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Russellville Reads: Try out our holiday faves

This year the library is feeling very festive! The Garden Club did a wonderful job making sure the library looks beautiful and ignites the Christmas spirit.

We’d like to spread our holiday cheer and offer you some of our favorite Christmas stories available for checkout at the Russellville Public Library. When you’re snowed in this Christmas – whether literally or figuratively – make sure you have one of these wonderful books to go with that hot cocoa.

“A Christmas Carol”

“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”

“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

Charles Dickens wrote “A Christmas Carol” in 1843. Short on time and obligated to produce a piece for his editor, Dickens wrote the story using many details from his own life. In the story, he tells the tale of an old, bitter man named Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who take him on a journey through Christmases past, present and future.

“A Gift of the Magi”

“The magi, as you know, were wise men  –  wonderfully wise men  –  who brought gifts to the newborn Christ-child. They were the first to give Christmas gifts. Being wise, their gifts were doubtless wise ones. And here I have told you the story of two children who were not wise. Each sold the most valuable thing he owned in order to buy a gift for the other. But let me speak a last word to the wise of these days: Of all who give gifts, these two were the most wise. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the most wise. Everywhere they are the wise ones. They are the magi.”

“A Gift of the Magi” is a beautiful short story by O. Henry about the personal sacrifices we are willing to make for the ones we love.

“The Elves and the Shoemaker”

“As soon as it was midnight, there came in two little naked dwarfs; and they sat themselves upon the shoemaker’s bench, took up all the work that was cut out, and began to ply with their little fingers, stitching and rapping and tapping away at such a rate, that the shoemaker was all wonder, and could not take his eyes off them. And on they went, till the job was quite done, and the shoes stood ready for use upon the table.”

“The Elves and the Shoemaker” is a classic fairy tale by the Grimm brothers. One morning, a shoemaker comes into his shop to find a beautiful pair of shoes has been made for him to sell. Astonished, he determines to find out whom he should thank for the service.

“The Steadfast Tin Soldier”

“There were once five-and-twenty tin soldiers. They were all brothers, born of the same old tin spoon. They shouldered their muskets and looked straight ahead of them, splendid in their uniforms, all red and blue…. All the soldiers looked exactly alike except one. He looked a little different, as he had been cast last of all. The tin was short, so he had only one leg. But there he stood, as steady on one leg as any of the other soldiers on their two. But just you see, he’ll be the remarkable one.”

In “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” Hans Christian Andersen tells the tale of a tin soldier’s many adventures.

“A Visit from St. Nicholas”

“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.”

Although commonly referred to as “Twas The Night Before Christmas,” this children’s Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore is actually titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Like many of you, I’m sure, reading this on Christmas Eve is a family tradition.

“The Fir Tree”

“‘Rejoice in thy youth,’ said the sunbeam; ‘rejoice in thy fresh growth and in the young life that is in thee.’”

“The Fir Tree” is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It tells the story of a young tree that wants nothing more than to grow up. In focusing so much on the future, the tree forgets to truly appreciate the present.

“Christmas Trees”

“He proved to be the city come again

To look for something it had left behind

And could not do without and keep its Christmas.

He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;

My woods — the young fir balsams like a place

Where houses all are churches and have spires.

I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.

I doubt if I was tempted for a moment

To sell them off their feet to go in cars

And leave the slope behind the house all bare,

Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.”

“Christmas Trees” is a poem by Robert Frost that “encapsulates the wisdom of a Vermont farmer and the beauty of his country.”

“The Little Match Girl”

“The matches glowed with a light that was brighter than the noon-day, and her grandmother had never appeared so large or so beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and they both flew upwards in brightness and joy far above the earth, where there was neither cold nor hunger nor pain, for they were with God.”

In “The Little Match Girl,” a young girl spends her New Year’s Eve on the streets trying to sell matches. She is poorly dressed for the cold, and no one is interested in the matches, but she’s afraid to return home having not sold anything. She seeks shelter in an alley, where she imagines herself in Heaven with her grandmother.

“Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

had a very shiny nose

and if you ever saw him

you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer

used to laugh and call him names.

They never let poor Rudolph

join in any reindeer games.”

Robert L. May wrote Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer at the request of the department store company Montgomery Ward. The story was given out for free to more than 2 million children who visited the stores during Christmastime of 1939. Robert’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, saw the popularity of the story and wrote the song we all know and love. From there, the story took off, and now we can’t imagine Christmas without Rudolph.

“How The Grinch Stole Christmas!”

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

“How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” is a children’s story that, even as adults, we enjoy reading every year. Dr. Seuss is great at sneaking deep life lessons into his stories, and in this tale, he demonstrates that Christmas is a spiritual experience, not a material one.

“The Polar Express”

“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”

In the middle of the night, a train pulling up outside his house wakes a young boy. The train is full of children, and it takes them to the North Pole, where he gets to meet Santa Claus. This book by Chris Van Allsburg was turned into film we also recommend checking out.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”

“The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain and set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s old broken-down toolhouse.”

This is a hilarious Christmas story by Barbara Robinson about how the Herdman children learn the Christmas story in their own way. If you are looking for some laughs, definitely give this one a read.

“Amazing Peace”

“We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Peace.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.
It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.”
In this deeply inspiring poem, Maya Angelou calls on us to embrace one another despite differing beliefs, seek peace, and enjoy life. The library is happy to take this lesson to heart and would like to wish each and every one of you a wonderful, peace-filled holiday season.
The library is located at 110 E. Lawrence St., in downtown Russellville. For more information on the library collection and programs, call 256-332-1535, visit www.russellvillepubliclibrary.com and follow the library on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.


Russellville Reads is written by Ashley Cummins.

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