If you are looking for a great idea for a special child on your Christmas list, I have a suggestion. If you are anything like me, you would far rather give a child a book than yet another toy. I want to tell you of a new children's Christmas book, which hit the market about 10 days ago, titled "No Room - A Read-Aloud Story of Christmas". It is published by CCB Publishing of British Columbia, and the author and illustrator are both Maritimers, from Nova Scotia. The author is Peter Riddle, a retired Prof. from Acadia University, and the illustrator is a personal friend of mine, Shelley Hustins. Shelley, a small animal veterinarian, lives on a dairy farm just outside Wolfville with her husband and two children. Drawing is her life-long hobby and over 350 friends look forward to her hand drawn Christmas card each year. The three photos here show what a talented artist Shelley is. Above is the front cover, below are two illustrations from inside... (I do have permission from author and illustrator, by the way, to quote a verse and show these illustrations).
After seeing her collection of Christmas card drawings a few years ago, Peter Riddle approached Shelley and asked her if she would be interested in illustrating a children's book. After some thought, she agreed and it has been three years "in the making", as they say. Since seeing all the original drawings for the book this summer when we visited Shelley and Dana, we have been almost as excited about this whole project as they are!! We ordered 50 books from Shelley, received them this weekend and have only a few left.
The story is told in rhyme, and is appropriate for all ages. The family in the story (based on Shelley's family) discovers the rewards of kindness when a stray cat appears outside their home on a snowy Christmas Eve. The oldest boy wants to bring the cat in, but Father says no. "We haven't got room", Father said, "for another. We already have seven pets, and your brother". Before bedtime, Father reads the Christmas story to the family, telling of Mary and Joseph being turned away from the inn because there was no room. What happens next...well, you'll have to read it to see... With it's beautiful poetry and wonderful illustrations, No Room brings a message of kindness and compassion for readers of all ages. This book is bound to be a Christmas favourite, to be read year after year. I am proud to add it to my collection of children's Christmas books. It is already one of my favourites!
If you live in my local area and would like an autographed copy, let me know (as we'll be getting more in). The cost is $13.95. If you live further afield, you can order from Amazon, or, as we are hoping a number of bookstores will pick it up, you could "help the cause" by asking for it at your favourite local bookshop.....
The best thing you can do for a child is get them hooked on books....