Source: purchased; Kindle for PC since I don't have a Kindle
When a classmate physically and mentally bullies Remy, the third-grader withdraws from friends and imagines the worst about his parents. Staring at the Christmas tree in the classroom enables the sharecropper's son to escape his poverty-stricken life and dream about opening a present on Christmas morning and having turkey for Christmas dinner, neither of which has ever occurred.
Friends blame the changes in Remy's behavior on Leonard's bullying and encourage Remy to talk to his parents, his teacher or his priest. Remy refuses, often with open hostility. As Christmas Day approaches, Remy's struggle to understand why he has so little and others have so much deepens. He concludes that Jesus is punishing him for hating Leonard and his bullying.
A bayou-laced, South Louisiana community comes together in 1952 to stop Leonard's bullying in a compassionate manner and open Remy's heart to the meaning of Christmas through love and forgiveness. (Amazon.com)
I am drawn to books that are set in the South. The characters are often down-to-earth and the stories are full of heart. This book definitely had those qualities. The young characters stole my heart. They embodied characteristics of coming out of innocence and into the early age of accountability. What do I mean? Well, these third-fourth graders are at an age where they know what is right and wrong so they're no longer innocent in that sense. At this point they can be accountable for their actions yet too young to truly understand the consequences of their actions. From Remy's story, we get a glimpse of the effects of making right or wrong choices. Including the response of the adults. I applaud the author's sensitivity and insights to the welfare of children. Ms Howard took great care to present a plausible situation and then a solution to the problem of bullying that is applicable today as it was in 1952.
This novella is a treasure. I felt in the moment of the read that I was back in 1952 with Remy and his friends in that lovely classroom. Feeling the despair caused by poverty, hopes for a better tomorrow, and ultimately the joy that the spirit of Christmas can bring. It was a wonderful narrative that I truly enjoyed. Thank you Kittie!
Side note: I've been a follower of Kittie's blog for quite awhile and enjoy her wonderful free-standing stories and I think you will too so stop by and visit her some time ...oh, and purchase this book! :)
"I blog stories gained through life's experiences, some good, some not so good, but thankful for both and my life's rich tapestry. I blog for the sheer joy of writing, the pleasure at hearing the keyboard's tap, tap, tap as it slices through the years, but well aware that the past is prologue. I primarily blog about growing up on a farm in South Louisiana, stories anchored in a family that first came to Louisiana in 1679. All of my stories are free-standing. You can jump in any time!"
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