Winter Candle

wintercandleBy Jeron Ashford, illustrated by Stacey Schuett. Creston Books, 2014. 28 pages. $16.95/hardcover. Recommended for ages 4–11.

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Come December in the northern hemisphere, we begin hungering for light and warmth. Many cultures have developed holidays and religious observances that recognize the precious place of light and the human need for warmth. In the pages of Winter Candle, author Jeron Ashford shares a tale in which neighbors share a candle to celebrate Thanksgiving, to bring in the Sabbath, to light a Saint Lucia crown, to brighten a Kwanzaa kinara, and to guide the way home during a snowstorm.

The warm artwork has lovely details, such as a cat in the window of the apartment building, and the colors have depth and richness. “I like it when artists do things like that,” my daughter said, and I agreed. The illustrations bring the emotions of life into the pages, as on St. Lucia Day when we see the girl in the drawing happy and proud to participate in her family’s cultural tradition.

“I like how this lumpy bit of wax brought people so much joy,” my daughter noted. This book’s special focus on neighborliness shows us the light made by simple acts of kindness, caring, and generosity.

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