Nothing gets kids excited for the holidays like a good old-fashioned picture book. From Rudolph to The Night Before Christmas, holiday-themed books can help kids learn valuable lessons as they try to make sense of these traditions.
Sharon Davis, a nurse at Norman Regional Hospital in Oklahoma, spent her time in recovery writing a children’s book called “Legend of the Reindeer Shoes,” published in 2006.
She calls it a “story about how Jingle the North Pole blacksmith makes shoes for the reindeer, and sometimes they lose them.”
“If you find a shoe and hang it on the tree, you get an extra present from the reindeer,” she said of the book.
Davis even put pieces of her own life into the story using the compassion she developed while being a nurse. “The little boy is my son, the girl is my niece’s daughter, the cat in there is my cat,” Davis explained.
Her website describes the book as a tribute to the tradition of Christmas magic.
“According to the legend, the reindeer need shoes on their hooves before they can leave on their famous flight. During the trip their shoes are in frequent need of repair and replacing if lost. Jingle is there to attend to their needs and assure that the reindeer have a full set of shoes on their hooves for the job ahead.”
The story can be interpreted as a metaphor for healthcare. Reindeer need to keep their shoes in good condition to do their jobs. The same is true of our bodies.
Davis held onto her day job as a nurse after the book was published, but she described one night in which both of her passions collided. “I actually gave this book to a gentleman who ended up dying. He was a young guy, and he had a little girl,” Davis said.
She took care of him until he passed away a few days later. But the book made its way into his daughter’s hands before he died.
Davis said she hopes the book brought her some sense of comfort during the holidays. “I think of that in his living room with that little girl, so that’s good,” she added.
Her hope is that the book spreads joy to every child who reads it.
“Hopefully they can incorporate this into their family tradition, and enjoy it every Christmas Eve like it was intended,” Davis said.
When she’s not working, you often goes to book stores and libraries to read her book to kids. “I always ask my kids, ‘Did my book make you smile?’” said Smith-Davis. “When I see that smile it’s all good.”