Celebrating Life

Celebrating Festivals with Children

Freya Jaffke

Softbound

$18.95

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Freya Jaffke is one of the master kindergarten teachers that I most respect and admire and learn from.  As with her other books, Celebrating Festivals with Children is a fount of wisdom carried on the warm winds of love for children.  As such, it is a gift and a must-read for anyone working with our very young.

Here she describes festival celebrations in relation to child development in the first seven years. She considers in detail the main festivals throughout the year—Easter, Pentecost, St. John’s, back-to-school, harvest, Michaelmas, lantern time, birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, and carnival.

Drawing on many examples, she shows how we can celebrate festivals in a meaningful way with children, both at home and in kindergarten. Every festival is prefaced with a deeper contemplation for adults before considering preparations with children. This is followed by the actual organization of the festival—with games, craft activities and decorations, stories, songs, poems and the seasonal nature table.

Very highly recommended.

Living Passages for the Whole Family

Celebrating Rites of Passage from Birth to Adulthood

Shea Darian

Softbound

$21.95

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Shea's latest book is a treasure for any family, any time. Throughout its more than 300 pages, she offers up celebrations for more than 20 of life's most important moments, many of which I have never witnessed anyone celebrating before. Her love of life and love for the human heart shine joyously on every page - Living Passages is itself a celebration of the steps we all must take along the pathway that is our life.

I believe that this book is destined to breathe healing life into the world long after all of us have moved on to other realms - it is just that powerful, just that love-filled. It is my fondest hope that it finds its way into hearts and homes everywhere, and becomes a source of renewed joy, hope and love to all who are touched by its goodness.

Inside you will find:

  • Creative ideas for celebrating contemporary rites of passage from birth to age 21
  • Guidance for making soulful connections to secular rites of passage in the 21st Century
  • Over 20 rites of passage ceremonies for infants, children, youths and adults
  • Over 30 songs to honor life transitions
  • Ideas for celebrating birthday passages
  • Guides for imparting age-appropriate rights and responsibilities in a young person's life
  • Soulful wisdom & encouragement for parents
  • Ideas for parents and caregivers to reclaim and heal life passages from the past
 

Little Angel's Journey

A Waldorf Birthday Story

Told and illustrated by Dzvinka Hayda

Hardbound, dustjacketed, large format

$21.95

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Dvinka Hayda's birthday story is so beautiful and true that it brought tears to my eyes when first I read it. Out of her many years as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher, she has added elements to her story that I have never encountered anywhere else, and that serve to encircle the child whose birthday it is with the warm, glowing love of Heave and Earth.

Her story begins as Little Angel and Great Angel journey together toward Earth. On the way, they discover many things and Little Angel sees the Earth from cloud-filled distances, watching it and loving it more each day, learning that the Earth would be Little Angel's new home.

The day comes when Little Angel and Great Angel walk together to take Little Angel to Earth. Great Angel takes Little Angel to Radiant Sun and Silvery Moon, who have gifts that are just for Little Angel.

Down the Rainbow Bridge and into the hearts and home of Little Angel's parents they go. But Great Angel returns to Heaven, taking Little Angel's wings for safekeeping until all Little Angel's good deeds on Earth are accomplished, and Little Angel returns to use them again.

And it is this last facet which is such a poignant joy to see - that we enter the world with good deeds to do, and when they are done we shall return to Great Angel and the wings we left behind.

Any child enfolded in this tale will carry a seed of comfort, confidence and courage that will grow into an adult strength of purpose and love. My hope is that this story goes out into the world, and that for each adult who learns it, children ten-fold hear it; and for each child who hears it told to him/her, that child's confidence of life is shared with ten who have not had it told to them. May this seed become a great tree with many, many healthy, beautiful branches.

 

Birthday

Norah Romer

Illustrated by Heather Jarman

Softbound

$12.95

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Five young children wait to travel with Father Time from Heaven down to Earth, on their Birthday.

Absolutely just right for our little ones!

