Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December's Christmas Giveaway #2: A Certain Small Shepherd

Depending on the entries on this one, I will giveaway one or two copies.  I haven't decided yet. 

This giveaway is:  A Certain Small Shepherd by Rebecca Caudill.  (A beloved, out-of-print book, I am considering asking Woodhouse to bring back.)

I LOVE this book.  Ironically, it was not Christmas until my mother read this book.  Now I can barely make it through this book "together", as it now falls to me to read it aloud.

This book tells the story of a young boy, Jamie, born with disabilities.  It is never clear what those are.  (When I got older, I tried to pin it down.  Because don't we all like clean little catagory boxes?  I narrowed it down to Cerebal Palsy, Autism, or Down Syndrome.  As the years pass, I am leaning more heavily toward the last two.)  ANYWAY, it tells of Jamie's birth in rural Appalacia, his struggles in school, his troubles making friends, his inability to communicate, and the out-growing frustrations and behaviour issues.

He is given the role of a shepherd in this year's Christmas play, after some fiasco involving him in the choir.  That way he could be involved, but it is a non-speaking part.

Then, on Christmas Eve, a black couple travels into town.  The woman, heavily pregnant.  The place being what it was, they were denied shelter despite snowy, stormy conditions.  His father offered the stable, but then moves them to the church to let them stay there for the night.  The couple had their baby that night.  The next day, Jamie's father brings his children over to the church to see the new family.

Jamie takes one look at the couple and their baby and rushed back home, put on his shepherd's costume and brings the entire contents of his Christmas stocking.  A dime and an orange.  For the first time he speaks, to who he believes is Mary and the Christ-child, and offers his gifts....

I've heard people complain about this book, because it is not "realistic" about disabilities.  But I want to say, the heart-struggle is realistic.  And, frankly, this is the miracle we all pray for our children.  And with the Christ-child involved, I'm ready to suspend a little "realism".

And, as the last giveaway, entries are open until December 31, 2011.  Entries are: comment here, comment on the Facebook page, or send me an email at


  1. I have never heard of this story, but it sounds good! I definitely want to read it.

  2. why do the best books always go out of print! I have never heard of this book until now, and your description of it makes me want to own it, giveaway or not! Merry Christmas :)