GREENVILLE — Workers at the Greenville Public Library took the time to share their favorite Christmas books with The Daily Advocate, as well as some information about the most popular holiday-themed books currently being checked out by library patrons.
Julie Kennett, Children’s Librarian, chose “Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear” by Don and Audrey Wood as her favorite Christmas book for children.
“It’s a sequel to a book about a mouse who was afraid of a bear,” Kennett said. “Now it’s Christmas and he sees the bear isn’t getting any gifts, so he decides to share his gifts with the bear. It’s a really sweet story with beautiful illustrations, and it’s fun to read aloud to kids as well.”
Kennett also picked “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham as her favorite Christmas book for adults. A departure from Grisham’s typical legal thrillers, the humorous novel inspired the recent film “Christmas with the Kranks.”
“It’s just a light read, and it kind of gets you in the spirit,” Kennett said of Grisham’s book. “With all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, it’s nice to think about what might happen if you didn’t do all those things.”
Regarding which books are most commonly checked out during the holiday season, Kennett said the library typically gets a lot of requests for the usual suspects we all read when we were kids.
“The classics are always popular: Peanuts, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and so on,” Kennett said. “We try to keep multiple copies of those on hand, but over the years it tends to dwindle down to one.”
Elois Hatfield, a worker at the library’s Circulation Desk, chose “A Small Miracle” by Peter Collington. Illustrated by Collington and containing no dialogue or text narration whatsoever, the book’s images tell the story of a poor woman who walks to town through the snow so she can play her accordion to try and make money, but is eventually forced to sell the instrument. She then witnesses a robber stealing money from a church donation box, trashing a nativity scene set up nearby in the process. The woman chases the robber away, puts the money back in the donation box, and sets the nativity figures upright again, only to pass out from the cold while walking home afterwards. The rest of the book tells the story of a miracle that winds up saving the old woman’s life.
“Every time I look I see something new,” Hatfield said. “I like this book so much I’ve bought four or five copies to give to grandkids. It’s about giving, and how if you give it will be given back to you.”
Lauren Cline, another Circulation Desk worker, picked “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg. The inspiration for the popular animated film starring Tom Hanks, the book tells the story of a child who no longer believes in Christmas, but gradually changes his mind after boarding a magical train bound for the North Pole.
“Through it all the kid is still not believing, saying it’s not real, it’s a dream, and so on,” Cline said. “Then he gets a bell that you can only hear if you believe in Christmas. As they get older, the other kids in his family stop believing and can’t hear the bell anymore, but the boy always can.”
Kim Willey, a Reference Assistant working at the library’s second floor information desk, chose “The Lopsided Christmas Cake” by Wanda and Jean Brunstetter.
“I like Amish books, and it’s just kind of funny,” Willey said. “Kind of a light read, with a sprinkle of romance in there.”
Deb Cameron, Reference and Programming Supervisor at the library, picked a true classic, Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
“I used to teach Dickens at the university years ago,” Cameron said. “I love Dickens, and I read “A Christmas Carol” every year.
Finally, Jonelle Haupt, another Reference Assistant, also chose “The Hungry, Hungry Bear,” echoing Hatfield’s comments about the importance of giving to the holiday, rather than receiving.
“I love this book because it’s all about giving instead of focusing on getting,” Haupt said.
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