids’ fall reading list.

The Biggest Apple Ever (Author) Steven Kroll (Illustrator) Jeni Bassett (Ages 4-8)

The Apple Tree Pie (Author) Zoe Hall (Illustrator) Shari Halpern (Ages 4-8)

I Love Fall (Author) Alison Inches (Illustrator) Hiroe Nakata (Ages 2-up)

Dog and Bear: Tricks and Treats (Author, Illustrator) Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Ages 3-7)

Autumn Colors (Author, Illustrator) Laura Tovar (Ages 4-8)

Corduroy’s Best Halloween Ever! (Author) Don Freeman (Illustrator) Lisa McCue (Ages 4-8)

The Pumpkin Patch (Author) Margaret McNamara (Illustrator) Mike Gordon (Ages 4-6)

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves! (Author) Lucille Colandro (Illustrator) Jared Lee (Ages 3-5)

Why Do Leaves Change Color? (Author) Betsy Maestro (Illustrator) Loretta Krupinski (Ages 4-8)

Leaves Fall Down (Author) Lisa Bullard (Illustrator) Nadine Takvorian (Ages 4-8)

P Is for Pumpkin: God’s Harvest Alphabet (Author) Kathy-jo Wargin (Illustrator) YaWen Ariel Pang (Ages 4-8)

The Runaway Pumpkin (Author) Kevin Lewis (Illustrator) S. D. Schindler (Ages 3-5)

Lucky Leaf (Author, Illustrator) Kevin O’Malley (Ages 4-7)

Duck & Goose, Find a Pumpkin (Author, Illustrator) Tad Hills (Ages 2-3)

Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship (Author, Illustrator) Edward Hemingway (Ages 3-5)

Leaf Trouble (Author) Jonathan Emmett (Illustrator) Caroline Jayne Church (Ages 3-7)

Pumpkin Soup (Author, Illustrator) Helen Cooper (Ages 4-8)

Apple of my Eye (Author) Joceline Lee (Illustrator) Martin Murtonen (Ages 3-Up)

Too Many Pumpkins ( Author) Linda White (Illustrator) Megan LLoyd (Ages 5-Up)

Mouse’s First Fall (Author) Lauren Thompson (Illustrator) Buket Erdogan (Ages 2-4)

Hello, Harvest Moon (Author) Ralph Fletcher (Illustrator) Kate Kiesler (Ages 4-8)

On Halloween Night (Authors) Ferida Wolff, Dolores Kozielski (Illustrator) Dolores Avendano (Ages 4-Up)

Oliver Finds His Way (Author) Phyllis Root (Illustrator) Christopher Denise (Ages 2-5)

Free Fall (Author, Illustrator) David Wiesner (Ages 4-8)

Fall Leaves (Author) Loretta Holland (Illustrator) Elly MacKay (Ages 4-8)

County Fair (Author) Laura Ingalls Wilder (Illustrator) Jody Wheeler (Ages 4-8)

Twilight Comes Twice (Author) Ralph Fletcher (Illustrator) Kate Kiesler (Ages 4-8)

Autumn is Here! (Author, Illustrator) Heidi Pross Gray (Ages 2-Up)

By the Light of the Harvest Moon (Author) Harriet Ziefert (Illustrator) Mark Jones (Ages 4-8)

The Spooky Wheels on the Bus (Author) J. Elizabeth Mills (Illustrator) Ben Mantle (Ages 3-5)


By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids