The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie is an inspirational Christmas story that includes a young boy, a mysterious shiny box with “the power to change Christmas” and a new found family tradition. The tale, inspired by Matthew 25:40 “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these…,” has since become a long-standing Christmas practice for the Hardie family.
The Sparkle Box begins with Sam and his mother standing spellbound in front of a lavishly decorated toy store window fascinated by the magnificent display of sparkly lights, Christmas trees, decorations, dolls and beautifully wrapped gifts. When Sam spots a “shiny red engine” on the tracks underneath the Christmas tree his excited grin and joy-filled eyes speak louder than any words about a child’s hopes, joys and dreams of Christmas.
Later that night, when Sam and his mom read a Christmas story together, Sam notices a glittery box tied with a lush lavender bow sitting on the mantle above the fireplace next to the Nativity scene of Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. It hadn’t been there before and he couldn’t help asking, “…is that for me?”
Sam’s mother explained the present was “a special gift “she called a “Sparkle Box” and said the present wouldn’t be ready to open until Christmas because the “special gift” had yet to be filled. Curious and intrigued, it was all Sam could do to contain his excitement and thought–”it would be so hard to wait!”
Thus begins a warm and engaging Christmas themed story that puts the focus on Jesus and acts of kindness instead of materialism and commercialism. Christine Kornacki’s enchanting life-like illustrations capture the spirit of Christmas reflected in the family’s festive holiday parties and activities. Such as family gatherings, taking food to a food bank, donating blankets to the homeless on park benches or donating money to an African village “for something as simple as clean water.” These and many other acts of kindness embrace what Christmas is all about—loving others as Jesus loves us.
Each turn of the page illustrates generosity, kindness and love for others with an inspirational story that captures the real meaning of Christmas and reminds us all we may be the only “Christ” those who don’t know Christ will ever meet or see.
The hardback book includes a glitter-coated, fold-out, easy-to-assemble box inside the back cover for children and families to start their own family tradition. After only one reading The Sparkle Box is sure to become any family’s favorite Christmas story.
‘The Sparkle Box: a Gift with the Power to Change Christmas,’ by Jill Hardie, Illustrated by Christine Kornacki, Ideals Children’s Books, 2012, 32 Pages, 978-0824956479, $19.99
Midwest Book Reviews: Gail’s Bookshelf November 2015
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THE SPARKLE BOX – Official Book Trailer
Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas Season!
THE SPARKLE BOX: A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas, by Jill Hardie (Ideals Children’s Books, October 2012), is a heartwarming, entertaining and powerful book that will help families rediscover the true meaning of Christmas!
‘The Sparkle Box: a Gift with the Power to Change Christmas,’ by Jill Hardie, Illustrated by Christine Kornacki
The moving story of an uncommon gift and how giving to others shows a little boy the true meaning of Christmas.
Sam is so excited about Christmas! He’s thinking about his Christmas list, anticipating holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift — a sparkly box sitting on the mantel above the fireplace. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family’s good deeds. Sam’s parents explain that the things that they’ve been doing for others are, in fact, a gift for Jesus — for Jesus said that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him. This heartfelt story will inspire readers to adopt this faith-centered tradition in their own homes. Ages 4-8.
Includes a glitter-coated fold-out Sparkle Box!
‘The Sparkle Egg,’ by Jill Hardie, Illustrated by Christine Kornacki
A new Easter tradition from the author of The Sparkle Box.
Easter is coming, and Sam loves Easter! But this year, he is upset about a lie he told his parents. Even though he apologized and they forgave him, Sam can’t shake the feeling that he is a bad kid for what he did. Meanwhile, his parents help him make a special Easter craft called a Sparkle Egg. His mom tells him to write anything he feels sorry about or ashamed of on a piece of paper and put it inside his Sparkle Egg.
On Easter morning, when he opens his Sparkle Egg expecting a surprise, Sam finds that it is empty! His parents explain that because Jesus died and rose again, we are forgiven. Like the tomb that first Easter Day, Sam’s egg is empty — and Sam’s wrongdoing is completely forgiven. Once he accepts this forgiveness fully, Sam realizes a truth: we can sparkle and shine with God’s light when we let God’s gift of grace into our hearts.
This touching story will strike a deep chord with readers of all ages, and the Sparkle Egg tradition will help readers and their families grasp the totality of God’s perfect grace. Ages 4-8.
Happy Birthday Jesus, by Michelle Medlock Adams
Birthdays are always a special time for children. And there is one special birthday we celebrate each year–Jesus’ birthday. This charming little book recognizes the birthday aspect of Christmas, a concept even very young children understand. Rhyming text and colorful illustrations depict a family decorating in honor of Jesus, singing “Happy Birthday” to Him, and even making a birthday cake! The story is a great way to introduce children to the holiday and involve them in celebrating the true meaning of Christmas: the amazing gift of Jesus Christ.
Board book, 5.25 x 6.25, 22 pages, ages 2 to 5
‘Itsy Bitsy Christmas: You’re Never Too Little for His Love,’ by Max Lucado
‘The King has come! Even for a little one like me.’ Do you ever feel like you are too small or too ordinary? That is just how Itsy and Bitsy feel. When these two charming little mice hear that a King is coming to Bethlehem, they set off with great enthusiasm to find Him. Along the way, they are met with discouraging words telling them they are too little and unimportant for any king. Just when Itsy and Bitsy begin to believe that they really aren’t big enough for the new King, they learn that Christ the King has indeed come for everyone. Crafted by master storyteller Max Lucado, Itsy Bitsy Christmas helps children understand God’s great love and know that He sent His Son for all of us little or big, young or old. Meets national education standards.
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger, by Karma Wilson, Illustrated by June Chapman
It’s Christmastime, and Mortimer Mouse, unhappy in his cramped, cold hole, goes in search of a new home. He spies a nativity scene that looks just right for him, so he moves the statues out and settles himself into the manger! But when he hears the Christmas story being told and realises that the statues are of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, he understands that the crèche is meant for them and returns everything to its rightful place. Then, suddenly, a Christmas miracle occurs and Mortimer discovers a new home, at last!
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale, by Martin Waddell, Illustrated by Jason Cockcroft
This favorite Christmas picture book is now available in a reduced size padded board book perfect for little hands with bright red foil on the cover to share the holiday cheer!
In the stable next to an inn, Kind Ox is just settling in for the night when Old Dog comes into the stable. Kind Ox makes room for Old Dog, who in turn makes room for Stray Cat, who then makes room for Small Mouse–and each time, the larger animal says to the small, “There’s always room for a little one here.” Finally, Tired Donkey comes by, carrying Joseph and Mary, who asks “Where will my child be born?” Kind Ox replies, “There is always room for a little one here.” And so, Jesus is born in the stable with the animals all around Him.