Several programs, events and readings at Village Books this month revolve around the winter holidays, highlighting timeless children’s stories and reinforcing themes of kindness and generosity.
“We’re trying to highlight the nature of giving for kids,” said Claire McElroy-Chesson, kids programming director at the Fairhaven independent bookseller. “Especially for kids, it’s so easy for them to get run over by receiving.”
Things kick off as one of literature’s most lovingly reviled characters comes to life when the Grinch arrives for a “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” storytime and a photo-op at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4. After the reading, a booklet will be available for Village Books’ second annual Grinchmas program that encourages children to perform good deeds during the holiday season and claim a small reward from the bookstore. The booklet has ideas and suggestions for random acts of kindness and a place where children can take notes and monitor their accomplishments, said events coordinator Christine Claassen.
“They can track them and when they’ve got three or more, they can come back to the bookstore and get a little ‘something’ for their good deeds,” Claassen said. “The idea is to do one every day.”
In addition to the Grinchmas program, Village Books is sponsoring a Giving Tree program in the spirit of Shel Silverstein’s beloved story of selflessness. Anyone can participate by choosing an ornament from a Christmas tree at the store and buying a book for a child recipient — at a 20 percent discount. In addition, Village Books will donate one Dr. Suess book to the Giving Tree for every two Dr. Seuss books a customer buys, McElroy-Chesson said.
She said children understand the spirit of giving at the holidays and are eager to participate.
“You can tell when you watch them that they really enjoy the whole process,” she said. “It just feels really good for them. Giving is magical and it feels really good.”
• Saturday, Dec. 6, is Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, worldwide event now in its fifth year. Special events include a reading of Ezra Jack Keats’ much-adored tale,“The Snowy Day,”
at 10:30 a.m. in the Readings Gallery, followed at 2 p.m. by a
storytime featuring the popular Finnish comic series.
“(The Snowy Day”) is just kind of a classic and it appeals to an older audience too, the grandparents love it. It’s just a lovely story,” McElroy-Chesson said. Other snow-themed books will be read and there will be winter-related activities for children.
“Moomin” activities include a reading and building paper and yarn crafts based on the best-selling series by Finnish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson.
• Another Yuletide favorite, Chris Van Allsburg’s award-winning“The Polar Express,”
is featured during a program at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 8, one of the bookstore’s reading programs linked to the Bellingham school district’s so-called Purple Fridays, when students are off for a teacher planning day. It’s a special favorite of McElroy-Chesson.
“I really appreciate the message of that particular story,” she said.
• Finally, the Big Man Himself visits from 11 a.m.-noon Saturdays, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, on the main floor, where visitors can get a keepsake book about Santa’s trips to Bellingham — a book that Santa would be happy to autograph.
For more information about the programs and events, call 360-671-2626 or villagebooks.com.