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2018 Lone Star Lit Holiday Gift Guide • BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS


Casandra Firmin

One Christmas in Old Tascosa

Texas Tech University Press

Hardcover ISBN 978-0896725881, 104 pages, $21.95


Tascosa, once a booming Wild West town complete with outlaws, cowboys, and gamblers, was all but deserted. Its only resident was Frenchie McCormick, a famous dance-hall girl from Tascosa’s glory days. In 1931 she was a frail and lonely woman in her eighties, living in a tumble-down adobe shack and waiting for Tascosa to rise again. This story is about Tascosa, the crushing poverty of the Great Depression and how twelve children, stranded in a one-room school house by an untimely blizzard, met Frenchie and created the Christmas pageant of 1931. A heart-warming read for young and old.


“Quintille Firman grew up dirt-poor on a Texas Panhandle homestead during the Dust Bowl era. In l931, she and a dozen friends experienced a special Christmas pageant at their schoolhouse in Tascosa that included a frightening blizzard. While the story, retold by her daughter Casandra, centers around one memorable incident, readers will feel the stunning strength and firm resolve these children of the Great Depression exhibited every day. Into this novella seeps hints of fathers who deserted, grim-faced mothers who stayed and children who could afford only one pencil for the school year. There are crumbling adobe shacks called home, threadbare clothing, schoolgirl crushes and unrequited puppy love. Kids and even adults will read this one twice.” —True West


”Quintille’s story, so poignantly retold by her daughter Casandra, speaks volumes about the human condition on the High Plains in 1931. It is hard to imagine that anything so simple as a lead pencil could break a budget, or that using two in one school year could constitute extravagance. Yet children in Old Tascosa at the end of the Depression and on the cusp of even more desperate times were, like their counterparts elsewhere on the Plains, accustomed to hardship and well used to shouldering their share of the family’s burden. They had no reason to know that life anywhere, or what constituted luxury, could be different. Not knowing they were deprived, they found joy as children will in friendships and games, and in the wonders of the school room. And in the simplest of Christmas pageants they found the prospect of bliss.” —Red Steagall, from the foreword




Ages 5–9

Sara Triana Mitchell, illustrated by H2 Alaska

Love Love Bakery: A Wild Home for All

Lucid Books

Hardcover, 978-1632961976; 44 pages, $17.99 (also available as ebook)



Jane and John bake sourdough bread at their bakery where all are welcome. Jane's son Leo urges them to "not let things go nuts." But as neighbors pile into the shop, it only takes one sneeze to set off an avalanche of mayhem. Jane urges Leo to look beyond the mess to the magic of creating a home for all.


Bread and belonging, coffee and community! Love Love Bakery: A Wild Home for All sings an anthem of "All Are Welcome.” This locally inspired inclusive book features a diverse cast of characters, a glossary, and a recipe for little bakers.



J.L. Novinsky

Heart of the Oak

Christian Faith Publishing

Paperback, 978-1635758177, 36 pages, $12.95


He's old and weathered, his skin is rough and knotty. But, oh, he has memories. Of joy. Of love. Of tragedy. He has endured many years and felt the sorrow of so much loss. But his greatest joy is just ahead! Children and adults will love Heart of the Oak, for generations to come.

“A wonderful lesson for both children and adults that God is in control and His mercies, grace and renewal are better than anything that we could ever imagine. My children and I LOVE this book. We had a wonderful and insightful conversation after we read it. God is at work ALL of the time. Joy can be found even during and after what can be seen as "crisis". I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone that has a child in their life." — reader









Shanna Spence

The Encouragement Letters

Book Liftoff

Paperback, 978-1947946125, 182 pages, $11.99



WILLIAM CROMWELL, at age eleven, knew what it was like living with new changes. In 1865, Manchester, England a new textile factory moved into town and after a tragedy that befell him and his mum, they struggled to live.


With so many things going on in his young life he wanted to be the encouragement that his father was to him. As everything changes along with terrible hardships, just maybe the hope he gives to the growing town will find its way to Will…




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