One of my favorite holiday traditions is reading Christmas stories with my children in the evenings leading up to Christmas Eve. We have some old favorites, but every year I like to find at least one new holiday picture or chapter book. I struck gold with this year's new selection, Patricia MacLachlan's The True Gift A Christmas Story. Perhaps you know Patricia Mac Lachlan from her lovely and now classic Sarah, Plain and Tall. The True Gift is a short (which is a bit of a gift to me during this busy time of year) and gentle chapter book that highlights the beauty of thoughtfulness, generosity, and community. Liam and Lily work to find a friend for White Cow, the lone cow on their grandparents' farm. In trying to help the cow, they help a young boy whose family is struggling financially, and they in turn are helped by the members of their grandparents' farming community. It could inspire some good conversations about whether or not animals have feelings and what it means to give. Brian Floca's pencil drawing are quietly gorgeous. I recommend this one for readers from first through fifth grade looking for a good holiday book that is not too Christmasy.