Frontlist | The kid’s books helped us in 2020 and some upcoming ones

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I’ve never been able to find a good way to display Christmas cards; I am not a “hang them around the door frame” kind of person (it grates on my minimalist sensibility), so last year I put out a big bowl in our dining room and put them all in there (to be fair, I took the idea from a friend — I’m not that quick). It keeps them neat and tidy, and my kids love going through them all year long. As we’ve added to the bowl this year, I’ve spent some time perusing last year’s cards.

What a difference a year makes.

Last year’s messages were full of hopes and wishes for adventure, joy, happiness, and travel, all those things we anticipate a new year will bring. This year’s batch is much more subdued. The wishes are less grand, the family newsletters report more grief, the hopes for next year are far more simple.

Yes, what a difference a year makes.

My hopes for next year are different, too. They are quieter, simpler, more cautious, and I find I am surrounding myself with books that offer me a quiet hope and a profound story; books that lift me up when I am down, and books that speak to hardship and change, but where change and hardship are not the end of the story. Here are just a few of the most meaningful books my kids and I have shared this year, and a few we are really looking forward to.

Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away by Newbery-winner Meg Medina may have come out in September, but it’s a book I can’t put down as we enter 2021. Daniela and Evelyn are the closest of friends and live just one building apart, so close to each other that they can string a clothesline between their bedrooms. But Evelyn is moving away. This story of the girls’ last day together is a heartbreaker, but seeing the two girls squeeze every last moment of joy from that day of grief is a reminder that simple and powerful bond of friendship is worth the heartache of separation.

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