Thanks again, for the cool meme, Styling Librarian.
This morning I woke up to a winter wonderland!
It put me in mind of Christmas, which put me in mind of one of my favorite picture books of all time, Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant.
This beautiful story is about Frankie who lives in a small town in the Appalachian region. Each year he waits for the Christmas Train to come and bring gifts to all the children. A rich man, who was in an accident and then cared for by residents of the community, throws silver packages from the back of the train. Year after year, Frankie doesn’t get the doctor kit he hopes for most, but he always gets something to play with and, more importantly, something he needs: warm socks, mittens, and the like. Frankie grows up and moves away to the big city, but his memory of the rich man’s generosity and repayment of a debt stays with him. He decides to move back to his home town, where the train still visits every year. On the last page grown-up Frank helps a little girl who has fallen when running to the train, and it is revealed that he did, indeed, become a doctor.
I have read this book to myself, to my children, and to my students and I absolutely cannot do it without tearing up at the end. In fact, as I write this I am sitting on my couch weeping. The story unwraps like a present itself, with its lyrical language and perfect pace. There is so much kindness in this tale: the townspeople’s, the rich man’s, and ultimately, Frankie’s. It is the most important book I read each holiday season, as it gives me inspiration to focus on what really matters during a time when it is easy to get caught up in the materialism of it all.
At some point this week, I plan to share Silver Packages with all my reading group students–and anyone else I can nab and make listen 🙂 Hopefully, many of them will be as touched and inspired by it as I am.