BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Bea Reviews Always Together at Christmas by Sara Sargent & Illustrated by Mark Chambers


Publisher: 
Random House Books for Young Readers
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: Nov. 3rd, 2020
Buying Links: Amazon*  | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Books | Kobo
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Blurb from goodreads:

Help children discover the joy of Christmas 2020 with this timely picture book that affirms the special magic of the holidays even if we're physically separated from our loved ones!

Christmas will always mean love. Even if love looks a little different this year.

As families and communities come together--and stay apart--in creative ways this holiday season, bring comfort and joy to children with this story about a Christmas like no other.

Always Together at Christmas highlights different family traditions and the ways they're changing in 2020: from Santa's elves practicing social distancing to opening presents via Zoom on Christmas morning. And it even includes ideas for new quarantine-appropriate Christmas traditions!

The sweet and cozy illustrations add classic touches, making this book the perfect gift to share with family and friends from across the miles.


My Thoughts:

"Always Together at Christmas" is a COVID-19 book that never actually mentions COVID or the pandemic. It talks in a roundabout fashion about how Christmas will be celebrated in a different manner this year. It's good to see that acknowledged but the author missed a fantastic opportunity by failing to acknowledge WHY it will be different. Even young ones know that life is different and why. My two and three year old students know that the reason they wear masks and we don't share toys or food and can't combine classes is because of a "yucky virus", to quote a three year old. 

Sargent and Chambers portray people are wearing masks on some pages but not others and we see some social distancing. There are video calls and phone calls, maskless outdoor excursions, and a strong emphasis on family, whether it's physically close or apart, and encouragement to create new traditions. At the back of the book are safe, fun, and helpful activities and traditions.

"Always Together at Christmas" is a well-intentioned, sweet, slightly sappy book about a COVID Christmas that many people, adults as well as children, will be able to relate to. While it fails to directly acknowledge the pandemic, it does have good ideas and images, and includes some ethnic and gender diversity. Not a great book, but a good addition to the Christmas book collection.

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