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Lights of Winter: Winter Celebrations Around the World

Last updated Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Author: Heather Conrad
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 0971242518
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2006

Synopsis: Children's picture book about winter celebrations around the world: Solstice, Yule, Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, Teng Chieh, Diwali, Soyal, Las Posadas, Zagmuk, Saturnalia. Thirteen color illustrations.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Why do we need lights in the Winter time?
•  What other times can you think of where we use lights to celebrate? (Christmas, birthdays, Fourth of July, Weddings, etc.)
•  Have the children name any winter holidays they can think of besides Christmas.
•  Flip through the pages and look at the pictures. See if anyone can guess which cultures these pictures are from. Have them explain their reasons why.
•  Have a discussion about the different ways people celebrate the holidays.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What do lights signify? (the sun)
•  Why do all the different countries celebrate the sun/light?
•  Can we live without light or the sun?
•  What good things come from the sun and light? (Warmth, trees, flowers, etc.)
•  After reading, go back over some of the traditions and have the children relate them to modern Christmas traditions that they celebrate/know of.
•  Does anyone celebrate or know anyone who celebrates holidays other than Christmas?
•  What are some fun things about Christmas? What do you think might be some of the fun things about other holidays?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a three dimensional sun ornament. Cut four circles (all the same size) from construction paper. (A quick and easy way: fold construction paper in half and then in quarters. Cut a circle through the folded paper. You should have four circles) Cut thin strips of paper to make the rays of the sun. Glue the rays around one circle. Glue another circle on top of the first circle, covering the part of the rays that overlap on the circle. Repeat with other two circles and more strips of rays. You should have two sunds with rays. You can color the suns and the rays if you want. Next, cut a line from one edge of a circle/sun to the center. (The cut can be on the diagonal if you need to avoid cutting the rays. Do not cut beyond the center!) Repeat this with the other circle/sun. Place the cuts inside eah other. You should have a three dimensional sun ornament! If you want, make a hole at the top and tie string/yarn to hang on the tree.
•  Draw a picture of how you celebrate the holidays
•  Make a Menorah, lantern, or kinara out of construction paper

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!