Santa, Are You for Real?

Common Sense Media says

For those ready to learn the truth about Santa.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Your parents have your best interests at heart. Gift-giving at Christmas is an expression of love, in the tradition of St. Nicholas and Jesus. Holiday traditions have great meaning for families and cultures.

Positive role models

The dad gently tells his son Todd the truth and helps ease his concerns that his parents have lied to him about Santa Claus. St. Nicholas was kind and set an example for future generations. He also inspired the Christmas tradition of gift-giving. 

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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Santa, Are You for Real? explains that the Santa Claus myth is just that and goes on to discuss the real St. Nicholas and the holiday traditions, such as gift-giving, inspired by him. Author Harold Myra was CEO of Christianity Today International for 32 years, and his Christian perspective informs the storytelling. 

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What's the story?

Does Santa exist? And, if he doesn't, can Todd ever again have faith in the adults who told him the Santa story? The answer is a resounding yes when those grown-ups teach Todd the true story of St. Nicholas and about the spirit of giving.

Is it any good?


It's a rite of passage in every child's life: Is Santa Claus real? This book is directed at those who are ready to learn the truth (and is definitely not for those who are hanging on to the myth a little longer). The rhyme helps keep children's interest, and the pictures are lively and almost cartoon-like, which lends to the book's appeal.

Unfortunately, the story turns to prose at the point where Todd's dad tells him the truth about St. Nick and the tradition of giving Christmas presents. It may be more direct, but it's dull in comparison with the liveliness of the poem. What the story does best, however, is present the truth, a truth that's sometimes hard for parents to fess up to their children. When children are ready for the truth, explaining our December traditions through the use of this book can be a special shared moment between parent and child, and can help make the explosion of the Santa myth a little easier to take.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about holiday traditions and stories. What are your own family traditions? Are they long-established or new to your family?

  • How is the story of St. Nicholas different from stories you've heard about Santa Claus? What elements are similar? 

  •  What's your favorite thing about the holidays?

Book details

Author:Harold Myra
Illustrator:Jane Kurisu
Genre:Historical Fiction
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Holidays
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Thomas Nelson
Publication date:January 1, 1997
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

This review of Santa, Are You for Real? was written by

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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