The Birthday Book

Celebrations for Everyone

Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, Marije Rowling

Softbound

$33.00

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A ‘bookshelf must’ to be dipped into whenever a birthday celebration arises. On a practical level, the advice it contains about organizing children’s birthday parties will, I am sure, save many parents’ pre- and post-party headaches.

—Sue Webb, Perfect Parties

Birthdays are milestones on our journey through life. The authors say, "We wrote this book for the many people who wish to find ways of bringing beauty, meaning, and a touch of magic into the celebration of birthdays."

Packed with recipes, stories, songs and games, and ideas for cards, decorations, and presents, The Birthday Book is spiced with quotations from famous birthday celebrants and amusing historical anecdotes.

Features:

  • A complete resource for birthday celebrations from age one to 100+.
  • How to organize a party—invitations, games, prizes and food.
  • Party suggestions for teenagers, 18 to 21 year-olds, twins, and small children.
  • Unique celebrations for those on holiday, ill, Christmas birthdays, and rainy days.
  • Birthday traditions from around the world

The Winding Road

Family treasury of poems and verses

compiled by Matthew Barton

Softbound

$26.00

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What pleasure awaits those who not only dip into this book at random, but who also search for the particular poem or verse which has personal meaning. What a gift for the family—and how wonderful to think of a new book growing with the family and being passed on, thoroughly finger-smudged, tear-stained and page turned.

—Jamila Gavin, author of Coram Boy

Matthew Barton has gifted us with the most sensitively gathered collection of verse available in print. With poems for children from toddlers to teenagers, The Winding Road has beautiful verse for all interests, ages, and situations. You simply can't do better than to have a copy of this book at hand, ready for you to dip into when looking for "just the right poem" to share with your child -- I promise you, you'll find it.

Over 200 poems, from Gaelic Blessings to Navajo prayers, from William Black to Eleanor Farjeon and Billy Collins, on the following themes:

  • The Clay that Shapes: Before Birth
  • A Shock of Light: Birth
  • Raining Double Blessings Down: Blessing, Naming and Baptism
  • To Shine on Earth: A Young Child's Brithday
  • Arise, Arise! Morning Verses with Young Children
  • Bread Is a Lovely Thing to Eat: Graces
  • Sleep's Unlatched Door: Evening and Prayer
  • Feet Find a Way: First Milestones
  • Sorrow's Springs: Illness and Upset
  • A Wind Where the Rose Was: Bereavement
  • The Ground to Stand On: Stepping Out and Growing Away
  • I Am Good Fortune: Leaving Home
  • Waldorf School Verses

Children's Party Book

For Birthday's and Other Occasions

Anne and Peter Thomas

Hardbound

$25.00

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From A to Z, this is the most complete, idea-laden, sound advice giving, enthusiasm inspring book I've seen on the subject of how to give and what to do at children's parties. The Children's Party Book ranges in content from guidelines for parties and games for children of different ages, to a lovely discussion of what a birthday is and can be for a child. Then, it plunges into page after page of ideas - things to make; party themes to create; party hats, invitations, decorations & favors to easily make from inexpensive materials. And then there's games, games, games - some sure to produce giggles and cheers, others that will evoke studious concentration, and still others that will leave the players happily collapsed on the lawn after joyous exertion. As if that weren't enough, there is also a section on puppet shows - how to make the puppets and stage, what to perform, and some puppet plays to get you going.

Altogether, a great book - wish I could be there when you try it out!

The Children's Year

Stephanie Cooper, Christine Fynes-Clinton, and Marye Rowling

$24.95

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When we bought this book many years ago, we were both excited and intrigued by the more than one hundred projects and great ideas for celebrating life that are nestled between its covers. As it turned out, Nancy got to use the book for about a week and a half before it turned up "missing" in our third grade daughter's room. She had found it beside Nancy's work basket and decided after one look that it must have been intended for her! Perhaps it was, because she has used it ever since for inspiration for gifts, solace on rainy days, and, now that she is a teenager, as a touchstone to the strength of her own childhood. We hope it serves your family as well as it has served ours.

