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This Tuesday will mark the Winter Solstice in the northern half of the Earth: the longest night and the shortest day.  It is my favorite winter day, because it marks the beginning of the march toward Spring. Conversely, I am a little depressed on the Summer solstice although the vagaries of our recent climate is altering that.

“Winter is here. It was brought by little hands of darkness. Each little hand is a few minutes long.”

Thus begins Jean Craighead George’s magical children’s book. Simply the book is a grandmother’s letter to her granddaughter explaining the change in season, with each page illustrating changes in habitats and what the child will do in each season. The author is a Newberry Award winner.

Ms. George is a naturalist at heart, and this book imparts that love of nature to young children. Admittedly, some parents are more captivated than their children. I think my child has grown to dislike the book because of my constant reminder about it getting lighter or darker after each solstice.

It is that thought process that is the most intriguing aspect of the book, but which will lost on most young children. It demonstrates contrarian thinking, much like a glass half full or half empty. Children naturally perceive more through innocence, but over time learning rules and conventional thinking constrain this. With change there is optimism for renewal. Each season is a blessing.

This holiday, find this book and read it to your child and for yourself.

May you and yours have a happy and peaceful holiday. I remain optimistic that next year will find you and yours in good health  and that hope for a better life for all that inhabit Earth will not prove to be elusive.