December 11, 2012

More Christmas Stories

Christmas stories for the middle grades that reach beyond the basic to a deeper message can be hard to find. Here are my two picks for the season:

The Christmas Rat by Avi
Image from TitlePeek
Eric meets Anjela Gabrail while stuck at home alone. Anje, as he's called, is a large man with white-blond hair who wears wing emblems on his ball cap.  (An allusion to the Angel Gabriel, found in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic stories.) 

As a building exterminator, Anje recruits Eric to help him kill the lone rat living in the basement. In this suspenseful story, Eric struggles with good vs. evil and comes to a surprising conclusion about the "Christmas Rat."

The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
Image from TitlePeek
Evan Hart, tasked with running the school holiday concert after an unfortunate rubber band incident, learns that being popular is not the same as being a leader. Who knew getting kids to sing could be so tough? And who knew that Evan's efforts would become so earnest?

I can't resist including the quote below from Andrew Clements. Happy Reading!

"Sometimes kids ask how I've been able to write so many books. The answer is simple: one word at a time. Which is a good lesson, I think. You don't have to do everything at once. You don't have to know how every story is going to end. You just have to take that next step, look for that next idea, write that next word. And growing up, it's the same way. We just have to go to that next class, read that next chapter, help that next person. You simply have to do that next good thing, and before you know it, you're living a good life."