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Last updated Monday, July 23, 2007

Author: Eve Bunting
Illustrator: David Diaz
Date of Publication: 2000
ISBN: 0152014349
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2004

Synopsis: Simon and his mom don't have much--the cardboard house they built for themselves, a tiny Christmas tree, and a picture of an angel pinned to one wall. On Christmas Eve they take in a frail stranger who needs a place to keep warm, and the next morning Simon wakes early to find that the woman has vanished. Instead, he sees December, the angel from the picture, with her wings fanned out over their cardboard house. Could she be real?

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What does Christmastime mean to you? How do you decorate your homes? How do you celebrate the holidays?
•  Do you like your home? What do you like/ dislike? Are there different types of homes?
•  What are angels?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How did the characters in the story feel about their home?
•  What is the spirit of christmas? What does that mean? Discuss the concept of giving without expecting something back.
•  What is your most prized possession? How would you feel if you lost it? What would cause you to give it away?

Craft ideas:
•  Make an angel collage with different pieces of paper (bring ahead option: bring old magazines to cut out). Turn into an ornament or a tree topper.
•  Make holiday themed thank you cards to give to people who give them gifts.

Special activities:
•  Sing carols.

*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!