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December Secrets by Patricia Reilly Giff
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I enjoyed reading this book and I think it had a great message, but I think that some of the language used in the book wasn’t appropriate for elementary school children. For example, the main character in the book, Emily, receives a girl named Jill as her “secret December” person. Many times throughout the book, she refers to Jill as “fat” and talks about how she should go on a diet so she can be “skinny.” Emily also targets Jill’s appearance and calls her a “fat green lollipop,” among other mean comments. I think that the author’s choice to use the words “fat” and “skinny” was not smart because it shows students that it is okay to judge one another based on their appearance, which is a horrible concept to make available to children. On the other hand, I really liked the plot of the book and the ending. Emily is very upset that she receives Jill as her “secret December” person, and she spends the first half of the book wondering why she couldn’t receive someone whom she was friends with. Emily and Jill suddenly make a connection, and Emily realizes that Jill isn’t so bad. By the end of the book when Emily and Jill reveal that they were each other’s “secret December” people, they become friends and Emily treats her with respect. In addition, Hanukkah and Christmas are explained in the book as December holidays that are celebrated by different students in the class, and Ms. Rooney shows the children both a Christmas tree and a Menorah. I like that the plot is relatable to children and that it incorporates two main holidays, along with teaching children a valuable message about friendship. The big idea of this book is that friendship can be found in unlikely places and that it is rewarding to extend kindness to everyone. ( )
  apetru5 | Mar 28, 2014 |
00001293
  cavlibrary | May 29, 2012 |
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  cavlibrary | Apr 17, 2012 |
This early chapter book is an example of realistic fiction. This is a situation that children could easily see themselves in. It allows students to understand different experiences and life experiences. It is very relatable for students. There are a few illustations in the book, the type of media used is pencil. The illustrations are sketches with some shading for details. I would use this boook in an intermediate classoom. ( )
  bekstrom | Dec 30, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440417953, Paperback)

Emily is stuck with crybaby Jill Simon as her "secret Pal" to be kind to for the whole month of December.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Each student in Ms. Rooney's room celebrates the December holidays by being a secret pal to a classmate.

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