Tuesday, December 3, 2013

PICTURE BOOK REVIEW: CHRISTMAS FROM HEAVEN


ABOUT THE BOOK

Christmas from Heaven is the story of the humble beginnings of what became a beacon of hope to a war-torn land, the story of Gail Halvorsen, a young pilot in the US Army Air Corps who was assigned as a cargo pilot to the Berlin Airlift, in which US forces flew much-needed supplies into a Soviet-blockaded Berlin.

As he performed his duties, Lt. Halvorsen began to notice the German children gathered by the fences of Tempelhof Air Base. Knowing that they had very little, he one day offered them some chewing gum. From that small act, an idea sprang: He would "bomb" Berlin with candy. Fashioning small parachutes, he and his crew sent them floating down as they approached the Berlin airport, wiggling the wings of their C-54 as a signal to the children that their anticipated cargo would soon arrive.

Lt. Halvorsen became known by hundreds, if not thousands, of children in Berlin as "Uncle Wiggly Wings" or "The Candy Bomber." Word soon spread, and donations of candy and other supplies poured in from sympathetic Americans. Lt. Halvorsen's small idea became a great symbol of hope not only to German children in a bombed-out city but to all those who yearned for freedom.

Famed broadcast journalist and author Tom Brokaw brings this remarkable true story to life in a stunning live performance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, captured on the accompanying DVD. Also included in the book is a template and directions for creating your own “Candy Bomber” parachutes.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Tom Brokaw is one of the giants of television journalism. Anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004, he also holds the honor of being the only person to host each of NBC News’s major news programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press. He has won several awards, including a Peabody Award and seven Emmys. He is the author of The Greatest Generation and The Greatest Generation Speaks, among other books. He and his wife, Meredith, have three daughters and five grandchildren

Robert T. Barrett is a professor of illustration at Brigham Young University, received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in painting and completed postgraduate work in Germany. An accomplished painter, muralist, and illustrator, his work has been featured in many national magazines and in art exhibits across the country and in Germany. He and his wife, Vicki, have ten children and one grandchild and reside in Provo, Utah.

REVIEW

This book beautifully illustrates what I love about Christmas stories.  It's a story of compassion, creativity, and courage from an American pilot, reaching out to German children at the end of World War II. The book includes not only the story as told by Tom Brokaw during the 2012 Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert, but also illustrations and photographs that add the perfect compliment to the tender story. Also included with the book is a DVD presentation of the telling of the story at the Christmas concert. A powerful reminder of how one simple act can turn into something much greater. Highly recommended.


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