I'd forgotten about this book, then I found it in my collection and read it to the kids today. Patricia Polacco is one of my favorite authors because of the way she brings emotion into her stories. She uses rich vocabulary and real characters.
The Trees of the Dancing Goats is about a Jewish family living in a rural area of Michigan preparing for Hanukkah, who find out their beloved neighbors have come down with scarlet fever and are unable to prepare for Christmas. It's a delightful example of a big Act of Kindness and sacrifice for friendship. It also shares a taste for the traditions of Hanukkah, combined with Christmas family traditions as seen by those who don't celebrate Christmas.
Christmas Tapestry is another example of a story that brings out strong emotions and shares real family traditions, a valuable message, and true meaning of the holidays.
Welcome Comfort is another sweet book with a Christmas theme. It features a young boy who doesn't quite "fit in", who finds a way to fit in, with a special friendship, and a delightful surprise at the end. Students have loved this story every year, and I enjoy reading it as much as they enjoy listening.
For the Love of Autumn has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, but it's my favorite Patricia Polacco book, so I had to mention it. As all her books, it has warmth, rich vocabulary, and real characters. (The main character is a teacher, so I couldn't help but love it!) Plus, who couldn't resist the sweet kitten, Autumn?