A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows different ways families can celebrate the holiday -- getting together online or by phone, dropping off gifts or food baskets without going inside, for example. Models wearing masks to stay safe during the pandemic (though the pandemic is never mentioned). A two-page spread at the back of the book offers a list of new holiday traditions to try, including delivering food to neighbors, "especially elderly and at-risk people who can't leaver their homes."
"Christmas will always mean love, even if love feels a little different this year. Christmas is a time for family, even if family gathers a little differently this year." "Dream up new traditions, and give thanks for each blessing." "Whether we fly, or drive, or walk, or call, our cheer stretches across the miles."
Positive Role Models
Multigenerational families are loving and happy. Neighbors are kind to one another. Kids, adults, Santa, and his elves all wear masks, modeling safe and compassionate behavior during a pandemic. There's diversity among the kids and adults, who have a variety of skin tones and ethnicities. One spread features a kid in a wheelchair.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Always Together at Christmas, by Sara Sargent and illustrated by Mark Chambers, shows how different the holiday may seem this year due to the pandemic (though the pandemic is never mentioned). People on the street and even Santa and his elves are wearing masks, and family members are getting together on screen rather than in person. Even the book's cover looks like a Zoom screenshot. But kids will find it reassuring to to see how families manage to have fun and share the love in this unusual holiday season.
Is It Any Good?
This timely, gentle holiday book acknowledges that Christmas 2020 may look different from family celebrations in previous years, but assures readers they can still have a fun, cozy time. With simple language and appealing cartoon-style art, the warm message comes through that family is important, as is community and caring for your neighbors, and that even if you can only see a loved one on a screen, you can still share the love and holiday cheer. There are also some worthy suggestions for new holiday traditions to keep you in the spirit. This year will definitely be different for many people, and Always Together at Christmas can help kids picture what will be new and what will stay the same.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.