Celebrate the Season edited by Diane M. Lynch
This book is a collection of twelve short stories aimed at 8-12 year old children all set during Advent or the Christmas season. Each story is written to guide children in learning about the true meanings of giving, blessings, gratitude, thoughtfulness and joy. A few discussion questions are found at the end of each story.
The introduction is a great explanation of Advent, the Catholic liturgical year, and some of the Church traditions of the holiday season. We will certainly read this together early in Advent.
I was pleased at the stories themselves, which seem like they would work quite well as read-alouds for First Son. (He may be able to read them himself, especially by Advent.) They are only a few pages long, a good length for us to read together and then discuss. Some of the questions would need to be adapted for a younger child at home. I don't know exactly how well the stories would work with an older pre-teen (wait, are they "tweens" now?), but I think they are realistic enough for First Son. Sometimes modern stories written toward a particular moral can be stilted.
I'm certain it was purposeful, but I like how the stories reflect a wide range of cultures (specifically Mexican and Polish). Our own extended family is mixed (by adoption and marriage) and stories like these can become starting points for discussions of our own family.
The only story that gave me pause was one focused on a boy with a new baby brother. Of course in the end he realizes what a gift his brother is, but it's always a fine line with such stories. We haven't had any problems with the older three showing signs of anger or hostility to Second Son and I'm not sure I want to give them any ideas. We may just skip that story, but I look forward to sharing this book with the kids this Advent.
This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. I have not received any payment for this review, but I did receive a free copy of the book Celebrate the Season. Learn more about joining the reviewer program here.