The 12 days of Christmas starts today. I know the song by the same name first played on the radio the day after Halloween. For some cultures, primarily in Europe and Latin America, the first day of Christmas started on December 25 and will end January 5. Here in the US, at least in creole Louisiana, the first day starts today, December 26 and will end January 6.
So what’s up with that song? We know it’s about someone getting lots of gifts, especially birds, from their true love. A wee research led me to a number of guesses about its origin. The earliest written version is from 1780 published as a children’s “memory and forfeits” game much like the game ‘I went to the market and bought’ where players are tasked with remembering and repeating what was said before them. Others hypothesize it’s an English Christmas carol, a French folk song from 1770, and even a ‘code’ persecuted English Catholics used to practice their faith back in the 16th-17th centuries. A century later it was described as a game played at a Twelfth night celebration.
Although no one can say with certainty what the meaning is behind the song or the origin, today it’s rooted in both secular and Christian Christmas traditions. And it’s so much fun to sing! Whether there is a connection or not, there are 12 days from today till January 6th, also known Twelfth Night, Le Petit Noël, Little Christmas, Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day.
Whether the song is enjoyed for a secular or religious reason, we can extend the spirit of the season 12 more days. My plan is continue gift giving, but through acts of kindness. I hope you will join me!
Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers (2015)
Age Range: 3-7 years
When Rachel Rosenstein feels she’s missing out because her family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, she learns others celebrate differently at this time of year too.
A Perfect Picture Book Pair showcases two books with universal themes, but one must include a diverse setting, or life experience, or main character. My goal is to support books in the market that contribute to diversity in children’s literature.
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” I believe reading is too!
Kids love to see their reflections in books. Join me and #ReadYourWorld!
Brief Synopsis: One penguin’s pleasures are another penguin’s problems. The story follows a pessimistic penguin who complains about penguin life. The snow is too cold, the sea is too salty, and waddling makes him look silly. When he meets a wise walrus who helps him look on the bright side of life, the penguin changes his attitude. Or does he? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
Opening page: It’s way too early.
My beak is cold.
What’s with all the squawking you guys?
Why I like this book: It’s hilarious! We’ve all met, um, penguins like this. You may live with one. You may work with one. Maybe you’re a penguin! And Lane’s illustrations capture this little penguins attitude on every page.
Even if you are not a penguin, we’ve all certainly had penguin days, um, or weeks. One thing I’ve learned when that happens is to focus on doing something for someone else. I think giving your time or talent to help another person in is an uplifting experience, whether a planned activity or a random act of kindness.