Title: Josie's Gift
Author: Kathleen Bostrom
Illustrator: Frank Ordaz
Reading level: approximately 6th grade
Summary: The first Christmas after Josie's father died is also the first Christmas of America's Great Depression. Despite Papa's yearly reminder that "Christmas is not about what we want. It's about what we have," Josie badly wants a blue sweater she sees in the dress shop in town. Although money is extremely tight, Mama is somehow able to buy the sweater. When Josie, missing her father sneaks downstairs in the middle of the night Christmas Eve, she finds the sweater under the tree, then decides to seek comfort in the barn with the animals. In the barn, she finds a couple with their baby, who came in the barn to get warm while traveling east. They refuse Josie's offer to come into the house, but the baby's cries remind Josie of the newborn sheep she has helped with on the farm, and she insists on giving her new sweater to the baby, telling them of her father's saying about Christmas. Josie returns to the house and becomes the newest participant in her father's wooden nativity scene, worshipping Jesus.
Review: I love Christmas and Christmas stories, and this is a good one. Christmas has become about what gifts we're going to get, rather than the greatest gift possible, which we have already been given. Josie is reminded of what the season is really about--the baby Jesus--as well as the principle that it is better to give than to receive. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book each time I have read it.
I know it's a few days after Christmas, but that doesn't mean we can't still celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. I had planned to post this before Christmas, but, hey life happens. :P