Friday, December 11, 2009

Taking Back Tuesday: Mary Azarian's Birthday

This past Tuesday, December 8, Mary Azarian celebrated her 69th birthday. She is most notably known for her woodcut art in Snowflake Bentley, originally published in 1998, although she has illustrated numerous other books, one of which, a Christmas book, is up for review today.

Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie.
A Christmas Like Helen's.
October 2004.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Review copy obtained from local library.

Author, Natalie Kinsey-Warnock and illustrator, Mary Azarian, team together to bring readers an old-fashioned Christmas that successfully shows children Christmas isn't all about the gifts, but more so the appreciation for the life you have been given. Traveling back in time forty years, readers will exprience Christmas through the eyes of Helen, one of eight children growing up on a Vermont farm. The story told is insightful and has a great deal to offer, especially if you're trying to teach your children the true meaning of Christmas and not just the receiving of gifts that so many children take for granted nowadays (I was guilty of that as a child, too, though!).

Perhaps what I enjoyed about the book most is that it shares personal family memories with the world, as described by Kinsey-Warnock:
When Helen grew up she had eight children and thirty-two grandchildre,
and one of those grandchildren was me.
Our Christmases aren't exactly like Helen's,
but we spend them together as family:
mother and father, sister and brothers,
aunts and uncles,
and dozens of cousins.

Helen lived her whole long life
in the place she loved best,
and I will, too.
This is definitely a book I recommend be read as a Christmas bedtime story!

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to