Our Thanksgiving was a lonely one and this time is terrible and I can’t wait, my children can’t wait, until we’re back to not having overflowing hospitals and exhausted nurses. I’m following the vaccine news a bit and I feel optimistic about April (my birthday month!).
And I’m including a photo of our graham cracker houses from last year but Joe built these, I did not. I made the royal icing, which was really fun to make with dangerous egg whites, but I did not cut graham crackers precisely, with an exacto knife. Just so you know.
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones was given to me when I was pregnant with our first daughter. I have read it aloud to all of the girls through the years, but perhaps more importantly, I’ve played the audiobook for on repeat over the years. The audiobook is wonderful. The cds are often included in the purchase of this illustrated Bible (look for “with CDs” in the listing). The storytelling approach and enthusiasm in this retelling is the best.
So when Sally Lloyd Jones, author of the Jesus Storybook Bible, says that she wrote up a list of favorite Christmas books, I pay attention. The woman knows her Advent books. She just updated her list this week. And updated her Advent playlist (Spotify). And released a printable pdf with coloring pages and ornaments. Thank you for your dedication to your internet audience, Sally!
Sally updating her list caused me to update my list, which has grown since I last wrote about it here. I do think holiday books are worth purchasing, new or secondhand. It’s nice to keep a box of them in storage and take them out with the season. They read well. They age well. I’m building my list on bookshop because bookshop is giving 10% of each purchase to local bookstores and 75% of profits to authors/publishers/bookstores. yup yup yup.
(I don’t have Holly & Ivy on my list. It’s not an omission; I don’t like it. It reads slow!)
There are so many favorites to highlight from my list but the one that’s been sitting on my mind to mention to you is Before Morning. An illustration from it above.^^ It is is the story of a mother preparing to go to work, and then plans (planes) are cancelled with a snowstorm. I always tear up when reading this incredibly simple, poetic story aloud. It’s bravery in the small things, the everyday things, but euphoric glee in the unexpected. You see the mom at her household tasks. You see the child hoping. You see the partner supporting. You see some people sleeping, and others at work. All this, illustrated with woodcuts, accompanied by a slowly incanted poem.
I think this particular book is on my mind because this year we will be explaining ourselves to our children, trying to show them our cards, sweeping the curtain of the moment to the side so they can glimpse the bigger picture with us. Casting it all as temporary, but acknowledging that loneliness and disappointment are lifelong elements to see and walk with.