My sweet friend, Andrea, does Book Talk Thursday every week, and I have found some great new books from it. During the holidays, she has opened it up for us to also link our favorite books. I meant to link up last week, but I forgot. So this time I posted ahead and scheduled it to make sure it was done.
Anyway, the story is based in West Virginia (no surprise, it's Cynthia Rylant) and is based on the true story of a "Santa Train" that would come around and bring presents to children who were less fortunate. It follows one particular little boy who dreams of getting a doctor kit every year.
The vocabulary is amazing, and the book sets you up for some great questions and conversations. Plus the pictures are just beautiful. I honestly don't know why this book didn't win any awards. And if you want to have some pre-made activities so you don't have to put too much thought into it ahead of time, Carla from Comprehension Connection has a GREAT package to go along with the book. I ended up just discussing it this year, but I did use some of her questions and vocabulary words to guide my instruction. If I had more time with each class, I would have done all of these activities.
One piece of advice: read through the story on your own first. Especially if you are prone to crying. It's a super sweet story, no sad endings, but I don't want anyone getting mad because they cried in front of the class and I didn't warn them!