Saturday, November 23, 2013

BOOKS WITH IMPACT for Holiday Season 2013!

If you're planning to give books to children or teens this Holiday Season there are a few new releases and new options this year that will allow you to give a great book to a child or teen while also letting that book be a jump start for Holiday activities that involve socially conscious giving or sharing of their skills with others in fun holiday ways this Season:

If you happen to also be a teacher and you plan to read Holiday-related books to the kids in your classes, you can use these world-changing options below as well.

Here's week 1 of this year's 2-week Writermorphosis list of 


Group 1:
 These are Books that can be used by Families or Educators to get elementary school children, early middle graders, and even teens involved in helping others this Christmas. Combine the book with a related activity and you've got a gift that keeps on giving:

  1.  Wangari's Trees of peace shares the world-changing story of Wangari Maathai.
As a young girl growing up in Kenya, Wangari was surrounded by trees. But years later when she returns home, she is shocked to see whole forests being cut down, and she knows that soon all the trees will be destroyed. So Wangari decides to do something—and starts by planting nine seedlings in her own backyard. And as they grow, so do her plans. . . .
         This true story of Wangari Maathai, environmentalist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, is a shining example of how one woman’s passion, vision, and determination inspired great change and is a wonderful story of women and children taking the lead in solving a problem in their country.

For Elementary and Middle Schoolers: 
Pair this book with a hands-on activity about how trees help the environment and plant seedlings with your kids that they can care for all Winter, then plant outside in the Spring.  Stick this book in a box with a gardening shovel, a pair of gardner's gloves, a tree seeds or a few small saplings.  You can even grow your own Christmas tree, or decorate a potted Christmas tree this year and then plant it back outside

For Teens: Though this book is a picture book it opens the door to exciting projects involving environmental and political awareness, and grass-roots community organizing, and can be the beginning of a project of service that teens and their friends or family decide to take on this Christmas.  Wangari's nation needed trees.  What kind of an impact do you want to have this year in your own town?  What is the need there?  Teens love the opportunity to go out and be elves 
and make a difference.

2.)  Another great "Make a Difference this Holiday Season" book is The Mitten Tree, in which an old woman in the town knits mittens for others in need and places them on a Christmas tree.  In the end others begin to help her by secretly donating yarn to her as a way to keep the project going.

For Elementary and Middle Schoolers/even Teens: 

Combine this book with a book or lessons on knitting, go out together and buy the colors of yarn and needles that the kids like best, and spend time with your child or pre-teen knitting scarves for local homeless families.  There are kids and families staying down at the homeless shelter this season.  

Crafty Teens: can learn to knit scarves or hats this winter season.  It's a great opportunity to spend quality time chatting while knitting, with family members and/or peers.

3.) Christmas Feels Like Home is a 2013 New Release  
by Author Gretchen Griffith.

Accompanied by warmly, rich illustrations by Carolina Farias this book shares the story of a boy from Latin America who moved to the United States to live with relatives and how he waits and waits and hopes that someday this new town will feel like home.  And finally on Christmas day -- it does.

This is a great book for children of any ethnic background who have moved this year, as well as for children who want to learn more about the lives of recent immigrants, or who are recent immigrants themselves and trying to find reminders of Home while making new friends in a new place.

For Elementary and Middle Schoolers/even Teens: 

For Kids who've moved, this book will resonate and can be paired with the family creating a special new family tradition in a new place.

For non-immigrant children or even teens who live in an area where there are lots of new people or people different from them moving in, this book can be the beginning of a fun new Christmas tradition of welcoming those new families and new kids who've arrived this year with a visit to their front door bearing a plate of home-made cookies that makes them feel more a part of the neighborhood this Christmas.

Is a 2013 New Release by Patricia Polacco
In this book Hanukkah was coming, and Trisha's family was busy getting ready. But many of their Christian neighbors had scarlet fever and wouldn't be having Christmas that year.  In a sweet gesture of service Trisha's family brings Christmas to them, including Christmas trees adn food baskets.  A story of true friendship and giving during the holidays.

 For Elementary and Middle Schoolers

This is another great book to pair with a fun inter-cultural Christmas sharing outing, cookie baking extravaganza for the neighbors, or other intercultural Holiday activities -- wherever you live this holiday season!

As Holiday Shopping, Celebrating, and Giving begins this holiday season may you and the children and teens in your life be surrounded by great books, great projects, great neighbors and friends, and may you find great opportunities to use 
your hearts 
 your hands 
to share with those in  need.

- Janelle



Linda A. said...

What a terrific holiday book list and suggested projects/activities. I plan to pass this along to two friends--one is an elementary school counselor and the other is an elementary school librarian. Both will appreciate it.

Happy holidays! I'm thankful for all the helpful posts you share.

Janelle said...

Glad to hear it, Linda. Thanks!