Friday, October 31, 2008

The Paperbag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne

We often hear people talk about how the spirit of Christmas has been forgotten, how all anyone cares about nowadays is how many presents they get. This book sends out a totally different message.

It's the story of two young boys who go to visit Santa. They know he's not real, but they figure it can't hurt to turn their wish lists in. While they wait in line, they fill the whole page with gift items they want, front and back.

But, when they visit Santa, they find that they are the ones who have to give a gift - a gift of their time at a ward for ailing children. As they play the part of elves for Santa (who is a doctor there), they realize some of these children will never be going home again, and it changes how they look at life.

One child in particular wears a bag over her head because her disease has made her "ugly". This is the one the youngest boy tries to get more involved in daily life at the hospital. But she's not easy to convince. He has to do a gurney race and ends up hurting himself. And she says she won the race anyway!

It takes some creative thinking to get all the patients in the play for Christmas, and the other children join in and make it an event to remember for a lifetime.

It will most likely make you cry, but you won't forget this book.

It'd be a good tale to read aloud with your family and talk about why it makes you feel the way it does, and what you might be able to do in your community to make someone else's Christmas better.

I highly recommend this book.


Dottie said...

Sounds like a good twist on usual Santa story.I'd like to read.

Kevin Milne said...

Hi Book Faerie! Kevin Milne here...thanks for the glowing review! I thought you and your readers might like to know that I've just started a "Christmas Giveaway" for free copies of The Paper Bag Christmas. Details can be found at

Best to you, Kevin.

Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie said...

Hey, Kevin, it's a good thing you're giving away copies, because I'm keeping the one I got!

Nice job coming up with an unusual twist that doesn't show up in most Santa stories.