mary's book basket ~ courtney's christmas basket

There is a basket that sits next to the sofa in our living room. We call it Courtney's Book Basket. It's where we keep some of her favorites so we can snuggle and read at anytime. During this particular season it is chock full of some of our favorite Christmas stories. There were a few new additions this year I thought I would share with you.

This is the newest addition to Courtney's Christmas Basket is Little Star written by the ever talented Anthony DeStefano and beautifully illustrated by Mark Elliot. This is a sweet story all the Littlest Star who shined so bright so the baby Jesus would be warm. The illustrations are so lovely and they perfectly compliment DeStefano's engaging tale.

Product Description:
“I think I understand!” Little Star cried out. “The baby Jesus is a king! He’s just little!”
A king is about to be born! The stars in the heavens are competing to shine the brightest to celebrate his birth. But when they see the poor family, the donkey, the shabby stable, the stars all think, That can’t possibly be a king. We’ve been fooled.
All except one. The smallest, loneliest star in the sky, Little Star, is the only one to understand what the king was about to bring to the world. But what can Little Star do for him? 
Certain to become a Christmas classic, this delightful tale connects the star atop our Christmas trees to the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, in the hearts and minds of young children.
I was surprised by this book, a great story with a wonderful holiday message. The Christmas Sweater: A Picture Book  by Glenn Beck really touched my heart. My favorite line just makes me smile.
Eddie's Grandpa tells him "Eddie, sometimes a sweater isn't just a sweater...See, when a gift is made by hand, all of that person's love is captured in it. Once they give it to you, that love turns into Christmas magic..."
I just love that sentiment! I have been the recipient of many packages filled with that special Christmas magic over the years and I just love the idea of it. This Christmas I have passed on more of my own brand of homemade love.

Product Description:
Adapted from the original bestselling novel, The Christmas Sweater: A Picture Book is the story of a young boy who finds the true meaning of Christmas in the most unlikely of places. Eddie wants a bicycle for Christmas, but his mother knits him a homemade sweater instead. His disappointment is obvious, but a magical journey makes Eddie realize that the sweater is far more than it seems. Ultimately it teaches him that the true meaning of a gift is that it is given with love.

Great Joy written by Kate DiCamillo actually made me cry. Seriously, the last two pages just hit me square in the hear and made me cry for the shear JOY of God's gift given EVERY single Christmas day. After being entranced by the music, Little Francis is concerned for the Organ Grinder and his little monkey when she discovers they live on the streets of New York. It's cold and she is worried. She asks her mother is she can ask them to dinner. Her mother who is drawn to look like Maureen O'Hara in "The Miracle of 34th Street" tells her "no" because they are strangers. One evening on the way to her churches Christmas Play, Frances invites the Organ Grinder to witness her big moment as an angel. What happens made me cry...that's all I'll say. Read it!

The Spirit of Christmas written by Nancy Tillman speaks about the true theme of Christmas...LOVE! This is such a fabulous lyrical read. It's written in rhyme in the first person. I felt like I was reading a beautiful poem. I would love to see it put to music. How lovely that would be!
My favorite verse was:
That's when the Spirit of Christmas smiled. 
"Remember, this all began with a child. Because it took nothing but love to begin it, it's not really Christmas if love isn't in it."
Your tree may be large as the room will allow with a big yellow star on the uppermost bough, but of one thing I'm certain, I'm sure of one thing.
It is love that makes the angels sing.

The final selection for today is from one of my favorite author/illustrators of all time. Tomie DePaola has written some of our families favorite children's books such as Holy Twins and Strega Nonna. Joy to the World is a collection of Christmas songs and some of Tomie's most popular holiday stories. We love this collection. LOVE it!

Product Description:
For generations of his fans, Christmas has been synonymous with Tomie dePaola--after all, it's his favorite holiday! Now, readers will find three of his best-known and beloved Christmas stories together in one handsome volume.
Comprised of The Night of Las Posadas, The Story of the Three Wise Kings, and The Legend of the Poinsettia, along with several exquisitely illus trated Christmas carols, Tomie dePaola's Christmas treasury will become an elegant addition to every family's holiday celebrations.

So if your looking for a last minute gift that will put a smile on some little persons face give any one of these a go. You won't be disappointed!
Merry Christmas!