Hello, friends! It’s the second day of our holiday countdown, and also the last night of Hanukkah! To celebrate, we’re reading Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein, written by Amanda Peet and Andrea Troyer and illustrated by Christine Davenier.
Nobody loves Christmas more than Rachel. The twinkling lights, the beautiful decorations, and especially Santa – Rachel looks forward it each year. She wants to join in the Yuletide traditions too, but there’s just one problem: Rachel’s family is Jewish. Most of the year, she loves being Jewish and practicing her family’s traditions, but at Christmastime, she feels jealous of all the fuss made over a holiday that she’s not allowed to celebrate. This year, Rachel has a plan: if her parents won’t celebrate Christmas, she’ll take her request to Santa himself. Surely he will understand her wish to be part of Christmas?
To be honest, this one was kind of heavy – spoiler: Rachel does not get her Christmas wish – but also refreshingly honest and thought-provoking. With the way Christmas can become over-saturated in the weeks and months before, it’s easy to understand why Rachel would feel left out. It’s a harsh truth, but leads to a great conclusion: Rachel meets with friends of other faiths and cultures who are not celebrating Christmas, and begins to understand that all traditions and holidays are important and special, even if Christmas gets all the attention. It’s also a nice touch that the book leaves little ones with permission to be jealous of that fact – it’s an unfortunate byproduct of our culture, and it’s nice that the story validates their frustration. The illustrations are very cute and well-detailed, yet support a complex story well. The length is fine, and JJ enjoyed it. A fantastic story to help children who might struggle during this time of year, and we really liked it. Baby Bookworm approved!