Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Book Review: The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie and Christine Kornacki

For the past couple of years we’ve made an effort to teach our boys about community service and giving to others.  This began with “Blessing Bags”, giving out gallon Zip-loc bags full of supplies that would be useful or enjoyable for those in need.  When we moved to Greensboro, NC about a year ago, we got involved with Families in Action, a local service group. Through FIA, we have prepared meals for the needy, baked cookies for local servicemen and women, worked on a landscape crew for an immigrant school and much more. There have been so many blessings as we have done these projects together as a family. Honestly, I think I enjoy them more than a group trip to Disneyworld, because in serving, the focus is off ourselves and onto those who could use some help and/or encouragement.

As we enjoy the Christmas season, sometimes it’s easy to get ensnared in all the material parts of this time of year—the gift giving, the food, the spectacle.  And while all of those things are fine and good, the most important thing for us to remember is that we are celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It’s very common for Him to get lost in the shuffle of all of this. A new picture book has ventured to remind us of this fact in a very tangible way: What are some gifts that we would not buy for ourselves, but that we would instead give to Jesus?  Obviously He has no need of material things.  He mainly wants our hearts and our love. In The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie and Christine Kornacki, a family uses a pretty box on the mantel to illustrate how our acts of kindness and charity can also be seen as gifts to Jesus, much like when he said in Matthew 25:40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Sparkle Box has lavish full-page illustrations at every turn, and while they are not the best artwork I’ve ever seen, Christine Kornacki's work still of high quality and heartfelt. The text by Jill Hardie is well-written and an appropriate length for the given audience. It’s long enough to craft the meaning of The Sparkle Box, but it’s short enough to keep the attention of little ones’ minds. And to top it off, at the back of the book is an envelope holding pieces which when assembled, make up a Sparkle Box that you can have for your very own.  What a great way to directly apply the lessons taught in this lovely book. 

As the main idea of The Sparkle Box is to fill an actual box (or another container) with scraps of paper, upon which are written “gifts” you have given Jesus, now would be a great time to introduce the box to your family. It could be kept out all year long, and at Christmas 2016 you would have the opportunity to relive your year and share all you have given to Jesus for His birthday.  These acts of charity should not be done in order to pat ourselves on the back; they are to be gifts for our Savior, as we act as His hands and feet in a world in need.

If you'd like more information on The Sparkle Box, 

plus free motivational materials, activities and more, stop by TheSparkleBox.com. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Laura,
    I'm so glad you enjoyed The Sparkle Box book and hope you will try the tradition with your family! Giving a gift to Jesus is truly the most humbling, moving experience we've ever had. To say, "Jesus, in honor of you on your birthday, we are giving you these gifts..." It's an expression of heartfelt love for the greatest Gift of all, and it has centered our Christmas in the most profound way. I hope it blesses you and your readers, too! Merry Christmas!



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