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Silver Packages – An Appalachian Christmas Story

The fifth and last in our series of Christmas Literature Units, this book holds a heartwarming tale of generosity and giving back. There are lots of great learning opportunities in this charming book. I hope you’ll join me to see what might be in these Silver Packages!

A learning unit based on the wonderful Christmas Train story by Cynthia Rylant. The fifth and last in our series of Christmas Literature Units, Silver Packages holds a heartwarming tale of generosity and giving back.

This last book in our Christmas Literature Studies Series holds a special place in my heart, because it is about my home in the mountains. The author lives about 30 minutes from my home, and our library has a HUGE selection of her books. But I don’t just love her books because she is a fellow West Virginian, but because the books I have read have touched me deep in my heart. She is the author of such famous books as the much-loved Henry and Mudge series and The Relatives Came, along with more than 100 other children’s books.

As with several of the books we have read this week, I had tears in my eyes by the time I finished this book. It was such a touching story of needs answered just in time and generous servant hearts that I just couldn’t help myself. (That, and I cry a lot more that I like to admit.)

The story is about a rich man who has been saved and nursed back to health by people in the Appalachian mountains. But they won’t take any payment for their care so he decides to give back by bringing Christmas gifts to the children on a train. The children all gather around the train and wait anxiously to see what their silver package might contain. Frankie waits with all the other children, but he really wants a particular present. He wants a doctor kit. Will Frankie ever get his doctor kit?

There are lots of different ideas for learning from this book, so lets get into it!

Christmas Literature Unit Study

Character / Biblical Studies

Generosity – The rich man is very generous with his presents to the Appalachian children. Who else shows generosity in this story? Is it really generosity if we expect something in return? Is it generosity if you are repaying a debt? Check out the Focus on the Family Kids of Integrity Lessons on Generosity.

Find a way to be generous – Buy some gifts for a needy family, and make sure they get at least one gift this Christmas. It might even be fun to wrap the presents in silver wrapping paper, and add in a copy of this book. Some ideas are single parent families, families that have had a job-loss this year, families facing a health crisis, or children in foster care. It doesn’t have to be someone in Appalachia – reach out to the people in your own community!

Contentedness – I love the feeling of contentedness I get from this story. Many people in Appalachia are very poor, but they never complain. They just keep living life and working hard. And every once in a while, they accept packages in silver wrapping paper. How did the people who helped the rich man show contentedness with their life?

Learning Opportunities

Trains – The Christmas train is a central theme in this book. It would be a great start to a wonderful study of trains! Be sure to talk about the science of steam while you are studying trains, too!

Appalachia – The Appalachian mountains cover 13 states stretching from Canada to Alabama. What a wonderful book to jumpstart a wonderful geography / history unit on this beautiful area with so much history! Homeschool Share has several Appalachian book connection studies, including one on this book! Be sure and check them out!

Health Care – Frankie really wants a doctor kit. Why do you think that was the thing he wanted the most? How can we take care of our bodies best? You could do a study on the human body, and talk about how doctors help us to be healthy.

I hope you have enjoyed this book and the others as much as I have! Please let me know in the comments if you have enjoyed these mini-units, and what you would like to see next!

Christmas is my favorite time of the year, a season of giving! These Christmas Book Unit Studies will help your kids to focus on the reason for the season!

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