One of my favorite children's book authors is Mac Barnett, who has authored numerous picture books and middle-school chapter books. Each book I've read that he has written brings a smile to my face, and often also a chuckle. The likelihood that my kids and I laughed while reading one of his books is at least doubled when Barnett partners with author and illustrator Jon Klassen. So, when I recently went to the local library and discovered that they had written a book together for the holidays, I was overjoyed. Their book, How Does Santa Go Down the Chimney?, tries to answer the question that has been asked by children for generations, including me when I was a child.

While Klassen and Barnett do not give us a definitive answer as to how the jolly old man gets down the chimney, they do give us a ton of questions and/or suggestions of how he might do it. They include Santa getting covered in soot on his way down, so he does some laundry before he leaves, or he comes through the sink for people who do not have a chimney for Santa to go down. The creative authors even dedicate some pages to the skills Santa has to exhibit in order to keep dogs from waking up families in the middle of the night when he's dropping off gifts.

I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive to open the book, worried that Klassen and Barnett were going to spoil the magic of Mr. Claus. However, the fact that How Does Santa Go Down the Chimney? continues to ask more questions than actually give answers relieved my apprehension. This is a cute story to share with your kiddos this holiday season. And if you are not familiar with Barnett's other books, I strongly suggest checking some of them out, too.

With the holiday season upon us, some find this to be a prime opportunity to give the gift of books, and it's nice to choose ones that help to remind your favorite young reader that they are worthy and special, regardless of any differences they may have. While Barnett is one of my favorite children's book authors, Vashti Harrison quickly became one of my favorite illustrators, and I am so excited that she is also authoring books as well. Her latest title is Big, and is a perfect book for any child dealing with, "...being big in a world that prizes small," as the summary states.

We meet our main character as a baby, and she grows into a young girl who is full of love and energy. However, she wants to participate in dance, but since she does not have the typical dancer's body, things start to get complicated for her. Since Harrison is such a beautiful artist, this book does not have a lot of text, but still does a great job of telling the story. As the reader, I could feel the pain the main character was feeling and wanted so very badly to give her the confidence she needed to continue. Luckily, Harrison does give us a positive ending for her main character.

So whether you're looking for a holiday book to share with your children or a book that can boost your child's self-esteem, there are new options out there for you.

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