Rhody Reads: Kickoff the Season with 6 Festive Books

Stories new and old perfect for including in holiday traditions

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November marks the beginning of the holiday season, and this month’s Rhody Reads features six charming selections sure to put you in the spirit. Each illustrated book captures feelings of joy and love, especially cherished at this time of year. Holiday books make thoughtful gifts for others and yourself, so be sure to visit your local independent bookseller. If they don’t have a title in stock, chances are good they’ll be very happy to order it for you.

Winter Blessings by Izzy Abrahamson (also known as Rhode Island storyteller Mark Binder) is a delightful collection of 11 stories and a novella celebrating the spirit of Chanukah (or Hanukkah). This finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for Family Literature brings a modern take to the traditional stories of this ancient holiday, and each tale is perfect for the entire family. 

The beloved winter tale The Polar Express was created by RISD graduate Chris Van Allsburg. Beautifully illustrated and skillfully written, the fable reminds us that the magic of Christmas lives on. The Caldecott Medal winner was turned into an Oscar-nominated film starring Tom Hanks but the original picture book remains as rich and powerful as ever for all who truly believe.

Imagine experiencing the final season of the year for the first time. You can do just that through the eyes – and nose – of a dog as he learns what to expect in Klaus’ First Winter by Denise Flagg. In this fun tale for kids of all ages, learn about the changing seasons and how they impact wildlife in New England from the perspective of our four-legged friend. A percentage of the proceeds from sales of the book benefit local animal shelters.

Did you ever wonder who handles all of the mail that gets sent to the North Pole? That job belongs to the main character in Post Mark: Santa’s Misfit Postman. Written by Mark Perry and illustrated by Lia Marcoux (whose work has appeared in our magazines), we follow misunderstood Mark as he journeys to find his true calling with a lesson about following your dreams even when others don’t believe in you. Check out its follow up, Post Mark: The North Pole Postman Visits Rhode Island.

Barrington’s own Christopher Denise illustrates A Redwall Winter’s Tale, part of Brian Jacques’ Redwall children’s fantasy series. A riddle must be solved as the Dibbuns of Redwall Abbey unravel the mystery of the Snow Badger, Lord of Wintertide, who comes on the first night of winter, bringing snow across the land. Denise’s rich illustrations fill the book and your heart with warmth as you enjoy this tale for a long winter’s night.

Ho ho ho! Jo Parry presents a local twist on the classic holiday tale with ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in Rhode Island. Children and adults alike will be delighted to see Santa and his eight tiny reindeer flying past the landmarks we all know so well. You’ll return to these pages time and again as you discover new details you hadn’t noticed before. See if you recognize your favorite sites from the Ocean State before wishing a “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!” 

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