What is on your class To-Read list for December? Here is my “bookshelf” for this fun month! There are so many different books to choose from, both fiction and nonfiction. Most of these are appropriate for any classroom, no matter what grade level or groups of students you have. While a few of them mention a specific holiday, they are not the sole focus of the story. I have also included some books that focus on Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and even Christmas Around the World. In my classroom, we learn about all different kinds of celebrations and therefore read several books about different holidays.
My absolute FAVORITE book to read at this time of year is December by Eve Bunting. I love all of Bunting’s books, as they are so beautifully written! However, this has to be my favorite. At the beginning of December each year, I pull out this book and get ready to have a wonderful, raw, meaningful conversation with my class. You see, this book is about a child and his mother who live in a box on the street. They recycle enough cans to get a cookie for each of them for Christmas. When somebody else has nowhere to go on Christmas Eve, they invite her into their small space and give her one of their cookies. In the morning, she is gone, but their luck begins to change. There is much more to this heartwarming story, but this is the part we focus on. What does “giving back” really mean? Instead of focusing on what we want for the holidays, how could we help somebody else? What are the most important things in life?
Yes, they are some heavy questions, but it is a heavy topic! Our school holds a food drive at this time of the year and this book is PERFECT as a kick-off for the drive, as students begin to see that some people struggle each day to get the basic necessities, like food. While some of us are worried about whether or not we are going to get the newest video game, others worry about where they are going to live next month or if they will have enough money for food. The conversations that happen each year are AMAZING! I always plan this lesson when there will be no interruptions (well, ones that I know of at least!) so we can talk as long as we need to. .
I have used this lesson for grades 3-5. You could definitely adapt it for other grade levels as well. You know best when it comes to your kids and your school climate. Obviously, you will need to use your best judgment as to how sensitive your kids might be or if there are kids going through similar things themselves that may make it not work for your class. I encourage you to read it yourself first.
What books are on YOUR December read aloud list? I would love to add some more to my shelf! 🙂