The Secret of St. Nicholas - Ellen Nibali
"Nicholas decided that God liked surprises. When Jesus grew up, he never stopped surprising people. Jesus even said, 'Do good deeds in secret.'" -- From The Secret of St. Nicholas

I just finished reading this wonderful children's book last night and, I have to tell you, it is one of the BEST (perhaps THE best) Christmas books for children I have ever read (and I read a lot!)

I was so delighted with the phrasing in this book, as well as the gentle unfolding of the true story of St. Nicholas. In fact, by the end of the book, I had tears in my eyes.

A first-class storyteller, author Ellen Nibali weaves a tender tale about Nicholas's life--from his loving parents to his orphanhood, the spiritual wisdom he lived by to his generosity towards three daughters destined to be sold as slaves by their father. Then, she ties in how Nicholas and his thrown three bags of gold (that ended up in drying stockings near a window!) ended up being the inspiration for one of the most beloved Christmas traditions we now enjoy.

When I read The Secret of St. Nicholas, I was reminded of the Veggie Tales Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving DVD that came out last year.

But you don't have to be a Christian to love this book! Nibali isn't preachy, but accurately portrays the historical actions of Nicholas--who went on to become St. Nicholas--with love and respect. Who could object to the wonderful traits of giving and selflessness?

If you love all things Christmas (as I do), you and your child will treasure The Secret of St. Nicholas by Ellen Nibali (lovely illustrations by Lon Eric Craven). I can't wait to share this with my own son, who will no doubt be inspired by the example of young Nicholas.

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