Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters

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Scholastic, Oct 1, 2002 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 68 pages
6 Reviews
The year is 1859, and it's Christmastime on a Virginia Plantation. The slaves are setting up the Big House -- where their masters live -- for the festivities. The Big House is filled with warmth, colorful decorations, and delicious food... but there is talk of war and a sense that times may be changing. In the quarters -- where the slaves live conditions are poor, dirty, and cold, but the slaves are filled with hope for better times ahead, and they sing songs of freedom.

Moving deftly between two worlds, this beautifully illustrated book by award-winning authors Patricia and Fredrick McKassick is a rich historical tale as well as a holiday treat.

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Review: Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters

User Review  - Gale - Goodreads

“A Tidewater Upstairs, Downstairs” In some 60 pages (followed by 4 pages of Notes) the authors present a faithfully detailed account of the contrasting ways that Christmas was celebrated in the Big ... Read full review

Review: Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters

User Review  - Shauna Drossart - Goodreads

This book would be good for middle elementary students (grades 3-4). It shows the different ways both slaves and slave owners celebrated Christmas during the Civil War. This would be great to go with a History lesson, and introduce some of the ideas of slavery and vocabulary. Read full review


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About the author (2002)

Patricia C. McKissack, 1944 - Patricia C. McKissack was born on August 9, 1944 in Smyrna Tennessee. After her parents divorced, she went to live with her grandparents in St. Louis. Years later, she moved back to Tennessee with the rest of her family and made the reacquaintance of her old friend Frederick. They both attended Tennessee State University, where Patricia graduated from in 1964 with a Bachelor's Degree of Arts in English. She went on to receive her Master's in Early Childhood Literature and Media Programming at Webster University in St Louis in 1975. After college, Patricia worked as a junior high English teacher and a children's book editor, but she didn't truly enjoy either job. One day her husband asked her what she'd really like to do and she said, "Write books." They have been collaborating together on books ever since the 80's, writing over a hundred books. Frederick does the research and Pat does the writing, with subjects ranging from racism, the Civil War, slavery and biographies of famous African Americans. Pat writes fiction on her own. Patricia has won many awards, including the 1993 Newberry Honor Book Award for "The Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural," the 1993 Coretta Scott King Award, the Caldecott Medal for "Mirandy and Brother Wind" and the 1998 Virginia Hamilton Award for making a contribution to the field of multicultural literature for children and adolescents, as well as the NAACP Image Award for "Sojourner Truth.

Brenda Niall is a former Associate Professor of English at Monash University. John Thompson is Chief Manuscripts Librarian at the National Library of Australia.

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