Children’s Book Review — Just Nicholas by Annie Kratzsch

About the Book

From Amazon: Read the true story of Saint Nicholas of Myra, the man who gave what he had to help others because he was grateful for what God had given him. As a young boy, Nicholas learned the story of Jesus from his parents. When he grew up, he lived out his Christian faith in a unique and selfless way that we still celebrate today. The stories we tell about Santa Claus say that he gives only to those who are good or nice. The story of Nicholas reminds us that God gives based not on what we deserve but on his overflowing love for us. A helpful parent resource section includes questions to explore with your children as you read Just Nicholas and make the man before Santa part of your Christmas tradition.

ISBN: 978-1-922206-79-4

About the Author

From her Amazon author page: Annie Kratzsch is a writer and editor from Louisville, Kentucky. She is the creator of This Rare Day, a blog that chronicles life as the parent of a child with a rare disease and explores the complexities that arise along the way. Annie’s first children’s book, Just Nicholas, was published in November of 2015. Just Nicholas provides an engaging, kid-friendly resource for approaching the ‘Santa conversation’ while preserving the magic of Christmas. Annie is a graduate of Transylvania University, where she studied English literature. She also taught literature and writing at the middle and high school levels.

Here are the author and illustrator talking about the book.

Things Above Us Review

I was splendidly surprised when I read this book to my boys. My boys are 4 and 6 (almost 7), and this book kept their (and mine!) attention perfectly. I’m completely opposed to the Santa Claus game…I’ve written about it here, here, and even way back here in 2010! So I’ve enjoyed the true history of Nicholas. Side note: I despise celebrating the punching of a heretic in the face as if we wouldn’t totally criticize a brother who did that today.

So Just Nicholas turned out to be just what a guy like I needed. We learned about the generosity of Nicholas and the real history behind St. Nicholas’ Day and the legend of Santa Claus. My children’s attention was kept by the detailed illustrations while I read the words to them.

As with any book you read to your children, you should look for opportunities to stop and ask questions like “Why do you think Nicholas said or did that?” or “What is something you can do to show love to others?” There are plenty of opportunities for this important parent-child interaction. And the illustrations are wonderful (check out the illustrator’s work) and also provide ways to engage your children. Asking your child to “find the fish” or “what do you think is in Nicholas’ bag?” are ways to keep your little ones’ interest.

But the best part of the book was the recurring references to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel was the impetus for Nicholas’ good works, and the reader (or your little listener) is also presented with the gospel in a personal way. I recommend this book to anyone with kids under 10. It was enjoyable, authentic, truthful, and entertaining. From what I can tell, it isn’t in stock with the publisher, but I hope this review may help you if you find this book at a garage sale or a library.

P.S. Hardcore Calvinists will enjoy replacing some of the language in the book with more solid reformed theology than is present within the pages. It’ll be like having your own little on the fly polemics warehouse; enjoy!

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