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Fiction Picture Book
Pages: 24
Themes: sharing, friendship, interfaith
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 15/Sep/2010
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When Charlotte and her family move to France, there is a lot to adjust to. Because she can't speak French, Charlotte is put in the lowest grade, which she doesn't like. And what she dislikes the most is when Colette, a girl in her class, calls her a "foreigner." But the holidays are coming, and Charlotte is fascinated by the preparations being made for Christmas—"Noël" in French. To her disappointment, her mother tells her that this is not for their family, they will have Chanukah instead. But when Charlotte learns that Colette's family will miss Christmas too, not because they are Jewish but because they are poor, she puts aside her hurt feelings and convinces her parents that they should give Christmas to Colette's family, as a gift.

School Library Journal
"[A] quiet and charming slice of life…The attractive, realistic paintings depict a timeless French village…A fine cross-cultural choice."
"Based on a true incident, this historical picture book… capture[s] both the holiday spirit and the feeling of a French village. Good to have on hand at holiday time."
CM Magazine
"[Jennings'] skill in embodying the voice of a young person is evident in her stories, and Charlotte is a fully realized young girl with faults."
Quill & Quire
"Warm-hearted but not overly sentimental...Jennings writes with gentle affection for her displaced heroine and sensitively addresses both the Jewish and Christian celebrations...Jennings' evocative descriptions, together with Gillian Newland's finely rendered illustrations, capture the sights, scents, and tastes of the French countryside...Though Charlotte's story is set in the past, the book's message is timeless: the joy of giving and sharing with family and friends far outshines a thousand shiny baubles."
The Globe and Mail
"Sharon Jennings's recounting of Charlotte's story is perfect in every way, as are Gillian Newlands's powerful paintings, which reflect the depth and weight of this Chanukah/Christmas story."
The Ottawa Citizen
"This book owes much of its appeal to the illustrations by Gillian Newland."
The Montreal Gazette
"A Christmas story with a difference. As its title implies, it involves someone who's Jewish...In the end, Charlotte gets her Christmas experience and readers learn a universal truth: It's better to give than to receive."
The Georgia Straight Magazine
"A poignant story for kids aged five to nine, in which a young Jewish girl who has moved with her parents to a new country answers a classmate's cruelty with an act of simple generosity that transforms the holidays."
The Toronto Star
"This true story comes from the life of a beloved champion of children's literature, Charlotte Teeple of the Canadian Children's Book Centre."
Resource Links
"Simply a lovely story...Sharon Jennings is a superb storyteller, creating an interesting tale depicting the complications of real life. As a reader I felt compelled to read on...The illustrations, created by Gillian Newland, serve well in creating a lovely flow to the timing of the story...The final illustration in the book and the scene of the Christmas market are exquisite. They begged my eyes to linger on these pages...Invites children to explore their own feelings about being different, being new and about welcoming those who have different cultural backgrounds. I highly recommend A Chanuka Noel for purchase."


ForeWord Reviews Recommended Picture Book  | 2010 | Commended
Resource Links "The Year's Best"  | 2010 | Commended
CCBC Best Books  | 2011 | Commended

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