The Christmas Wish

Last updated Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Author: Lori Evert
Illustrator: Per Breiehagen (Photographer)
Date of Publication: 2013
ISBN: 0449816818
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2014

Synopsis: Long ago, a brave little girl named Anja wanted to be one of Santa's elves. So she leaves a note for her family and helps her elderly neighbor prepare for the holiday, then she straps on her skis, and heads out into the snowy landscape. From a red bird to a polar bear to a reindeer, a menagerie of winter animals help Anja make her way to Santa. A generous trim-size, matte cover, and foiled title make this a special book for the holiday season.

Note to readers:
•  Anja (pronounced AHN-yah or on-ya) is a Russian or Swedish name meaning gracious, merciful.
•  luminescent: light that does not come from the sun but from chemicals or other physiological processes.
•  tundra: a large area of flat land in northern parts of the world where there are no trees and the ground is always frozen

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  1. How do you celebrate the holidays?
•  2. What makes you most excited when you think about Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa)?
•  3. Does your family have any special traditions for the winter and the December holidays?
•  4. Have you ever been in/to the snow? Did you like it? Was it cold?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  1. Do you think Anja really met Santa Claus or was she dreaming?
•  2. Have you tried to find Santa before? What happened?
•  3. What animals would you want to help you find Santa?

Craft ideas:
•  Make cut-out skiers. Cut out & color a kid with winter clothes, then glue the feet to craft sticks.
•  Make a Reindeer Antler Headband. Trace both hands on construction paper. Cut out the hands/antlers. Cut out a strip of paper to make the head band or fold the palm over string and tape/glue/staple to secure.
•  Make a Cotton Ball Polar Bear. Draw a polar bear on construction paper (1 large oval, 1 small oval for the head, 1 small circle for the tail, 4 stocking shapes for the paws). Color in the eyes, paws and mouth. Glue cotton balls on the body for the white fur. For added fun, draw yourself riding on top of the polar bear like Anja in the book!
•  For pictures, more craft ideas, and directions visit:

Special activities:
•  Write down things you could do to help others during the holidays, such as:
•  help your parents prepare dinner or set the table
•  read a book aloud to a younger brother, sister, cousin or friend
•  help decorate a tree or your home

*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!