Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review and Giveaway! "The Sparkle Box" - a new holiday tradition.


The Sparkle Box - A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas
Written by Jill Hardie
Illustrated by Christine Kornacki

Publisher's Description:  Sam is so excited about Christmas! He's thinking about his Christmas list, looking forward to holiday parties, and puzzling over one very mysterious gift: a sparkly box sitting on the mantel. In the midst of the festivities, Sam and his family participate in various acts of kindness to others. On Christmas morning, when Sam finally opens the Sparkle Box, he finds only slips of paper that record the family's good deeds. Sam's mom explains that the things that they've been doing are, in fact, a gift for Jesus, for Jesus said that whatever we do for those in need, we do for Him. 

My Thoughts:

I saw The Sparkle Box being reviewed last year and I was intrigued by this story of a family filling a sparkly box with special gifts for Jesus. I wanted to read it with my family, and was interested in working the sparkle box and acts of service into our family's Christmas traditions. Although it interested me, I didn't buy it.  Last month, Fly By Promotions gave me the opportunity to review The Sparkle Box. Of course, I jumped at the chance!

When the book arrived, I was very pleased with it! My first impression of the book was that it's a nicely-printed, well-made, hardcover book. My second impression was that the illustrations are lovely, warm, vibrant, and colorful.

When my kids first saw me looking at it, they all came over to see the enclosed sparkle box, which folds into a simple box shape.  We did note that it's different than the one in the book since it doesn't have a removable lid or a bow. The kids were all immediately interested in the new book and the box. "What's it for?" they asked.

Later, I sat down and read it to my younger children, ages 3 - 9. The story of a boy and his introduction to the sparkle box held their interest. You could tell they were wondering what was in the box, just like Sam. In the end, we were able to talk about how Sam blessed others in his community, and how we can do the same thing.

The entire book revolves around showing God's love to those in need around us, with no mention of Santa Claus and minimal focus on receiving gifts.  The front page says, "Dear reader, you are the light of the world.  Make it Sparkle!" I love that gentle reminder that we are the salt and light, pointing others to Jesus.

My husband and I have always tried to keep the focus of Christmas on Jesus and not Santa or presents, but we still see a need to help our children focus on others and not themselves. I think this book will help us to do that.  My only dilemma is whether to include acts of kindness that the children do for each other, or only those acts that bless those outside our family.

To learn more about the book, visit thesparklebox.com or the publisher's website: Ideals Books.



FlyBy Promotions and Ideals Books have kindly allowed me to give away ONE COPY  of The Sparkle Box to US and Canadian residents. I'm going to keep this giveaway completely simple. Just leave a comment (be sure to use a valid email address) telling me about one of your family's favorite Christmas traditions and/or acts of service.

The giveaway will close on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 11:59 pm.  I'll draw a winner on Saturday, November 23.


(Don't forget to enter my giveaway for The First Christmas Night, as well!)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
April E.


  1. One of our favorite traditions is starting to watch Christmas movies on Thanksgiving day.

  2. One tradition we have is decorating during Thanksgiving weekend. We love getting out the ornaments and talking about when we got them. Lots of family memories

  3. my favorite tradition is giving early Christmas present on thanksgiving day.

  4. One of our favorite traditions is Christmas tree hunting with our BFF (Best Friend Family) every year~ been doing it since my 16 yo was 6 months old! :)
    Act of service~ <3 Operation Christmas Child.

  5. Shoeboxes! And Lego Advent Calendar. And the Jesse Tree.

  6. Sounds like a wonderful book! One tradition we've held is giving each other gifts in our immediate family - just the kids, and us. The kids get us stuff and things for each other. Often we take them to the Dollar Tree or something similar; last year we did it and spent no money doing it. That was an awesome way to change up the tradition a little and make it more personal. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. This one is a little different. We write "Happy Birthday Jesus" on the back window of our SUV. When we are driving around town, it reminds everyone of the reason for the season.

  8. We make cookies for all the neighbors.

    lisa at aol dot com

  9. Lisa Rupertus, you are the winner! I'll email you!

  10. April I didnt get the email?? I gave you th wrong email! Lisarup1 at aol dot com


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