Isn't is amazing how the time just seems to fly? Here we are, already well into November. In fact, today is the 5th, the day in England when people have bonfires, burn a cloth figure supposed to represent Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament, and set off fireworks. From now until the end of the year, there will be other celebrations in other countries. There is Thanksgiving in the United States on 23rd November. Then in much of Europe, there is Sinterklaas in a month's time at the beginning of December. This is a children's festival and in many places, namely the Netherlands, Belgium and parts of Germany and France, Sinterklaas is more important than Christmas. The date of the festival is either December the 5th or 6th depending on where you are and it is celebrated enthusiastically by whole families. Following this, there is the Jewish Festival of Lights from the 13th to the 20th December, and then of course, we have Christmas itself. It's a very busy time of year, and one marked by joy, goodwill and togetherness for everyone concerned (we hope).
At Sunpenny, we'd like to celebrate right along with you all and offer suggestions for reading that you might find fitting on these occasions. So since Guy Fawkes is mainly a children's festival, we'd like to suggest some books for our younger readers that will give them insights on customs in other countries too.
Our first suggestion is The Lost Crown of Appollo by Suzanne Cordatos
Here is a summary of the story from the book's blurb:
Climb aboard for an adventure to the Greek islands of past and present!
You'll meet creatures of land and sea-and if you think pirates are a
thing of the past, you might want to keep an eye on your valuables. Meet
Elias Tantalos, an almost-eleven year old bad luck magnet who escapes
the most dreadful school year of his life by boarding a boat in the
Aegean Sea where there are, happily, more rocks than people. When he
discovers a two-thousand-year-old good luck charm-the gold leaf crown
meant for the sun god Apollo-he is sure the worst is behind him.
Antiquity thieves are rummaging around the ancient Greek ruins, however,
and when they kidnap his sister, Elias knows he holds the perfect bait
to lure the thieves away... but if he gives up Apollo's legendary Crown
of Victory will sixth grade be even tougher than fifth? Can he find the
inner strength to do the right thing?
Lost Crown is a delightful story that will appeal to youngsters because it has everything that keeps them turning the pages. But even more than that, it introduces children to the history and mythology of Greece as well as to what makes the Greek culture so historically important. It's an ideal gift to mark this time of year.
Our second suggestion is Sophie's Quest by Sonja Anderson
Here is the blurb about this charming story:
Sophie Topfeather loves to collect people-things with which to decorate
her life and home. When she finds a golden necklace, she is intrigued by
its shape and shows it to her grandfather, the Great Wise Horned Owl of
the Park. His reaction only stirs her interest even more; he calls it a
holy symbol, and then a ‘t’ for ‘trouble’! All of which sets our young
owl off on a Quest to learn its true meaning. Little does she know that a
day-dreaming, over-protected, adventure-seeking Pirate – er, mouse –
named Timley has leapt into the brim of her hat as Sophie flies off on
her Quest! And suddenly, their adventure takes its own turn as they find
themselves on board a ship bound for the Holy Land. Thorns and
thistles! Has the trouble started already? Can Timley convince Sophie
she should not—I repeat, NOT—eat him?
This book is also for young children and like Lost Crown of Appollo, it introduces children to a variety of cultures through Sophie's adventures in the Middle East. It's an ideal way of encouraging young readers to be curious about the world around them and the different history and cultures that make up the people that populate it.
So why not celebrate this occasion with books as well as bonfires and fireworks? Both of these suggestions are available as paperbacks and Kindle books, so whatever your choice, it's available for you and your families in the medium you prefer. And don't forget, all Sunpenny Kindle books are great value at $2.99