A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Teaches a lesson about practicing kindness, respect, and patience during the holiday season.
Treat others, and their belongings, the way you would like to be treated. Remember to be extra kind during the holiday season. Showing compassion to others can go a long way. Be a gracious guest: bring food or gifts to share, help tidy or clean, and follow house rules.
Positive Role Models
Monte and Mabel are curious and excited about Santa Claus and have an infectious love of Christmas. The Mack family shows compassion and hospitality to Santa in his time of need. Santa, on the other hand, takes advantage of the Macks' kindness and generosity and is a terrible, disrespectful, and messy house guest. He does realize his impact on the family in the end, and makes it up to them, but the twist at the end, though very funny, shows that Santa may not have really learned his lesson about being a good guest.
The book features a Black American family and a Black Santa Claus. The Mack parents wear their hair in long locs, the kids have natural hairstyles, and there are nods to their African ancestry in their home decor. Santa's very modern, with tattoos and ear piercings. Author Derrick Barnes was inspired to write about a cool, modern Santa who's a terrible house guest after his youngest child wondered what it would be like to hang out with Santa -- to play video games with him, share some of their Nigerian foods with him, and so on.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Santa's Gotta Go! is a holiday picture book written by New York Times bestselling author, Derrick Barnes (Like Lava in My Veins) and illustrated by Courtney Lovett. This funny holiday story explores the relatable experience of what it's like to host a guest at your home during Christmas time -- but this time, the guest is Santa Claus. The book features a Black American family and a very modern Santa. Major themes include celebrating the holidays, showing compassion, and practicing patience.
Is It Any Good?
The Mack family reminds readers that patience and kindness are what the holiday season is all about. Santa's Gotta Go! is a funny story that celebrates diverse characters, who have extra compassion during the holiday season. Derrick Barnes' unexpected story will have readers laughing and groaning till the final, hilarious twist. Courtney Lovett's illustrations perfectly capture the character's relatable feelings and draw readers into the story. Everyone can relate to what it's like to host or be hosted during the holidays which makes this book an entertaining read for the whole family.
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.