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Welcome to This Awful/Awesome Life! My name is Frances Joyce. I am the publisher and editor of this magazine. We'll be exploring different topics each month to inform, entertain and inspire you. Meet new authors, sharpen your brain and pick up a few tips on life, love, entertaining and business. Enjoy and please share!

Holiday Reading for Children and Young Adults by Fran Joyce

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Reading to your child during the holidays is a way to bond and start your own holiday traditions.

There are many wonderful books out there especially for children and young adults about the holidays. Some are filled with recipes, craft items, and stories of Christmas traditions that started long ago. The pages of other books may be filled with Hanukkah magic or stories about the heritage of African Americans.

There are classics and poems - new books and list books. Some by famous authors and others by unknowns. We’ve selected some our our own children’s favorites to share with you this month.

The Children's Jewish Holiday Kitchen: 70 Fun Recipes for You and Your Kids, by Joan Nathan, the author of Jewish Cooking in America – for ages 9 and up or younger with adult supervision. Kids can learn about their heritage through 70 different recipes and activities covering ten Jewish holidays. 

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel – Hershel, a weary traveler on the first night of Hanukkah must help a village get rid of the goblins who are trying to ruin Hanukkah.  

A Merry Christmas Cookbook by Disney Book Group and Disney Storybook Art Team. Discover the fun of cooking with your kids this holiday season. Tackle recipes of varying degree of difficulty, receive helpful cooking tips and enjoy the colorful illustrations with you kids.

The Story of Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington and Stephen Taylor tells the story of how Kwanzaa started and teaches the seven principles of Kwanzaa, known as Nguzo Saba. The book also has fun activities for kids and a recipe for benne cakes. 

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis. African American children can read and enjoy this African folktale during Kwanzaa. Also interesting reading for anyone who enjoys folktales.                                                                                                                    

 The Mitten – written and illustrated by Jan Brett – a retelling of a Ukrainian folktale – when Nikki loses one of the mittens his grandmother made for him, the forest animals help him look for it. When each animal finds the mitten they climb inside making for a delightful story. Brett was one of my sons’ favorite authors at Christmastime. Also look for these holiday books by Brett: Home for Christmas, Who’s that Knocking on Christmas Eve?, The Wild Christmas Reindeer, Gingerbread Christmas , The Twelve Days of Christmas, and Christmas Trolls.  

The Carpenter's Gift - A Christmas Tale About the Rockefeller Center Tree - written by David Rubel and illustrated by Jim La Marche – a story about the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and neighbor helping neighbor. For 5-8 year olds 

The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R. Tolkien is a collection of letters written and illustrated by Tolkien between 1920 and 1942. These letters were for his children from Father Christmas.  

Lulu's Library - Complete Collection: 30+ Stories for Children by Louisa May Alcott. Alcott told these stories to her niece at bedtime. The stories were so popular with her niece and her niece’s friends that Alcott decided to start writing them down in little blue notebooks. When Alcott had accumulated 32 stories, she collected them into a book and offered it to the children as her Christmas gift.  

Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum – read the story of Santa Claus’s life as only the creator of The Wizard of Oz can imagine it. 

The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story by Tomie dePaola – dePaola retells and illustrates this classic Italian Christmas folktale about lonely old Befana and her endless search for the baby Jesus. Some other Christmas books by de Paola include: The Legend of the Poinsettia, The Night of Las Posadas, Merry Christmas Strega Nona, My First Christmas, The Friendly Beasts and An Early American Christmas.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss – always a hit with children and adults. You can’t go wrong with this classic tale of the meaning of Christmas.










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Your Holiday Reading List by Fran Joyce