Calvin James (author) Jordan Pizzuti (illustrator)
Calvin James Creates (2022)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (09/2022)
“Christmas Sunrise” by Dr. Calvin James, illustrated by Jordan Pizzuti, is a warmly wrapped Christmas gift in the form of a delightful children’s book. Dr. James gives us a three-part-story of a grandmother reminiscing about her favorite parts of Christmas.
In the first story in the trilogy, “Feeling Like Snow,” we find a little girl yearning for a white Christmas. She just loves snow and hopes each and every day for a snowfall. She’s hoping the gray clouds will drop some snow, but sometimes she’s disappointed. Yet she doesn’t give up, and then her patience is rewarded with a nice blanket of snow that requires her to put on boots, coat, and hat. This is the memory of the grandmother when she was a little girl, relating it to her grandchild, and how she valued a snowy Christmas more than presents. I just love how the illustrations reveal the grandmother looking into a handheld mirror and seeing her younger self longing for snow. The second story in the trilogy, “One More Night,” is about the anticipation and sleeplessness of children that comes on Christmas Eve, with a little boy who can’t seem to fall asleep before Christmas morning. Most children who celebrate the holiday this way will relate, and parents too. The third story is “Christmas Sunrise,” and perhaps the most poetic of all, about the need for family, friends, and loved ones to be together at Christmas, as if it’s the most important part of all for them. The image of snowflakes painting the sidewalks stands out vividly, as does the notion of holding on to, and revisiting, warm memories of the past.
Calvin James has a gift for weaving a story that touches on many moods and emotions at once. His writing is lyrical and special, the way good holiday books are. He takes a theme and makes it his own, but one you can still relate to. It’s sweet, and has something for all ages, from grandmothers to grandchildren, and anyone who has fond memories of Christmases past.
The author began his book-writing when his son was born, which inspired him to craft children’s books with meaning and value. This one is a hit, which makes me intrigued to read other books he may have in the works, including novels for adults. Besides the Christmas theme, this book also honors different generations, which I find refreshing. This book can go a long way in bridging generations who sometimes don’t seem to understand one another.
One of the takeaways is that no matter how old you are, Christmas is a special time to share with others. The illustrator and author seem well-paired, and the pictures are pleasant. If you buy one Christmas book this season, you must treat yourself and your little ones to “Christmas Sunrise,” by Dr. Calvin James.
Review by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (09/2022)
The holiday season, and Christmas in particular, holds special significance for people all over the world. Be it the spiritual essence of the season, spending time with family, cooking, shopping–there are as many reasons to celebrate as there are traditions within each family. “Christmas Sunrise” by Dr. Calvin James captures the spirit of the season perfectly, enfolding three short stories into a warm and charming holiday picture book sure to entice readers of all ages.
Told through the veins of reflection, gratitude, and love, “Christmas Sunrise” conveys the thoughts of a grandmother and the regard she holds for the season. From wishing for snow and the proverbial “white Christmas” to the thrilling anticipation of the wait, to having her family and loved ones around her on the special day that is Christmas—it’s all about memories treasured and the memories in the making.
The grandmother in this story pulled at my heartstrings. The illustration of her in her chair, sharing stories with her grandson, stirred up feelings of missing my grandmother. She was magical to me as she passed on stories of her childhood and the traditions of love and family she held dear. That these illustrations can evoke such emotion is amazing; they will truly leave readers stunned and in awe of the remarkable talent displayed by illustrator, Jordan Pizzuti.
“Christmas Sunrise” is the second book in a series of children’s books Calvin James created to inspire children about the ideals of truth, kindness, friendship, love, and hope. After reading his first book, “The Colored Water Fountain,” I knew Dr. James was going to be an inspiration to children everywhere, and I was so excited to hear that his second book was being published. James writes from deep within his heart, so much so that you can feel every word in the narrative bursting with love, meaning, and authenticity. He has a rare gift that he lovingly shares with the world. His words carry a vulnerability that inspires.
With the birth of my granddaughter a little over two years ago, I’m reminded of the value of tradition. One practice I enjoy passing along to her is the love of reading, and I can proudly say her library almost surpasses mine. It’s about to grow even larger as I add “Christmas Sunrise” to her collection this holiday season. Heartwarming, nostalgic and refreshing, it’s one holiday book for children that is a must-have addition for any home library. And while written for children, “Christmas Sunrise” and the entire series by Dr. Calvin James provides treasured, top quality reading enjoyment for all ages.