It’s the most wonderful time of year again. As your kids become increasingly immersed in paper crafts and gift lists, here are two new books to help them also think about the blessing of family.
A new favorite in our house, “Our Italian Christmas Eve” by Danielle Sedita and Francesco Sedita is a charming tour through a resplendent Christmas Eve dinner with many intriguing asides about Italian Catholic culture. The two main characters step into Aunt Babe’s house (with presents for all and a big pot for pasta) and immediately join the dinner preparations. They even take it upon themselves to solve the problem of dessert. Starting with a helpful (if somewhat superfluous) family tree page and ending with baking instructions for ‘Mom’s Cheesecake’ the book exudes the wonderous delight of slipping into someone else’s vibrant family evening. Coupled with Luciano Lozano’s intricate illustrations – the tablecloths! Aunt Babe’s dress! The sweater patterns! – this book may convince you to start saying “Into the oven you go, and God bless you” for every dessert you make.
With great sensitivity and heart, “Doki the Immigrant Dog,” written and illustrated by Monica Tornoe, follows a Venezuelan girl, her dog and her family as they journey through Mexico and seek asylum at the US border. It is a subject matter that Tornoe thoughtfully handles as she distills the experience of immigration into consumable language for children. The illustrations neither trivialize nor sensationalize the story. Doki, the dog, is briefly separated from the family in compliance with immigration rules, but while receiving help from a church, the family and dog are reunited with the approval of an immigration officer. The book will be a beautiful way to enter into conversation with children about the immigrant families in our Austin community, and how they can be welcomed.
We hope your holiday season is full of family and good community! Let us know what your children think of the books. Drop us a line on Instagram @atx_family.
Dorothy Bennett is a writer and artist in Austin, TX where she runs a creative agency with her husband.