Friday, November 25, 2016

Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story

The last thing I did before leaving school for Thanksgiving break was put away my November themed books and displayed my December gems.  While there are so many good ones, if I had to pick my favorite, it would, hands down, be Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4. Full-page watercolor paintings decorate this warm, sentimental story loosely based on actual events. Rylant traces the origins of an Appalachian "Christmas Train" that travels through the mountains each year on December 23 to a rich man who wished to repay a debt of kindness he had received many years before. He faithfully returns and tosses silver packages from the caboose to the coal-town children who wait by the tracks. One such child is Frankie, who longs for a doctor's kit every year; instead he gets much-needed socks or mittens along with small toys. As an adult, he moves back to the town to live and work, having fulfilled his dream of becoming a doctor. With her clear, balanced, and well-paced storyteller's voice, the author builds the anticipation and excitement that the children and especially Frankie feel at the train's annual arrival. Although the heroic profile of this child-turned-man makes him more of a symbol than a real person, his story is well told. The illustrations provide panoramic views of the Appalachian countryside, with deep nighttime blues and wintry colors, strengthening the sense of place. A well-rendered reflection on the importance of giving and sharing.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The real Santa Train

At my old school, we used to collect toys for the very same train that would travel through the Appalachian Mountains.  We would have to hire a truck to fit in all the toys the kids purchased.  To kick off the service project, we read this lovely book.  We were lucky to have the illustrator, Chris Sonepiet, visit once!  I still can't get through the book without tearing up and it's the first book I read to my class each year.    

The book is PERFECT on its own.  You don't need to do anything else but read it and the great discussions will flow.  I extend a tiny bit with a few prompts, a retell (which they love to do!) and the make words using the letters in Doctor Kit.  Totally not necessary but just a small way I extend this book.

Book It: Retell It, Write It, Make It! (Silver Packages:An

Hope you have the book!  If not, share the video via the link above.  Let me know if you love the story as much as I do!

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