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Libraries: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

This year, foster your family’s holiday spirit with help from the public library. Because the public library is an inclusive space for all members of the community, we invite you to take this time to celebrate and learn about winter holidays around the world. Why celebrate one holiday when you can celebrate many? Learning about different winter season holidays is a simple way to teach children about cultural and religious diversity. By learning about many cultures, children develop respect for others and an expanded worldview.

The following books are some of our favorites that showcase diverse holiday traditions:

Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peas

https://hcplc.bibliocommons.com/item/show/495473142 Shanté visits her grandma for New Year’s. When grandma forgets the black-eyed peas for their meal, Shanté sets out to borrow some from the neighbors and learns their unique family celebrations. For ages 4-8.

 

Oskar and the Eight Blessings

https://hcplc.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1137898142 Oskar is a Jewish refugee seeking sanctuary in 1938. He arrives in New York City on the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve. As Oskar walks around Manhattan, he discovers holiday sites and meets the residents of his new home. For ages 4-8.

 

The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice

https://hcplc.bibliocommons.com/item/show/321968142 This book explains Winter Solstice and how it has been celebrated by different cultures throughout history. Simple science activities are included to measure the sun’s location in the sky on the shortest day of the year. For ages 6-9.

 

The Night of Las Posadas

https://hcplc.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1353511142 Angie is stuck home with the flu and her brothers are caught in a snowstorm. However, with the help of two strangers, the Spanish custom of Las Posadas is a success. For ages 4-8.

 

Letters from Father Christmas

https://hcplc.bibliocommons.com/item/show/12015316981 For over twenty years, the children of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, received letters from Father Christmas himself detailing stories of adventure and mischief in the North Pole. For ages 8-12.

 

A New Year’s Reunion

https://hcplc.bibliocommons.com/item/show/662612142_a_new_years_reunion Little Maomao’s father works far from home and is only home one day a year, for Chinese New Year. It’s tough being away from relatives you love, but the family celebrates Chinese New Year by making sticky rice balls, watching the dragon dance in the street and listening to firecrackers. For ages 3-5.

 

Shubh Diwali

https://hcplc.bibliocommons.com/item/show/1628517142 Diwali originated as a festival that marked the last harvest before winter. In this book a family makes preparations to celebrate Diwali, the beautiful Hindu festival of lights. For ages 4-8.

 

Introducing your family to new holidays can be as simple as a craft, a meal, listening to music or reading a book. Use the Hoopla app to stream holiday music, browse seasonal eBook cookbook recipes with Libby by Overdrive or check out the HCPLC catalog for DIY gift ideas.

 

The Hillsborough County public libraries understand that however your family celebrates this time of year, it can be a hectic time for everyone. We are here to help your holidays run as smoothly as possible. Try the library’s Borrow by Mail service where we deliver books, DVDs and more right to your front door for free with your library card. HCPLC.org/Borrow-by-Mail


All photos provided by Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library. Originally Published in the December 2021 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.

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