Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Christmas Wish

Evert, Lori (Author)
Breiehagen, Per (Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2013. 48 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9780449816813 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

One year, as Christmas draws near, Anja decides to go find Santa Claus. Before she straps on her skis, however, she helps an elderly neighbour and delivers gifts to her friends and family. Anja is similarly sweet to the animals that help her along her journey, reading a book to some polar bears or feeding a tired reindeer an apple. When she finally reaches her destination, Santa is congratulatory: Anja is the first child to have come this far. “You bring kindness and joy to those around you all year long,” he compliments her and asks her to help drive his sleigh.

The short texts and simple language tell of Anja’s adventures; the animals she encounters are described in faithful and simple terms. Setting descriptions are especially evocative—Anja’s country is described as being “so far north that the mothers never pack away the wool hats or mittens.”

The accompanying photographs are cozy, all snow and wool, depicting the little blond Anja hauling a fir tree and considering a cardinal perched on her ski pole, or astride a white horse under the heaving green of the northern lights. The photographic juxtapositions are impressively realistic, and the large two-page spreads appear to have been taken from a movie.

After a magical Christmas night, Anja wakes up in her own bed, wondering whether it was all a dream. Young and enchanted readers may wonder as well.

  •  

    What are important attributes for being one of Santa’s elves? Make a list of traits and give examples of how they might be expressed. For example, a hard-working elf could build 10 toys in a day.

  •  

    As you read, find examples of the attributes that make Anja a good elf.

  •  

    With a partner, make a tableau depicting one of the scenes from the book. Bring it to life by sharing dialogue between Anja and the animal.

  •  

    Use a large piece of paper to make a map showing Anja’s journey. Use pictures and words to label the events in her adventure.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk. Compare and contrast this book with other Christmas books you know.

  •  

    Research how Christmas is celebrated in Norway. Compare and contrast with a Canadian Christmas. Show your findings in a graphic organizer.

  •  

    Discuss the story setting. Start an ongoing class word list of snow- and ice-related words. Add to the list as you learn new vocabulary.

  •  

    Anja wants to be one of Santa’s elves. Write a job description for an elf. Can you find any evidence in the story that Anja fits the job description? Use a graphic organizer to support your opinion.

  •  

    Take photos after a fresh snowfall. Look out for interesting points of view. Add characters to your photos in contrasting colours. Use captions to write a short story in the style of the book.

  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Visual Arts