All Year Round

Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, Marije Rowling

$26.00

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Two of the authors of The Children's Year teamed up with Ann Druitt to present us with a book that begins where The Children's Year leaves off.  All Year Round is packed with an astonishing number of inspirations for celebrating life on Earth through acts of simple joyous creation. This simple, beautiful creativity and joyously respectful way of honoring the spiritual seasons of the earth will enrich your family's life as they delight your children.

The Seasonal Festivals in Early Childhood

Seeking the Universally Human

Edited by Nancy Foster

The Gateways Series Seven

Softbound

$20.00

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In the introduction, editor Nancy Foster explains that many of the beautiful festival celebrations we may think of as "Waldorf" originated not in the first Waldorf schools, but in the European cultural and religious tradition in which they were embedded. This presents a challenge for us today as we strive to renew our celebration of the seasons of the year, bringing the healing forces of a rhythmic life to the children. As Nancy says,

The inner and outer work of teachers continues to be guided by our commitment to anthroposophy and Waldorf pedagogy. The growth and development of the children in our care still follows the archetypal laws revealed to us by Rudolf Steiner's research. At the same time, the realities of our school communities present us with a context that challenges and inspires us to re-examine some of our cherished festival traditions in order to welcome and include fully every child and family.

This bountiful collection of articles, stories, songs, circles, and puppet plays provides thoughtful reflections on the cycle of the year and on the nature of each season, along with many practical ideas and materials to bring into the classroom.

Freya Jaffke, Joan Almon, Holly Koteen-Soulé, Steve Spitalny, Helle Heckmann, Nancy Foster, Barbara Klocek, Cecilia Karpoff, and Marjorie Thatcher are just some of the contributors who have lovingly shared the fruits of their research and practice.

This is an extremely valuable, thought provoking and inspiring book.  Very highly recommended.

The Nature Corner

Celebrating the year's cycle with seasonal tableaux

M. van Leuwen and J. Moeskops

2nd Edition

$20.00

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The Nature Corner is a wonderful resource for anyone wishing to add this to their child's experience of home. There are detailed instructions on setting up the basic table, including directions for making the draping cloths. Themes of the seasons and some of the festivals (most, but not all with a Christian theme), are portrayed with full directions for making the animals and dolls shown in the color photographs. There are instructions for making some of the dearest little mice, fluffiest of sheep, and the most charming gnomes ever. Do enjoy your creative romp through nature's year!

Festivals with Children

Brigitte Barz

Softbound

$15.95

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After too long an absence, this book - beloved for its compact yet inspiring descriptions of the Christian festivals - is again available. Brigitte Barz describes the nature and character of each festival, its symbols and customs, and gives practical suggestions for celebrating these festivals within your family. Festivals with Children is much more than a craft book - it awakens an understanding ifor the festivals and inspires meaningful family celebration.

 

Traditions

Integrating the Days of Awe and Chanukah into the Waldorf Grades Curriculum

Erica Jayasuriya

Softbound

$20.00

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For anyone who has been wanting to learn more about the Life within Judaism, and especially for those who have wished for more help in presenting some of the traditions within a Waldorf context, this joyous book is here to help. Filled with enthusiasm, beauty and love, you really can't do any better as a place to learn and glean ideas. The cover picture of Marc Chagall's Blue Violinist is a mere hint of the delights and joys within. Clearly, Erica Jayasuriya loves these traditions and has found a wellspring of beautiful ways to share them with children.

Hiding in the Green

Children Discovering the Garden in Poetry and Photographs

Nancy Free Martin and Millie Reith

Includes audio CD with 2 songs

Softbound

$14.95

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Sweet poems, happy songs, engaging photos all lead children and adults into the garden and into nature's magical world through the wonder packed between the covers of this dear little book.

This is not a didactical discourse on how to teach children about nature - Hiding in the Green is simply a collection of songs and poems paired with beautiful photos of children in a vibrant garden.

You can use this book for story time, you can learn the poems and use them for garden circles, games and joy. I predict that the poems and songs will become a part of daily life for you and for any children in your care. What a lovely celebration of nature!

