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I honestly believe that you will enjoy The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. It’s one of those books that makes you want to cuddle up with your kids on the couch and get all cozy. Jonathan Toomey is a man who has lost his wife and baby. He is so grieved that he lets himself go; not much matters to him anymore. He doesn’t smile or laugh; he doesn’t have any friends. Jonathan is a woodcarver, and that’s what he spends his days doing.
One day, a widow and her son stop by to request that Jonathan make them a new nativity scene because theirs has been lost. The woman’s son also asks to watch Jonathan as he works. Jonathan grudgingly agrees, and each day that he works on the set, the widow brings him food and the boy watches him work. Gradually the widow and her son work their way into Jonathan’s heart and help him to feel again and face the sadness of his loss. The end is hopeful as Jonathan attends the Christmas service with his new friends and is actually seen to laugh for the first time in a long time.
The message of this book is very moving, and it would be great as a family read-aloud. I don’t see it working in a classroom setting, unless you had sort of a get-cozy reading time with a smaller group of kids. It would also depend greatly on whether your kids pay attention to longer stories. Either way, it’s a good book to recommend to families.