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December Secrets (1984)

by Patricia Reilly Giff

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Kids of the Polk Street School (Vol 4)

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976616,394 (3.79)2
Each student in Ms. Rooney's room celebrates the December holidays by being a secret pal to a classmate.

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» See also 2 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Nice attempt?  Too heavy-handed/earnest to charm, imo.  And the cover is not an illustration of what's going on inside, unfortunately.   ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
A good book about the difficulties of "Secret Santas" (or whatever the given class calls them. Mrs. Rooney’s classroom has secret friends (to be kind to) at Christmas time. Everybody except Emily Arrow is happy with hers, because Jill is the class cry baby, and how can you be nice to a cry baby? That is, until the next to the last page. A good read to at Christmas time, or whenever there is "I don't want to work with__________, because they __________." A good message for the entire year. ( )
  Librarian09 | Feb 15, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia Reilly Giffprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sims, BlancheIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Emily Arrow bit down on her pencil.
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Each student in Ms. Rooney's room celebrates the December holidays by being a secret pal to a classmate.

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