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Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
"A Christmas of Grace" is the story of eleven year old Grace Gillian and her almost six year old brother Henry James. For the Gillian children life had never really been stable. Because of their alcoholic mother, Grace had always been the one to make sure that her little brother always had something to eat. When Grace overhears their landlord telling their mother that they have to vacate the trailer they have been living in within two days, Grace is unsure what they will do, but when she wakes up and learns that her mother has abandoned her she realizes it is up to her to take care of her brother. Since it is Christmas break the only plan she can come up with is for them to stay at the public library. Her greatest fear is that they might be found out and put into the foster care system, but what actually happens when their secret is discovered will change their lives forever.
Dr. Karen Hutchins Pirnot tells a story about two children that seems so realistic that it brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. I could easily imagine that this story could honestly happen in the way that it did! Though Grace is only twelve she seems so much more mature, which is often the case whenever a child finds itself placed in the role of the caregiver to a sibling. Henry James was such a sweet boy, but often exhibited anxiety, because he was never sure what might happen. He really seemed to blossom though once they were in the library, his hunger for learning to read was so touching! Both children were very savvy at coming up with ways to survive for another day. The relationship between the siblings was touching, and really shows what it means to be family. In addition to the author's very realistic portrayal of how alcoholism can affect families, she also touches on several other relevant topics such as race relations, and how children can often tease others that are less fortunate than they are. A touching story that deals with a tough subject that leaves the reader feeling hopeful, and thinking about the characters long after the final page is read! Although this story takes place during Christmas, it would be a great read anytime of the year, as it is filled with several valuable life lessons that would be beneficial for children and adults alike.