Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I've been busy compiling my list of Best Christmas Books.  I'm going to post it on November 15, which in my Eastern Orthodox tradition, is our first day of Advent. I'm calling it "Forty Books for Forty Days".  Anyone who comments on my posts between now and midnight on November 15, will be entered in a drawing for my "ADVENT GIFT GIVE-AWAY".

Advent means "coming" or "arrival".  In the West, for Catholics and Protestants, it traditionally starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day.  For Eastern Orthodox Christians, Advent - or the "Nativity Fast" -  begins every year on November 15th and, like Lent, is a 40-day period before Christmas devoted to preparation for the coming of the Messiah.  It is a heightened time of prayer, fasting, acts of charity, and scripture reading.  And, especially for kids, a time to learn patience as they anticipate Christmas Day.

"We Wait In Joyful Hope", from Waltzing Matilda's blog 

For my "ADVENT GIFT GIVE-AWAY", I'm partnering with two great companies:  one of my favorite book sellers, CHINABERRY, a source that offers only the very best in children's literature, as well as unique and stimulating educational games, crafts, and toys.  And secondly, THE BENEFACTORY, a publisher that I am currently involved with as a "storyteller".  A percentage of the sales from their books, CDs, and DVDs goes directly to help over 12 non-profit humane associations (from their "True Friends" stories about real animals), as well as two women's monasteries (from their "Good Neighbors" and "Halo Stories" series, written by Mother Melania).

CHINABERRY has graciously donated "The Story of Christmas Book Set and Advent Calendar", by Mary Packard, illustrated by Caroline Croll.  This particular calendar is made up of 24 little books to be read and then hung on the Christmas tree, from December 1st  through Christmas Eve.
Through THE BENEFACTORY, I'll be donating "The Nativitiy of Our Lord", a book in paperback by Mother Melania (formerly Sister Elayne), with gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Bonnie Gillis.

So comment away for my ADVENT GIFT GIVE-AWAY!!!!!!(giveaway over 11/15/10)


  1. wendy, this is awesome. i love reading your blog...you're up to some fun things these days. also, the advent calendar book idea is great. if i don't win the drawing i'm gonna look into that anyway. i love celebrating advent and am looking forward to it more each year as topher gets older. thanks for the ideas!

  2. I've been looking for a good advent calendar, and this looks perfect!

  3. Wendy, Your blog is beautiful. I came across this quote in a crosstitch book....
    "Richer than I you can never be, I had a mother who read to me" S. Gillan.
    You have probably seen this.
    You are doing a great service researching and recommending all these wonderful books.

  4. Aunt Wendy - we love Advent and can't wait to start our nightly readings and lighting of the wreath. Last year we started a tradition that many families do out here in Franklin. After we light our candle and read from the Bible (and sing a few songs) the girls get to choose one Christmas book (that I have previously wrapped) and open it. Then we read it...and read it and read it. I only have about 20 books so we supplement from the library, but I can't wait to read your 40 books list to maybe add 1 or 2 to our collection!

  5. The Christmas book tradition sounds great! I've heard of several other people doing it. You're smart to start collecting them now! :)

  6. One of my favorite Orthodox Christmas stories for children, especially little girls, is "An Icon for Christmas: Sophia's Gift. An Icon Christmas Story to Color," by Theofania Gonis and illustrated by Margo Desharnais. It is available in our parish bookstore, or if we are sold out, it will be available again before the Nativity. It is a storybook and a coloring book. For $6, it is an inexpensive delight.

  7. Lorraine, when I was a child I had a bookmark with a similar quote. Instead of "I had a mother who read to me" it read, "Richer than I you can never be; when I was a child someone read to me." I wore the bookmark out when I became old enough to read for myself.

  8. Thanks for the opportunity to win a book! We are following the old calendar, so begin Advent in about 2 more weeks. I would really like the story of Christmas book set!

  9. I think this is the first time I have visited here...what a beautiful place to come and get ideas for great reading! Thank you for all of your insight. I love to read my girls quality books with beautiful illustrations.

  10. Wendy, thank you so much for this beautiful blog site. We are always looking to expand our library with good books... May Our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ shower upon you His abundant blessings!

  11. Hi Wendy,
    I love the idea of reading wonderful books with the kids during the Nativity fast. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

  12. Hi, Wendy, Thank you for all your book suggestions. We love to read in our house and Riley is already in love with books :)

  13. Thanks, everyone! I'll be taking comments up until midnight tonight. :)