Christmas A to Z
White Lily Press / 8 December 2017

Christmas A to Z by Susan Harris Published by White Lily Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $12.00 ISBN 978-0-9949869-1-7 Christmas. Even the very youngest children get caught up in the excitement–the gifts, the tree, and of course, Santa Claus–and to help celebrate and explain some of the season’s symbols, celebrations, and emotions, Saskatchewan writer Susan Harris has added to her shelf of children’s books with a new title, the brightly illustrated Christmas A to Z. It’s important to note that this is a secular Christmas alphabet book; Harris previously published An Alphabet of the First Christmas: A Christian Alphabet Book, as well as several other titles for young children. The book begins with a broad dedication: “For boys and girls who love Christmas,” and ends with a sweet letter from Harris to her young readers. The author uses a gentle tone to address her “Little Friend[s],” and her experience as a former teacher comes across in the letter’s engaging text. “Did you know that it does not snow in some countries? I grew up in the country of Trinidad, which is an island, and it does not snow there,” she writes. “Do you have a favourite present you received…

Alphabet of the First Christmas, An
White Lily Press / 7 December 2017

An Alphabet of the First Christmas: A Christian Alphabet Book by Susan Harris Published by White Lily Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $12.00 ISBN 978-0-9949869-2-4 Author Susan Harris has added another alphabet book to her growing list of titles: An Alphabet of the First Christmas: A Christian Alphabet Book, will be specifically welcome to those who wish to teach (or learn!) the alphabet from a Christmas-themed and a Christian perspective. Like her book, Christmas A to Z, this softcover leads young readers through a colourful array of images, and it uses some “big” words to represent certain letters. For example, “B” is for Bethlehem, “E” is for “Emmanuel,” “F” is “Frankincense,” and “Y” is for “Yeshua,” “the Hebrew name for Jesus,” meaning saviour. I applaud Harris for using both simple words and these more difficult ones: I can almost hear a little child carefully pronouncing “Frankincense” after he or she hears it, and enjoying both the challenge and the sound of the word. Several of the illustrations reminded me of traditional Christmas card images, while others featured cartoon-like characters. The book is perfect for Christmas gift-giving, as it even includes a handy “To” and “From” page at the beginning….

The Sailor and the Christmas Trees
DriverWorks Ink / 18 December 2012

The Sailor and the Christmas Trees: A True Story by Deana Driver Illustrated by Catherine Folnovic Published by DriverWorks Ink Review by Keith Foster $14.95 ISBN 978-192757002-9 Although a prolific writer with five books and more than 2,000 articles in Canadian newspapers and magazines to her credit, this is Deana Driver’s first children’s book. It is a true story, told in simple language a child can easily understand. The story revolves around John Hanlon, a wireless operator in the Royal Canadian Navy in World War II. His ship, HMCS (His Majesty’s Canadian Ship) Royalmount, was protecting convoys bringing supplies to Britain. Knowing that on the return trip he would be at sea on Christmas Day, Hanlon and three other sailors cut down a few evergreen trees to decorate their frigate. When they found out that another ship was carrying children to safety in Canada, they got close enough to shoot a line across it. One of the trees was then pulled over. “Those children’s eyes were so big as they watched that tree bobbing along the line from our ship to theirs,” Hanlon recalled. “Those children started cheering.” Fifty years later, at a reunion in Calgary, Hanlon met a woman…

Annie’s Bright Idea
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 2 November 2011

Annie’s Bright Idea by Audrhea Lande and Jenny Prest Review by Karen Lawson Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing ISBN 978-1-894431-54-5 $14.95 Sometimes you do not have to look very hard to find the magic of Christmas. You can often find it between the pages of a simple story. You will definitely find it when you open a special children’s book called Annie’s Bright Idea. Audrhea Lande and Jenny Prest have merged their writing and artistic talents and created a delightful Christmas tale. Annie’s Bright Idea is more than just another Christmas story. It is exactly what the subtitle states on the cover – “A Christmastime Adventure”. Annie’s Bright Idea is set in Winnipeg, during the Depression. The Christmas season has arrived and nine year old Annie and her little sister Olga can’t wait to see Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas. Annie and Olga decide on this particular Saturday to make the trek from their home on the outskirts of the city to the downtown where Santa awaits. Santa resides at the iconic retail establishment that once proudly sat at the core of every downtown in every major city in Canada – Eaton’s. Eaton’s was known…

Family Christmas
Hear My Heart Books Inc. / 9 December 2009

“Family Christmas” by Fawn Nielsen Published by Hear My Heart Books Inc. Review by Andréa Ledding $14.99 978-0-9811367-0-7 This durable coil-bound book, described by the author as a “living journal”, provides a place for families to record family traditions, hopes, dreams, wishes, and even New Year’s Resolutions. Some pages are left blank with only a heading, while others contain lines for family members to write together what the holiday means to them, treasured moments, or memorable gifts. There are pages for planning, recipes, memories, and reflections on the past year. There are spaces to record highlights for both adult and children, and space to reflect on growth, regrets, and accomplishments. Some pages are set aside for family pictures, unique traditions, and even a page for small children to colour. It’s hard to write a review on a book which has yet to be written – each journal will be unique to the family which creates it, beginning with the first page in which they are invited to create an acrostic representing their family name. But it’s easy to imagine families filling out this book together over the holiday season, and being delighted to come across it every subsequent year, tucked…