We Celebrate New Year
Joan Weller is head librarian at the West Branch of Ottawa Public
Library, and the children’s literature reviewer for the Ottawa
This appealing series, entitled Holidays and Festivals, includes five titles: We Celebrate Halloween, We Celebrate Christmas, We Celebrate New Year, We Celebrate Easter and We Celebrate Spring. Writer and Editor-in-chief Bobbie Kalman is well known for her successful Early Settler Life Series.
This series is directed at younger readers aged seven to twelve. It provides a good balance of fact and fiction in a clear, readable style. In large format, each volume contains excellent information for projects. Augmenting the non-fiction and enhancing it is a potpourri of fiction; including poems, short stories, jokes, games, songs, and recipes along with related activities. International in scope, each book will satisfy and arouse the curiosity of young readers. Attractive, colorful illustrations on each page add visual appeal to the books, which contain a table of contents and an index.
We Celebrate Halloween gives factual information on this celebration’s origin. Costume and party ideas are appropriately accompanied by seamy poems, stories, and superstitions. International approaches to this popular celebration come from Mexico, Hong Kong, and Japan.
We Celebrate Christmas offers background on information on religious and secular customs. An excellent section gives background on international customs from around the world, which is always needed by children. Included along with this information are poems, stories, and songs.
We Celebrate New Year also provides a balance of fact and fiction. Customs from such countries as Scotland and India are clearly presented. Rosh Hashanah is also well covered. The Chinese New Year is highlighted, and its symbols and accompanying years are listed.
We Celebrate Easter looks at both secular and religious customs. Brief, lively articles such as “Egg-citing Trivia about Eggs,” craft ideas, and yummy recipes will appeal to young readers.
International festivals and activities are featured in We Celebrate Spring. A simple version of the Demeter and Persephone myth is told. Descriptions follow of the Japanese cherry blossom festival along with St. Patrick’s Day and April Fool’s Day. Again, games, party ideas, poems and a short story add to the book’s entertaining quality.
This new series, with its good balance of fact and fiction, its international scope, clear style, colored illustrations, and attractive format fills a gap in many library collections.