There’s something about the colder months that stirs in people the spirit of giving. When the air gets chilly, everyone could use a little kindness and warmth. Having a cozy home and a loving family are privileges that many of us tend to take for granted. We all long for warmth and belonging, especially as the days get shorter and the air gets colder. Sometimes the greatest gifts are the simplest: gratitude, sharing, and the opportunity to share some special times together. There are several holidays celebrated throughout the season, and, like the books we’ve highlighted here, they all share the common themes of gratitude and giving.
Sprinkles of kindness
In “Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles,” a little girl notices that an old man in her neighborhood often visits the discarded food bin outside the market. When her parents explain to her that he doesn’t have money to buy fresh food, her heart becomes heavy. In an act of tzedakah she decides to start leaving small gifts for him in the food bin. What begins with one chocolate chip cookie saved from a school lunch turns into a slew of heartfelt Hanukkah gifts. In the true spirit of this special holiday, she brightens one man’s world, like lighting a candle on a menorah.
Sometimes, it takes a village.
In Donna L. Washington's “L’il Rabbits Kwanzaa,” L’il Rabbit finds himself in a difficult situation: his Granna is sick and will not be able to prepare the big Kwanzaa feast, or karamu. L’il Rabbit take matters into his own hands and embarks on an adventure to find her zawadi, a special gift that will lift her spirits. Unfortunately, no matter how hard he tries, there is nothing to be found. However, when he shares with his community that he wants to save the family’s final day Kwanzaa, all the local animals prepare a surprise karamu to support L’il Rabbit and his family. This wonderful book explores the concepts of giving, sharing community resources, and celebrating together that Kwanzaa emphasizes.
An act of Grace
Little Grace in "Grace at Christmas" loves nothing more than to celebrate Christmas with her small family. She cherishes the traditions they celebrate, and most of all, loves to recreate the Nativity scene, enlisting her mom, her Nana, and their cat, Paw-Paw. When Nana announces that they will be having some surprise visitors this Christmas, Grace laments having to give up her bedroom for two strangers to stay in. But when she is reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, she opens herself up to the idea, and soon becomes friends with the child who is visiting, Savannah. The two play dress up and then decide to perform the Nativity, and this time they have the perfect cast of six! There is even another surprise visitor, one who leaves Grace and Savannah starstruck. When Christmastime comes to an end, Grace wishes for Savannah and her Aunt to come back again every year!
True Holiday Spirit
This holiday season, take some time to reflect and reconnect to what you truly value in your life. No matter which holidays you celebrate, there is always something you can do for another person. Whether it is surprising a loved one with an unexpected gift, bettering your neighborhood, or offering a helping hand to someone in need, no good deed goes unnoticed! One great way to show you care is by sharing a book with someone you love. All of these titles are available for checkout free of cost from the Nashville Public Library.