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When Christmas Feels Like Home,  Picture book based on the author’s experiences with international students and her own culture shock as a high school exchange student in Lima, Peru. Big concept for a simple book about a boy coming to America with his family and living near one of the Christmas tree farms in western North Carolina.
When Christmas Feels Like Home is also based on culture adaptation materials from the orientation I conduct yearly for students departing on a study abroad program. As volunteer area team sending coordinator for the Carolinas AFS, I am responsible for working with candidates from application through departure, and beyond.
Plot Summary After moving from a small village to a town in the United States, Eduardo is sure it will never feel quite like home. The other children don't speak his language and they do not play fútbol. His family promises him that he will feel right at home by the time Christmas comes along, when “your words float like clouds from your mouth” and “trees will ride on cars.” With whimsical imagery and a sprinkling of Spanish vocabulary, Gretchen Griffith takes readers on a multicultural journey with Eduardo who discovers the United States is not so different from Latin America and home is wherever family is.
“A gentle, lyrical story that can be read year-round as a sensitive exploration of the meaning of home.” Kirkus "Faria's burnished paintings create a feeling of warmth and luminescence in every scene, while Griffith's soothing, poetic language delivers a comforting message about traditions and transitions." Publishers Weekly "More an affirmation of patience and fortitude than a Christmas story. . . .A charming and worthwhile read for any time of year." School Library Journal “This delightful book proves that it is important for families to have rituals that tie the past and the present together. Things like a Christmas box lend more definition to and appreciation of home.” Book review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat for Spirituality and Practice   “We truly love it! We read it to our grandson last night. He could totally relate to being a new kid in school and playing ball with other kids. Gretchen captured something VERY real and did a beautiful sensitive job.” From the grandmother of a bilingual first grader
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When  Christmas  feels like Home