Great Christmas Book for Family Reading with Older Kids

A Christmas Memory imageSaturday night my husband and youngest daughter set off for a basketball game, leaving my oldest daughter and me alone together for the evening. We intended to take advantage of the time to watch a movie only the two of us would like, but instead I remembered a little book of three short stories I got for Christmas a couple of years ago. The book is by Truman Capote, who I haven’t read much of, but I remember thinking when I first read it how touching the  stories were.

So I asked my daughter Madeleine if we could read before we picked out a movie, intending only to read the first story, my favorite. She like it as much as I did, and we ended up spending our evening reading the other two stories and talking about them.

The collection of short stories is called, A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, and The Thanksgiving Visitor. In A Christmas Memory, Capote recalls making fruitcake with an elderly cousin who had never matured past the mentality of a child. She was his friend when he was a child, and the memory he describes, as well as his descriptions of a simple life and times, are heartwarming. In One Christmas, Capote talks about visiting his father in New Orleans for Christmas one year. He didn’t really know his father, and the experience of being with a stranger in a big city was both overwhelming and exciting for him. Finally, in The Thanksgiving Visitor, Capote describes how his cousin and friend insisted he invite the boy who had been bullying him at school to Thanksgiving dinner one year, and what happened when the boy came for the day.

Each of these little stories vividly evokes the times they were set in. They are also intimate portraits of the people involved. I highly recommend this small volume as a read-out-loud book at Christmas for families with children aged 10 and up.

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