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Santa's Kwanzaa Hardcover – September 1, 2004


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Hardcover, September 1, 2004
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Jump At The Sun (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078685166X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786851669
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 11.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,755,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1–After an exhausted Santa (who is black) completes his last deliveries and returns home, he is greeted by his wife and elves. He immediately dons his kente and celebrates Kwanzaa with his household–although wouldn't the day that Santa arrives home from his gift-giving be December 25 and not 26? The illustrations of this generously sized book are filled with warm Kwanzaa colors and wide-grinned elves. Unfortunately, the rhymed text, which is similar in rhythm to Clement C. Moore's "'Twas the Night before Christmas," is clunky, with awkward word choices and non-scanning lines. The book assumes some knowledge of Kwanzaa, as its symbols and meaning are barely touched upon. The cheerful, energetic art makes this an adequate choice where picture books on this holiday are in high demand.–E. M.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. This seasonal tale by a first-time children' author riffs on Clement Clark Moore's "The Night Before Christmas." It picks up on December twenty-sixth, when the seven-day African American holiday of Kwanzaa begins. Having successfully completed another Christmas run, "Santa Kwaz," an African American, returns to the North Pole, where he's greeted by his family, each child named for one of the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa: Nia (pride), Kuumba (creativity), Kujichagulia (outspokenness), Imani (faith/vision), Umoja (community), Ujamma (cooperation and trade) and Ujima (problem solving). Each child gives Santa a gift appropriate to the holiday; then the family makes one final trip to share their Kwanzaa spirit with the rest of the world. Francis' rich artwork puts a fine point on this cultural tale, right down to the kente-cloth-patterned endpapers. Though the Seven Principles are outlined in child-friendly terms on the last page, the book presumes a familiarity with the Kwanzaa celebration, so audiences looking for an introduction to the holiday might want something a little more explanatory. Terry Glover
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Wood on December 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book that brings people from different traditions together. It is high time that such a concept was written and illustrated in an entertaining way. Christmas after all is a amalgamation of different holidays that predated the Christians who co-opted the more ancient indigenous religions and customs of Europe. No one knows the real birthday of Jesus, it has been traditionally observed on December 25th. The date could have been chosen to incorporate the traditional solstice celebrations of the people who were conquered. It may have been chosen so they would not have to give up their christmas trees and belief in a crazy laplander tale of flying raindeer and Santa, a story that has a historical basis in the people who used to entertain and give out gifts from house to house in return for food and warm living rooms in the Scandanavian winters. This new twist in the winter holiday story incorporates a whole group of people who may have felt left out in years past. Culture is continuously changing.

The two editorial reviews that are already posted have missed that point. Instead they focus on minor points that are not valid or accurate. One says that he should have returned home on December 25, not the 26th. It doesn't take that much understanding or imagination to point out that he gets home at 11:59 pm, and then soon after they celebrate Kwanzaa. Another point is that the book assumes that the reader have some knowledge of Kwanzaa. Well, what is wrong with that? Is there only one book on Kwanzaa? Many people do have prior knowledge of Kwanzaa, and people who write for library journals should too. After all there are many books and movies that assume some knowledge of Christmas.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on January 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
SANTA'S KWANZAA opens as an African-American Santa returns to the North Pole tired from the hard work of delivering Christmas presents. When he arrives, he is greeted by his wife, the elves, and the beginning of their Kwanzaa celebration. Each of the elves, named for the various principles of Kwanzaa, present Santa with their special gifts and share special meals as the family celebrates their rich heritage. At the end of the story, Santa, his wife and all the elves pile into the sleigh to share a special message with the world.

Some books are meant to teach while others are meant to simply be fun to read. SANTA'S KWANZAA will introduce readers to the principles of Kwanzaa, through the names of the elves, but beyond that it is simply a fun read. The story rhymes, with a meter similar to that of the classic Christmas story, "`Twas the Night Before Christmas," as a result. Unfortunately, there were times when the word choice seemed to be dictated by the need to rhyme versus the relevance to the story itself and this interrupted the overall flow of the story.

What I enjoyed most about the book was its illustrations, which were bright, vibrant and imaginative. Santa had dreads, once he removed his trademark cap, and the elves appeared so full of life I almost expected them to jump off the page. Pick this book up for a fun holiday read.

Reviewed by Stacey Seay

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am a children's librarian who reviews children's books hither and thither. Thither and yon. Naturally, this job is awfully enjoyable, but it's also fraught with peril. Some of the peril is connected to the fact that as a WASP I view the books I review from a certain perspective. I sometimes have difficulty seeing things from other points of view. I'm mentioning this, you see, because not so long ago I heard of a challenge to Garein Eileen Thomas's charming, "Santa's Kwanzaa". It seems that someone in the world felt that this book was offensive. When I heard this, I was puzzled. "Santa's Kwanzaa"? Really? Really really? So I checked it out of my library branch, paged through it, showed it to countless librarians like myself, and we all came to the same conclusion. Say what you want about this book. Say it's a teensy bit cheesy or maybe it's rhymes don't always work out perfectly. But do not say that the book is offensive. It's a lovely little combination of two distinct holidays into a single amusing text that all sorts of kids can enjoy. But then, that's just my angle on it.

Christmas Eve is almost over and Santa's reaching the end of the night. He's just left the last house, chomped on the last cookie, and is returning back home to the North Pole at long last. On entering his house, however, something is up. He walks into his living room and SURPRISE!! It's his wife and his elves holding out his kente with a big banner reading, "Welcome Home, Santa Kwaz!". Santa relaxes after all his work and the elves give him some presents for Kwanzaa.
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