Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas From Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber; Read by Tom Brokaw, Book Review

I absolutely love this time of year. One of the things that we do as a family each year is add a Christmas book to our already vast collection of books. In recent years I've been looking for books that have a meaningful message. Christmas from Heaven has just that. 

Read by: Tom Brokaw
Illustrated by: Robert T. Barrett
Published by: Shadow Mountain
Released on: October 15th, 2013
Source: from the publisher to review
Purchase it from Deseret Book Store
5 Owlets: We LOVED IT!
Add it to Goodreads

Christmas from Heaven is the story of the humble beginnings of what became a beacon of hope to a war-torn land, the story of Gail Halvorsen, a young pilot in the US Army Air Corps who was assigned as a cargo pilot to the Berlin Airlift, in which US forces flew much-needed supplies into a Soviet-blockaded Berlin.
As he performed his duties, Lt. Halvorsen began to notice the German children gathered by the fences of Tempelhof Air Base. Knowing that they had very little, he one day offered them some chewing gum. From that small act, an idea sprang: He would "bomb" Berlin with candy. Fashioning small parachutes, he and his crew sent them floating down as they approached the Berlin airport, wiggling the wings of their C-54 as a signal to the children that their anticipated cargo would soon arrive.
Lt. Halvorsen became known by hundreds, if not thousands, of children in Berlin as "Uncle Wiggly Wings" or "The Candy Bomber." Word soon spread, and donations of candy and other supplies poured in from sympathetic Americans. Lt. Halvorsen's small idea became a great symbol of hope not only to German children in a bombed-out city but to all those who yearned for freedom.
I love Christmas books, but most importantly books that capture the true meaning of the season. This is a true story about WWII veteran Hal, aka "The Candy Bomber" who wanted to give more than two sticks of gum to the children who were behind the barbed wire fence where he was stationed at. Inspired to give something back to them, Hal's idea of having candy rain down from the Heavens on Christmas via little parachutes he made, soon grew into something huge. Soon fellow servicemen/women were donating their candy, and as were folks from back home. More than 18 tons of candy were dropped out of the sky for the children.

This story hit a soft spot for me both in it's message that giving doesn't always come in large forms. Often times the best gifts are the small acts of service/giving, and two, being that this is a war story also meant a lot to me, as my Grandfather was a POW of WWII. In the face of uncertainty, Hal gave HOPE to not only those children who waited eagerly on the other side of the barbed wire fence, but he gave hope to those whom he served with and those back home, here in the US. The message, the story, and the illustrations made it easy for my family & I to be reminded of what the true meaning of the season is really all about.

This is a must have Christmas book! If you're looking for a book that adds meaning to this holiday season, Christmas from Heaven is a book I'd highly recommend picking up. Not only this is a TRUE story, it's a book that really captures the heart of what the season is all about, giving. This also makes a great gift. The book also comes with a DVD that includes Tom Brokaw telling the story, with music by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain for this wonderful gift!

Here's a snippet of the DVD featuring Tom Brokaw telling the story:

If you're looking for more gifts for this holiday season:

Check out this collection of Biblical Names of Christ Heirloom Ornaments, also from Deseret Book. I absolutely love this ornament set. The set comes in a box, and on the back of the box it lists each biblical name of Christ you'll find on the ornaments, as well as the scripture where each name is found. You can purchase this 12 piece set here.

About The Author:

Tom Brokaw is one of the giants of television journalism. Anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004, he also holds the honor of being the only person to host each of NBC News’s major news programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press. He has won several awards, including a Peabody Award and seven Emmys. He is the author of The Greatest Generation andThe Greatest Generation Speaks, among other books. He and his wife, Meredith, have three daughters and five grandchildren
Robert T. Barrett is a professor of illustration at Brigham Young University, received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in painting and completed postgraduate work in Germany. An accomplished painter, muralist, and illustrator, his work has been featured in many national magazines and in art exhibits across the country and in Germany. He and his wife, Vicki, have ten children and one grandchild and reside in Provo, Utah.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~