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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Told. Historically Accurate. Gorgeously Illustrated.
"Nicholas decided that God liked surprises. When Jesus grew up, he never stopped surprising people. Jesus even said, 'Do good deeds in secret.'" -- From The Secret of St. Nicholas

I just finished reading this wonderful children's book last night and, I have to tell you, it is one of the BEST (perhaps THE best) Christmas books for children I have ever read (and...
Published on August 31, 2010 by Janet Boyer

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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Secret of St. Nicholas
This book was horrible. The story does not match the many historical books I have read about St. Nicholas. I wanted a children's version of the story that I could read to my Sunday School class but the theme of St. Nicholas's giving was, "Keep giving, even when your gifts are abused, not respected and misused." In the story, Nicholas felt sorry for the young girls...
Published on January 8, 2011 by JenJen


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Told. Historically Accurate. Gorgeously Illustrated., August 31, 2010
This review is from: The Secret of St. Nicholas (Hardcover)
"Nicholas decided that God liked surprises. When Jesus grew up, he never stopped surprising people. Jesus even said, 'Do good deeds in secret.'" -- From The Secret of St. Nicholas

I just finished reading this wonderful children's book last night and, I have to tell you, it is one of the BEST (perhaps THE best) Christmas books for children I have ever read (and I read a lot!)

I was so delighted with the phrasing in this book, as well as the gentle unfolding of the true story of St. Nicholas. In fact, by the end of the book, I had tears in my eyes.

A first-class storyteller, author Ellen Nibali weaves a tender tale about Nicholas's life--from his loving parents to his orphanhood, the spiritual wisdom he lived by to his generosity towards three daughters destined to be sold as slaves by their father. Then, she ties in how Nicholas and his thrown three bags of gold (that ended up in drying stockings near a window!) ended up being the inspiration for one of the most beloved Christmas traditions we now enjoy.

When I read The Secret of St. Nicholas, I was reminded of the Veggie Tales Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving DVD that came out last year.

But you don't have to be a Christian to love this book! Nibali isn't preachy, but accurately portrays the historical actions of Nicholas--who went on to become St. Nicholas--with love and respect. Who could object to the wonderful traits of giving and selflessness?

If you love all things Christmas (as I do), you and your child will treasure The Secret of St. Nicholas by Ellen Nibali (lovely illustrations by Lon Eric Craven). I can't wait to share this with my own son, who will no doubt be inspired by the example of young Nicholas.

-- Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teaches children about the historical beginnings of today's Santa Claus in a way that will enchant as well as educate, October 20, 2009
"The Secret of St. Nicholas" is a children's biography of the famous St. Nicholas, 4th century Christian adventurer and canonized saint, once bishop of Myra (now part of Turkey). The intriguing tale of the Nicholas' daring and anonymous effort to rescue three young women from being sold into slavery by their greedy, wastrel father is carefully retold, based on reliable 10th century resources. The character of Nicholas emerges strong and fine, contrasting against his quiet fisherman beginnings of occupation. Full color illustrations help children to envision the long-ago life and hardships that Nicholas knew and endured. "The Secret of St. Nicholas" will teach children ages 7 and up about the historical beginnings of today's Santa Claus in a way that will enchant as well as educate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Secret of St. Nicholas, June 19, 2009
The secret of St. Nicholas is a true heroic tale for Christmas. A classic story that not only gives you a better understanding of Santa Claus and St. Nicholas, but it also demonstrates what it has to do with Jesus and how the whole Christmas tradition evolved.

The story is captivating and the detailed artwork is remarkable! A must read for all ages.

The tale starts out with a young boy named Nicholas who's fascinated by Christmas. His parents share a story of how the night of wonder began.

As brave little Nicholas explores his own way into the world, he is reminded of Jesus' words, "Do good deeds in secret." What he decides to do will fill your heart with compassion and love. A truly beautiful story-- a perfect book to share with the ones you love.

Can Nicholas save three girls who are about to be sold into slavery?

A classic for future generations.

Author, Ellen Nibali works as a horticultural consultant for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service. She loves her job educating and writing about gardening and protecting our environment, especially from non-native invasive plants. Each week her Gardening Q & A column appears in the Sun.

She and her husband Ken have three grandchildren and Maxi, a golden retriever-yellow Labrador retriever who, coincidentally, looks just like the dog in The Secret of St. Nicholas!