The Spiritual Background to Christian Festivals

Charles Kovacs

Softbound

$16.00

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The rhythms of the Earth can be seen, for example, in the daily cycle of day and night and in the yearly seasonal changes. Rudolf Steiner spoke of how Christian festivals such as Easter, Pentecost (or Whitsun), and Christmas fit not into only these patterns, but also into the macrocosmic rhythms of the cosmos and into the microcosmic human rhythms.

In this concise, readable volume, Charles Kovacs explores the structure of our calendar year and considers in detail the background to the various Christian festivals, including less popular St. John's Tide and Michaelmas.

The Spiritual Background to Christian Festivals offers inspiring insights into why we worship and celebrate at particular times, as well as discussions of the deep spiritual significance of the Christian year.

Festivals Together

Sue Fitzjohn, Minda Weston, Judy Large

$27.00

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Many of us want an experiential understanding of the ways that different cultures and religions have found to love the Earth and unite with the cosmos. This book is an answer to that longing. Though focused on joyous activity, each festival is introduced with a deep respect, compassion and comprehension - the seeds that will enable these celebrations to flower within our hearts.

Festivals Together presents celebrations from Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh faiths and incorporates regional expressions of north and west Africa, the Caribbean, China, India, Ireland, Japan, New England, the Phillipines, and more.

Festivals, Family and Food

Diana Carey and Judy Large

$22.00

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Festivals, Family and Food has become a classic of its kind. It is not only a guide to celebrating festivals, but an inspiration for celebrating life itself. Packed with ideas for crafts, games and delicious food, this book stands as an invitation to the joys of family life and an inspiration to share those joys with others.

Sing a Song of Seasons

Singing with Children Series

Songs from the seasons of nature to sing with young children

A Naturally You Can Sing Production

Arranged by Mary Thienes-Schunemann, Musician and Waldorf Educator

Songbook and CD

$24.95

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Sing the new songs! Sing with Joy! . . . not only with your tongue, but with your life!

- St. Augustine

So begins - and rightly so! - this gift of a songbook for parents, teachers and children. Mary Thienes-Schunemann has created exactly the songbooks that I have for years heard adults who care for children begging for. As with her other songbooks, this one is packed with beautiful, mescal, expressive songs to share with young children - AND it comes with CD you can use to hear Mary sing all the songs in a voice so pure and simple it can bring tears (of joy and gratitude) to your eyes. And thus, in joy and beauty you can learn these songs and share them with your beloved children - who will grow with smiles and gladness and song at their singing.

Listen to a music clip 1 2 3

 

The Starry Bird

an Easter tale

Reg Down

Softbound, with lovely line drawing illustrations by the author

$14.95

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Reg Down has gifted us with a happy Easter tale featuring Tiptoes Lightly and her friends. Told with humor and joy, this is just right for today's children.  It's pretty wonderful for today's adults, too. 

One morning an egg appears in the meadow below the Great Oak Tree. Neither Jeremy Mouse nor the fairy Tiptoes Lightly have ever seen such a huge egg – over a foot tall! They go to Farmer John’s in search of an answer, but without any luck, and when they return the egg has grown!

Thus begins an adventure which involves most everybody on the farm – human, animal and sprite. The egg, later hidden deep in the forest, keeps growing and finally hatches in a beautiful way on Easter Sunday.

The Starry Bird is an Easter tale with healthy doses of humor, adventure, and just plain fun. But underneath, in a form suitable for children, run the mystery-questions of life, death and resurrection that lie at the heart of Easter.

The Easter Story Book

Collected by Ineke Verschuren

Illustrated by Ronald Heuninck

Softbound

$19.50

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This collection of over thirty stories, legends and folk tales reflects the season around Easter and early summer. In this season there are also a number of other important religious festivals: Ascension, Whitsun and St. John's.

Some of the stories, like "St. Veronica," are placed in the context of the great Easter and Whitsun events. Others, like "The Bargemaster's Easter," show the effect of these events on the human heart. For younger children, folk tales from all round the world illustrate at a deeper imaginative level the theme of sacrifice and the triumph of love and loyalty over adversity. The motif of resurrection, in which the character throws off an outer skin and emerges in a new, truer and shining guise, recurs again and again.

