Award-winning author Charlotte Riggle and illustrator R.J. Hughes have teamed up for another holiday children’s book that is both touching and informative.
The Saint Nicholas Day Snow is a story about family, friendship, and the St. Nicholas Day traditions of two friends – with interesting historical facts of the legendary figure woven in.
Disclosure: We received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes; however, all opinions are our own.
Saint Nicholas Day
Saint Nicholas Day is the feast day of Saint Nicholas – a historical figure who became legendary for his gift-giving, including putting coins into other peoples’ shoes. He is the patron saint of many groups, including children.
St. Nicholas Day is observed on December 6 in Western Christian countries and December 19 in Eastern countries. Children receive gifts – including candy, fruit, or small toys – in their shoes or stockings. Some churches have special services dedicated to this day.
The Saint Nicholas Day Snow is a wonderful children’s picture book to share this holiday season. The characters, parallel narrative, historical facts, and striking design will make this book a favorite for years to come.
Reading a book that revisits familiar characters from another story provides background and a sense of connection. We remembered Catherine, her family, and her best friend Elizabeth from Riggle’s first book, Catherine’s Pascha, where we were introduced to the traditions associated with the Orthodox Easter celebration. We were excited to see we would be learning about another holiday and its traditions with Catherine in The Saint Nicholas Day Snow.
In this book, Catherine and Elizabeth discover that there isn’t just one way to celebrate the holiday and they find a way to merge their traditions.
We also liked seeing the inclusion of a character in a wheelchair. It is so important for ALL kids to see themselves within the pages of a book.
Each spread in the book is beautifully presented. The illustrations for the main story are realistic, crisp and bright.
The pages on the left include chronological pictures of churches dedicated to St. Nicholas around the world (Greece, Iceland, India, Russia and more) and an image of St. Nicholas that reflects one way that country sees him. It was fun to compare the countries and their representations.
The pages on the right include illustration bubbles “telling” a parallel story occurring at the same time.
Readers will enjoy learning about different traditions and stories associated with St. Nicholas while discovering why Catherine’s friend is spending the holiday with her and her family.
Reading Strategy: Making Predictions
The parallel story provides a great opportunity to practice the reading comprehension strategy of making predictions.
Readers use background knowledge, clues from the story, and details from the illustrations to make predictions throughout the story. Using this strategy helps readers stay engaged, make connections to the text, and think ahead.
Print our FREE Making Predictions graphic organizer. Students record the page number, what they think will happen next (predict) and what helped them make that prediction (justify- using an example from the text, background information, etc.). The last column is to confirm (√) the prediction was accurate or to revise (adjust) the prediction based on new information in the story. Discuss what new clues led to the adjustment.
There is a helpful section in the back of the book to answer questions such as, Who was St. Nicholas? Why is he called a saint? Why is St. Nicholas celebrated on December 6? Do Orthodox Christians pray to saints? Why does Santa Claus come on Christmas Eve?
It also identifies some of the other gift-givers around the world (La Befana and St. Lucia in Italy, St. Basil in Greece, Yule Lads in Iceland, the Christmas Gnome in Scandinavia and more), shares Catherine and Elizabeth’s snowball cookie recipe and provides resources to learn more about St. Nicholas. We learned so much about this holiday.
Head to The Saint Nicholas Day Snow website to purchase the book and find additional information, other St. Nicholas stories, links to coloring pages, and reviews.
Related Post: Book Activities with The Saint Nicholas Day Snow