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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein -- Book Review

Disclosure: Penguin Random House Books gave me a copy of this book free of charge for this review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation.  As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Rachel loves Christmas!! She loves everything about Christmas--the decorations and lights and all the excitement. There is only one problem, Rachel is Jewish. What she really wants is to have Santa come to her house. Now she just has to figure out how to make it happen. This is the story of Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein by Amanda Peet and Adnrea Troyer and illustrated by Christine Davenier. 


http://www.randomhousekids.com/books/detail/246615-dear-santa-love-rachel-rosenstein?isbn=9780553510614

This book has so many extensions to it. It helps children realize there are many different holidays and people celebrate them differently. It also made me think about the explanations to kids on questions like "How does Santa know which houses to stop in?", "Why doesn't he leave gifts for non-Christian kids?"... The questions can keep going. For older children it might be a good writing prompt to think about these answers. In the story Rachel writes a letter to Santa asking him to come to her house. She even visits Santa at the mall with her best friend and asks him if he will come. She cuts up her sister's green shirt to decorate a plant since her mother said no to a tree and made Santa a latke cookie.What more does she have to do for Santa to come?

The next question to think about is why does she want Santa to come. How are our Christian children after getting their Christmas gifts? Do the non-Christians get jealous of this? I know I was always jealous of my Jewish friends since they had eight nights of gifts for Hanukkah when I was young and didn't understand the differences. After reading this story I looked around me and wondered what it would be like to not celebrate Christmas. At work as the Christmas carols are playing and almost everywhere is Christmas with a few Hanukkah and New Year's things mixed in, I wondered how much is our society pushing Christmas into non Christians' faces? I know I once talked to a close Jewish friend about this and he really likes the Christmas carols and things so he enjoyed this time of year, but I do not know if he is the norm. This book really made me look at our society and how it might feel not to be in the majority. 

I have to say we enjoyed this book. Hazel likes all the things Rachel does to try to get Santa to her house. In the end she sees several friends from school at the Chinese restaurant on Christmas Day and each celebrates a different holiday around that time of year. Rachel realizes there are many holidays and Christmas is just one of them. This book is fun and has some strong messages to all kids and society. 

On Monday we will be sharing our Hanukkah for Kids post as part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs series.  I hope you will join us and check out the other posts in this series. Here are a few other Hanukkah posts we have done in the past to check out.