A great, brand new book for the holidays is always a pleasure to find. The Christmas Wind by Stephanie Simpson McLellan is a sure to be a favourite this year, particularly as a read aloud for the grades 3-6 range. For teachers and parents, this book raises a lot of timely topics for discussion if you’re looking to have that ‘meaning of Christmas’ or ‘holiday spirit’ conversation.
The book begins with Jo, her baby brother, and their mother fleeing a difficult situation. Her mother isn’t well, which means they aren’t able to make it to their destination. Instead, the family seeks shelter in a barn that belongs to renowned old grouch, Franklin Murdoch, who also has a sad connection to the holiday season. Conflict ensues as the baby brother goes missing from the barn, with Jo taking the lead in getting him back by threatening poor Mr. Murdoch with a shovel. After he invites them to spend the night inside, the story takes a turn as we see the characters begin to bond and lean on each other for some much needed Christmas spirit.
With beautiful illustrations, The Christmas Wind shows that the holiday season can be a difficult time for some, and that the power of human kindness can be a beacon of hope for all.