A self-reflective child reaps rewards on Christmas morning.
Parker (who presents as a black boy with brown skin and Afro-textured hair in digital illustrations that have an aesthetic right out of current television animation) is nervous when his weekend art teacher, Ms. Holly, assigns the class to write a letter to Santa. Classmates (at least three of whom seem to be children of color while the teacher appears white) write letters extolling their own virtues and denying wrongdoing. In his letter, however, Parker decides to be honest about times he’s been naughtier than nice. His acknowledged misdeeds are utterly benign or grounded in good intentions, and the accompanying illustrations show him interacting with his parents as he recalls behavior infractions throughout the epistolary section. Parker’s mother appears black with the same skin tone as his while his father appears white, and this centering of a biracial child of color in an interracial family is notable among the many Christmas books with white protagonists. Ms. Holly mails the letters, and Santa (depicted as white, though elves are depicted with a range of skin tones) is moved by Parker’s words. He rewards him with all the gifts on his list, a step that may ring false to less-fortunate kids, including those who use the backmatter letter-writing template to write to Saint Nick themselves.
Inclusive in some ways but not others. (Picture book. 4-8)