Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus: The Classic Edition



Last updated Monday, December 12, 2016

Author: Francis P. Church
Illustrator: Joel Spector
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 0762411201
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2016

Synopsis: In 1897, a young girl wrote to The New York Sun asking whether Santa Claus truly existed. The paper's response, written by reporter Francis P. Church, has become a beloved holiday literary tradition. An original approach to a children's classic, this captivating book creatively reinterprets that heartwarming letter about the truth behind Santa Claus and Christmas. It is accompanied by charming Victorian artwork.

Note to readers:
•  This is a nostalgic editorial response to a letter to the editor of the New York Sun. It was written in 1897. Eight year old Virginia O'Hanlon asked, "Is there a Santa Claus"?
•  This story features The New York Sun newspaper. Many kids probably have not seen a printed newspaper. If you can bring a copy of a newspaper or show the picture and explain that instead of email, people would write to newspapers.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Why did the girl write a letter to the New York Sun newspaper?
•  Who would you ask if you had a similar question?
•  Does your family celebrate Christmas or another holiday?
•  Looking at the illustrations in this book, when do you think this story takes place? In current times or a long time ago? (1897)

Vocabulary

•  skepticism - doubt as to the truth of something
•  comprehensible - able to be understood
•  dreary - dull, bleak, depressing
•  supernal - of or relating to the sky or the heavens; celestial
•  abiding - (of a feeling or a memory) lasting a long time; enduring

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Who wrote the letter to the newspaper?
•  What do you think is the answer to Virginia's question?
•  What did the answer from the newspaper editor say?
•  Where did the answer appear? (in the newspaper)

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a Santa. Use pieces of red & white paper or fluffy fabric and cotton balls.
•  Write a letter to Santa or to someone asking them a question.
•  Make ornaments using colorful paper and ribbons.
•  See ideas or examples on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/december-2016-winter-and-the-spirit-of-giving/

*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!