The Family Under the Bridge (1959 Newbery Honor)

Every Christmas I choose for our read-aloud time a book that exemplifies the spirit of the season. I look for stories that show characters who sacrificially give and who, through their trials or circumstances, find the true meaning of the holiday. Some of my past picks have included The Great Christmas Kidnapping Caper, The Light at Tern Rock, A Christmas Carol, and this year we read The Family Under the Bridge, which illustrates the plight of the homeless during Christmas. The story takes place in the romantic city of Paris, where a Hobo named Armand becomes reluctantly entangled with three small children and their prideful single mother. No longer able to pay her rent “Mrs. Calcet” is forced to the streets. Rather than have her children placed in an orphanage she hides her family under a bridge. There they meet Armand, who opens his fiercely guarded heart to these precious little “starlings” to assume the role of surrogate grandfather. This tramp who has nothing ends up providing the children with a meaningful and memorable Christmas. The message is a good one, and the story will help kids who do have to be more mindful of those who don’t.

Various Christmas reading lists:

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