This collection is another one of those treasures that can grace your family life for many, many years. Excellent.

 

The Miracle in Bethlehem

A Storyteller's Tale

Sarah Burton

Softbound

$11.95

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Once upon a time, perhaps two thousand years ago, or maybe only yesterday, a man stood under a tree and waited. As he waited, people began to arrive: old people, young people, children, parents with babies, and even a couple of dogs. They settled on the cool grass under the shade of the great tree, all around the Storyteller, for that is who the man was. Once a year, everyone gathered round to hear him tell this story.

The storyteller’s tale is one we all think we know—the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of a very special baby. However, do we really know it? The Miracle in Bethlehem offers a unique retelling that weaves largely forgotten, ancient nativity legends into today’s more familiar narrative.

The short chapters make it ideal for nightly Advent or Holy Nights readings or for bedtime stories. Children will rediscover the wonder and sparkle of this great story by hearing it anew from some less familiar perspectives. Parents, too, will find it moving and surprising, hearing the traditional narrative through fresh ears.

(Ages 6–9)

Light in the Lantern

Stories for Advent

Georg Dreissig

Softbound

$12.95

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Mary and Joseph's path to Bethlehem is fraught with difficulties, but a small miracle happens on each day. The story of each miracle brings us a little closer to Christmas, until we finally reach the stable in Bethlehem where the light in the lantern is waiting in anticipation of Jesus' birth.

This is a beautiful way to convey to children the mounting joy that culminates in Christmas -- a beloved classic filled with heart-treasures.

The Old Shepherd's Tale

Christopher Nye

Paintings by Henri Sørensen

Heirloom quality hardbound, dust jacketed, large format

$17.95

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This story brought tears to my eyes, it is so poignantly beautiful, the perfect compliment to the festival of Christmas.

An old shepherd shares the stable with his animals on the night Mary and Joseph arrive and give birth to the infant Jesus. Miraculously, the stable fills with angels and with light, and the ox, the donkey and the cow are able to speak to each other and to the old shepherd. Each animal gives a special gift to the Child - the donkey (speaking for all donkeys) offers protection and safe passage into Egypt; the ox shares his strength with the Child, strength enough to become a carpenter and eventually carry a large cross; the cow offers the nourishment of her milk, that the Baby may become a strong man.

The shepherd goes on with his life of tending these and other animals, but when able to do so, shares the miracle of that night with those who do not know of it: a man beating an ox to make it labor harder, runs to find a second ox to help the first when he learns of the ox's gift to the Child; the shepherd buys starving donkeys, grazes them back to health and then sells them to a good home; the forgetful milkmaid never again leaves the cow unmilked once she learns of the cow's gift.

The shepherd sees the greatness of these beasts -- and shares that vision with us in this story that goes straight to the heart. For all ages.

The Emperor's Vision and Other Christ Legends

Selma Lagerlöf

(formerly titled, Christ Legends and Other Stories)

Softbound

$16.95

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This is one of my favorite collections of stories surrounding the life and reality of Christ. Selma Lagerlöf's telling of these tales - ranging from the story of the surly shepherd of Bethlehem, to the war-hardened soldier at Herod's feast, to St. Veronica's act of grace toward the Emperor Tiberius - is profoundly beautiful and deep. These stories are timeless and will appeal to a wide range of children and adults - some stories are best told only to older children while some can become family treasures at a very early age. All of them will remain a cherished treasure in the hearts of those who hear them.

Lara's First Christmas

Alice O. Howell

Softbound

$9.95

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The day I sat down to review this book, I felt as if I had been given a Christmas present -- the kind that are wrapped in beautiful paper with big ribbons and then, when you open them, there inside the box is just what you've been hoping for. That's how wonderful Lara's First Christmas is -- a warm, loving tale that everyone in your family is sure to want to hear each and every Christmas season. It will bring you warm-hearted smiles, giggles of delight, and tears that come from a place far within. In the end, you'll know that life is a gift and that life is good - love indeed rules the world.

