Giovanni's Light: The Story of a Town Where Time Stopped for Christmas
by Phyllis Theroux
New York, Scribner, 2002 (Paperback 2010)
"Giovanni's Light" by Phyllis Theroux is a classic Christmas story - a light to give warmth on a cold winter's day. The town of Ryland Falls comes straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting - it is a place just about everyone would like to escape to. Things have always been done a certain way, and people play their roles in that tradition willingly. Except for one year when it all goes wrong.
Under the surface of that perfect world, the pain of living is taking hold and winning the battle. As Theroux writes of the tipping point: "A crack in the heart of an eight-year-old boy is not a very noticeable thing on earth. For one thing, there are so many eight-year-olds. For another, most of them have a rather small vocabulary. They don't have the words to call attention to their condition. But in that other place where all cracked, broken, lost, and hardened hearts are recorded, it was noticed right away. And when Neddie Crimmins's heart was placed gently upon the scale with all the other damaged hearts in Ryland Falls, it was considered one heart too many.
When snow starts falling and falling and falling some more until the whole town is snowed in, miracles start to happen and the good in human nature begins to shine through. This is a novella - easy to read in one sitting. It is a perfect family story - both children and adults will enjoy and benefit from it. It would be a splendid addition to your Christmas season.