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SANTA’S KWANZAA by Garen Eileen Thomas


by Garen Eileen Thomas & illustrated by Guy Francis

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7868-5166-X
Publisher: Hyperion

A sing-songy rhyming text intertwines the features of the Kwanzaa holiday with secular aspects of Christmas and the Santa Claus story to create a new holiday interpretation. Santa, his wife, and the elves are all African-Americans who help others get ready for Christmas before celebrating the seven nights of Kwanzaa themselves with presents and special foods and traditions. In this story Santa has a new name, “Santa Kwas,” and he sports snow-white dreadlocks and a kente-cloth robe trimmed in white fur. His seven elves are named for the seven principles of Kwanzaa, with their names explained briefly on the final page. On the last night of Kwanzaa, the elves and Mr. and Mrs. Santa Kwas take another flight with their reindeer so that Santa can send a special message of peace and goodwill to the world, spelled out in stars against the northern lights. Though the rhyming text fails to soar like Santa’s sleigh and the ornate font is difficult to read, the bright, peppy illustrations, oversized format, and cheerful, well-meaning concept may help this title fit in somewhere. (Picture book. 4-7)