Title: Grace at Christmas
Author: Mary Hoffman
Illustrator: Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu
Publisher: Scholastic, 2012
ISBN number: 978-0-545-50348-8
Audience: 3-5 yearsEx
Summary: Grace loves Christmas. She is looking forward to the traditions of her small family. When her Grandmother tells her that she has invited guests to spend Christmas with them, Grace is upset about having to share. Grace can’t imagine having more people at her home, especially at Christmas. When Savannah, the young girl who is visiting with her mother, is upset about not seeing her dad for Christmas, Grace realizes that they have that in common. Grace begins to realize that the situation isn’t easy for Savannah either and works to make her feel welcome. Soon Grace realizes that having guests for Christmas has made this the best Christmas ever.
Central literary elements at work in the book: The illustrations of the Grace series are always beautifully rendered and give life to the books. Grace is an imaginative, lively spirit who learns and grows throughout the books. She is a believable and relatable character. In this book, the use of ‘stranger’ and ‘no room’ changes as Grace’s understanding of hospitality changes.
How the book presents gender, race, culture, economic status, abilities/disabilities, age, etc.: There is a diversity of race and culture represented throughout the book. Grace’s friends from school are Caucasian, African American and Indian (from India). Grace makes a phone call to her Dad who is from and lives with his new family in Africa. Grace’s grandmother, Savannah, Savannah’s mom, and Savannah’s aunt are from Trinidad.
Theological Conversation Partners: Exodus 22:21 “Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt.” Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Faith Talk Questions:
- Grace did a lot of special things with her family at Christmas. What special things to you do with your family at Christmas?
- Why was Grace worried about having visitors?
- Would having visitors at Christmas be fun? Why or why not?
- Why was Savannah quiet and sad?
- What does hospitality mean?
- Describe a time when you didn’t feel like you belonged.
- Why should we treat other people like we want to be treated?
This review was written by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Jessie Smith.
Grace at Christmas by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.