If you liked It's a Wonderful Life ...


On Christmas Eve, Maria goes to the toy store with her mother. When she sees a ragged old man, she quickly runs back to her mom because she finds the man scary. So the two go home. Later that day, Maria finds a toy angel with no wings in her attic. She asks her grandmother why the angel doesn’t have wings, and her grandmother tells her it is because even angels need to earn their wings by doing a good deed.

The next day, Maria walks outside and sees the old man again. She learns that he is homeless, and doesn’t have a place to sleep or food to eat, even on Christmas day. Maria goes home and takes some food. She tells her mother that she is feeding the pigeons, but it is food for the homeless man. When Maria comes back home, she finds that the angel grew a pair of wings because of her good deed. 

BTSYA / Teen Reader (15):
This book has a very good message: be kind to other people. Maria’s small act of kindness to the homeless man ends the book on a positive note, where everyone is happy and grateful. In addition, although the novel is about Christmas, it doesn’t go into religion. It is a great book for anyone to read, whether at Christmas or any other day.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Children will easily connect with Maria and her feelings about the homeless man she meets AND also they will also connect with the homeless man and his loneliness and hard circumstances. This is an exceptional book for talking about empathy and could even be the start of an action plan for community service.

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
Christmas is the backdrop for this story about homelessness, kindness, and gratitude.
Educational Themes:

Even though the backdrop is Christmas, this is a story that can be shared at any time. Maria's emotions and her experience with the homeless man create opportunities to talk about fear, compassion, empathy, and last, but not least, overcoming hard emotions.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
2 to 8
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 15
Purchase Recommendation:
This is a buy if you like collecting holiday stories with positive messages.

Title The Christmas Angel
Author Pirkko Vainio
Publisher North-South Books, Inc. © 1995
Illustrators Pirkko Vainio
ISBN 9781558584990
Material Hard Cover
Genres Christmas, Christian
be the star you are
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