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Book Review: The Christmas Angel, by Mary Jean Kelso

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The Christmas Angel is a sweet, heartwarming story about a little girl who ends up finding friendship in the most unexpected of circumstances. Set during the time of the pioneers, it is a tale that both teaches and entertains.

Eight-year old Melissa must leave her Philadelphia home and travel with her family to the West along the Oregon Trail, a daunting 2,170-mile long journey. Because they will travel by wagon, she is allowed to take with her only her most prized possession. For Melissa, this is an easy choice: the delicate porcelain Christmas angel her father once brought her from England. Carefully and lovingly, she wraps the angel and packs it in a box.

Their trip is harsh, as they must walk many miles a day, cross dangerous creeks, and camp overnight in wild, Indian territory. Melissa constantly worries that something will harm her precious angel. Then one day, her worst nightmare comes true—her angel is lost. Luckily, the most unexpected person brings it back to her.

This is a lovely book about friendship between two very different people from very different cultures. It is also a tale about hope and the magic of Christmas. Children will delight in the colorful illustrations as they learn about the Oregon Trail and the pioneers, their hardships, and their dreams of a better life. At the end of the book there’s a section with activities and information about the pilgrims, as well as a game and a map.

The Christmas Angel will make a lovely Christmas gift for any child, as well as an excellent tool for teachers covering this era of American history.

Ages 9-12.

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About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.