Illustrator, Lon Eric Craven lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with his wife and three children. He has illustrated and designed for newspapers, children's books, English language curriculum, story books, quilt books, calendars and a Scholastic magazine. He has a BFA in illustration from the University of Kansas and a Master's degree in education from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He currently divides his time between illustrating, designing and teaching.

Reviewed by Martha Ramirez
Bookpleasures
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice story, December 30, 2009
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I bought this book because I couldn't find it yet in the libraries and wanted something to introduce St Nick to my 3 year old for St Nick's day (instead of Santa for Christmas). This book was a good choice. Simple story, nice illustrations. My son enjoys hearing it read again and again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful New Holiday Tradition For Our Family!, December 19, 2010
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This review is from: The Secret of St. Nicholas (Hardcover)
When I read Ellen Nibali's The Secret of St. Nicholas, I immediately felt that I had found a new tradition for us! This new book is based on a story of St. Nicholas's life that many scholars believe to be true. I was delighted to find a story that imparts the joy of the Christmas Story of Christ's birth, while also sharing some of the fun and tradition of St. Nicholas and his doing of good deeds "in secret."

The watercolor illustrations are lovely and the hardback book is perfect for a special holiday gift book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars On heavy rotation in our house, January 12, 2014
This review is from: The Secret of St. Nicholas (Hardcover)
We were given this book for Christmas and my 6 year old is fascinated by it. He's been asking for it every night for a week now. He hasn't liked a book this much since "I am Optimus Prime" (and I'd much rather read to him about saints than Transformers). I think he especially likes seeing a child as the focus, rather than an adult. The illustrations are gorgeous, too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, January 26, 2015
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This review is from: The Secret of St. Nicholas (Hardcover)
INformation about St Nicholas was noted and I remembered the stories of the connection with Santa Claus.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A warm read for any age or faith., May 28, 2009
By 
I found this book in the early Fall last year. I have a collection of Christmas books and knew immediately I had to have it. The first thing to catch my eye was the fabulous illustrations, they are so artful.

I then read the story and could just feel myself relax as if I were in the company of a trusted friend. The story teaches what Jesus said about doing "good deeds". We all need to remember the true reason for acts of kindness.

Although Jesus is mentioned, I would not limit recommending this book to Christians only. Nearly all faiths recognize Jesus the man and Great Teacher. The lesson is well shown in a lovely story. Ms. Nibali has a beautiful understanding of the written word.

I ended up purchasing 6 copies and found them the perfect baby gift, Christmas gift...thank you gift etc...

A new family favorite.
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Secret of St. Nicholas, January 8, 2011
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This review is from: The Secret of St. Nicholas (Hardcover)
This book was horrible. The story does not match the many historical books I have read about St. Nicholas. I wanted a children's version of the story that I could read to my Sunday School class but the theme of St. Nicholas's giving was, "Keep giving, even when your gifts are abused, not respected and misused." In the story, Nicholas felt sorry for the young girls being sold into slavery. 3 times Nicholas gave a bag of gold to the father who partied with it and put his daughters back in the same position of being sold into slavery again.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Inappropriate for young children, December 22, 2013
By 
Mom in VA (Va Beach, VA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Secret of St. Nicholas (Hardcover)
I have to wonder if some of the glowing reviews for this book were solicited by the author or publisher. I rarely review books on Amazon, but I immediately got on my computer after reading this book tonight. As a mother of two young children, as well as a certified K-12 English/language arts teacher, I would never expose a child younger than about 10 years old to this book. The story and many of the themes are entirely too heavy and borderline inappropriate for a child any younger. By the fourth page, we're told both of Nicholas' parents have died, which frankly I don't think many school age children are prepared to see in a picture book. The remainder of the story relies heavily upon the fear of three young girls being sold into slavery because of the poor decisions of their father. While the main theme of the story is giving without want for thanks or recognition, the message is lost in my opinion when the child hearing the story is weighed down with such heavy topics beyond their comprehension. A signed copy of this book was given to my son as a gift from his grandparents, but unfortunately, I'm going to be placing it in the recycle bin. I don't even want to donate it because I don't want another young child exposed to much of what this book contains. This is honestly the worst children's book we've ever had in our home, and we have literally hundreds.
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The Secret of St. Nicholas
The Secret of St. Nicholas by Ellen Nibali (Hardcover - July 1, 2010)
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