Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 126: Winter's Gift

I absolutely love this time of year.  The twinkling lights, the smell of gingerbread baking, the decked halls, the coziness of our house, spending time with family and friends, the spirit of giving… All of these things make me feel warm and happy and festive all over.  There is a special place on my son's book shelf for our winter and holiday books, and I have been eager to share some of these here on the blog for months.  One of my favorites is Winter's Gift by Jane Monroe Donovan, a beautifully touching story of love, companionship, and hope.  My mom gave this to my son for his first Christmas little more than a week after he was born with the inscription, "For W, a Christmas gift to our family.  We love you."  I didn't read the book right away, but as soon as I did, I knew it would be a story we will cherish for years to come.   It also instantly earned itself a spot on my list of books that make me cry.  The story of the recently widowed old man and the lost, exhausted mare he rescues from a blizzard is heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once.  When my son picks up this book, he says, "I should read this book with Daddy.  This book always makes you cry, Mum Mum."  While the beginning of the story is sad  -- it is the old man's first Christmas alone since losing his wife a few months earlier -- the ending is uplifting and lovely.  The illustrations throughout the story are gorgeous, as well; I can feel the cold wind of the storm and the glowing warmth of the man's barn.  I'm always impressed when books are illustrated and written by the same person, too.  I was first struck by the cover illustration of a mare walking alone through the woods in a snow storm, but now I am continually moved by the emotion of the story.  I loved horses as a girl, so I think that makes the natural beauty of this book resonate with me even more.  Winter's Gift takes place on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but I don't necessarily consider it to be a Christmas story.  To me, its message of enduring hope transcends the holiday, though I can see why it might be categorized as such.   I have yet to see this story in book stores or the library, but I'm sure it's out there if you look for it.  Winter's Gift is one of those timeless books that is appropriate for children of all ages, and would make a perfect gift for kids from one to ninety-two. 


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