Lara and her parents are refugees, fleeing a country "in the East" on the eve of World War II. They find themselves marooned in an isolated little hotel in snowbound Norway. Left all alone, Lara finds two eccentric old English guests who teach her to ski. And she discovers deep love and wisdom from the grandfatherly carpenter Andreas, who teaches her that Christmas really is a universal event, open to every heart and every faith.

A warm, luminous story about the real meaning of Christmas—from the author of The Beejum Book.

Celebrating Christmas Together

Nativity and Three Kings Plays with stories and songs

Estelle Bryer and Janni Nicol

Softbound

$19.95

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Create the wonder of Christmas with your children at school or at home - starting with a simple Advent Calendar and Crêche. The Nativity Play is spell binding - whether told as a story in verse, narrated whilst children act the parts, or performed entirely by children.

This Christmas treasury includes:

  • The Nativity Play with staging directions and instructions for simple costumes and props
  • Songs and music to accompany the play
  • How to create a Crêche
  • Making an Advent Calendar
  • The Three Kings Play
  • Christmas stories

The Christmas Story Book

Collected by Ineke Verschuren

$29.95

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The Christmas Story Book is one of the best anthologies of Christmas tales available anywhere. The stories are a colorful colleciton, carefully choses to show the spirit of Christmas in many different facets. The book is divided into five sections: Advent, the Birth of the Child, Christmas night through the ages, Christmas in the world, and the Three King's time. Authors include Hans Christian Andersen, Leonid Andreiev, Jane Clement, Maxim Gorki, Gerhard Klein, Selma Lagerlöf and many more.

The Christmas Star

Well-loved songs for the Christmas season from Advent to Three Kings Day to sing with your beloved children

Mary Thienes-Schunemann

A Naturally You Can Sing Production

Songbook and audio CD Parent/Teacher Resource

$24.95

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In olden times, when a person wished to express something sacred and holy, they were not allowed to speak about it, they could only sing. It was recognized that singing contained a higher power than speech and was a holy activity. There are still echoes of this ancient practice in some cultures of the world today. The memory is still present that how we use our voices to sing and speak can contribute to healing and peace, in our hearts and in the world.

- Mary Thienes-Schunemann

Tears filled my eyes several times as I listened to the CD that accompanies this extraordinary song book. It was not just that the music and singing were so very beautiful, nor was it that the songs were so well chosen, nor even that they brought back some of the best memories of my life. It was that Mary's music is all these things and something much more as well - The Christmas Star is quite simply a sun-drenched outpouring of hope and love. What could have been just one more nice collection of Christmas carols has, through her healing artistry and deep sensitivity, come into the world a gleaming, golden gift of life offered to our children and their children beyond.

I can't think of a better gift for your children, your family, yourself - a true celebration of the Light of Love kindled in the darkest season.

Listen to a music clip 1 2 3

Mary's Little Donkey

and the Flight to Egypt

Gunhild Sehlin

Softbound

$12.95

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Our family read this story every advent for years. I divided the book into 24 parts, reading each one after we opened the next door of the advent calendar for that night. The copy of the story we had did not contain the Flight into Egypt, so our reading stopped at Christmas Eve. Had we been able to do so, I would have divided the Flight into Egypt into 11 parts and read one each of the Holy NIghts following Christmas Eve. I still can't think of a better - and simpler - way to celebrate that time of year. You can begin your own tradition when your oldest child is about 4. Your younger children will be captivated by the interest of the eldest and can fully participate in this evening ritual.

The stubborn, dirty little donkey who is of no use to anyone in Nazareth becomes a quick and willing helper under Mary's care. But Mary and Joseph have to leave Nazareth in obedience to Caesar's decree, and the donkey carries Mary to Bethlehem where the Child is born. The donkey hopes to carry Mary and her son quickly back to Nazareth, but instead they have to flee to far-away Egypt . . .

Gunhild Sehlin worked for over twenty years as a UN children's worker in Jordan and Jerusalem.