Christmas Fairies for Ouma (Hardcover)
Tessa, who lives in our snowy US, makes a holiday card to send to her Grandmother ("Ouma") in Capetown. She decorates it with red mittened fairies, but neglects to put her Grandmother's address on the envelope: "no name, no street, no real stamps." Thanks to the kindness of others, the card miraculously finds its way to Ouma. This story is based on an incident in the author's own life. Former South African and Ann Arbor author McDivitt has done a masterful job of incorporating those elements that make it most fun to read and reread a picture book to a young child: repetition ("No Real Stamps"!), hidden pictures (I gave up after counting two dozen fairies), and a few new words. I particularly want to try koeksisters!
— From Carla's Picks (2021-2022)
Follow the magical journey of a child’s Christmas card traveling 10,000 miles across the world, from the hand of one stranger spreading cheer to another, all the way to Ouma. Is it kindness or Christmas magic? With gorgeous illustrations, hidden fairies on every page, and a heartwarming message of caring and connection, Christmas Fairies for Ouma shares Christmas joy and celebrates the love between a grandparent and grandchild.
An unusual card travels around the world.
Tessa, who lives in America, draws fairies on a Christmas card and mails it to her Ouma (grandmother) in South Africa. The unstamped message includes no recipient information besides “Ouma, Cape Town, South Africa.” But thanks to the kindness of postal workers, the technically unmailable card wends its global way—until, improbably, it arrives in Cape Town. A man named Peter discovers it accidentally tucked inside his own mail and, charmed by the artwork, decides to paste it on a local baker’s window, in case the woman passes by. But a gust of wind blows it away…straight into Tessa’s Ouma’s hand. Thus, the wayward card is miraculously delivered, ostensibly through fairy and Christmas magic. This sweet, upbeat holiday tale, sprinkled with English, Afrikaans, and isiZulu words commonly used in South Africa (defined in a glossary), hits the right seasonal note with its hopeful message. The story’s premise might seem fantastical, but in an author’s note, McDivitt mentions she and her sister Tessa, then Minnesota youngsters, successfully sent just such an unorthodox holiday mailing to their grandmother in South Africa. Colorful illustrations exude lively energy, well suited for a story about mail flying globally; the mileage the card travels (including figures) is indicated by red dotted lines throughout. Various international landmarks and scenes are depicted. Tessa, Ouma, and Peter present White; background characters are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)
Warm holiday fun with a charming international flavor. (information about South Africa, fun facts about South African Christmas celebrations) (Picture book. 4-8)—Kirkus Reviews
“Christmas Fairies for Ouma is a sweetly crafted Christmas book that invites readers to believe in the joy, magic and kindness of the holiday season. The story’s expansive vocabulary and endearing artwork take readers on a whimsical journey showing that love and connection are the best gifts of all!”
—Marianne Richmond, bestselling author of I Love You So…
Christmas Fairies for Ouma celebrates the far-reaching love between a grandmother and grandchild, and the small acts of kindness that add up to real-world magic. The red line that follows Tessa’s letter from America to South Africa through these pages is so much more than the yarn that knits Tessa’s mittens—it is the thread of goodwill that connects person to person across miles and seasons. Each person who decides to pass Tessa’s letter along has felt the kindness of another, and so her card for Ouma travels on that current of kindness despite having no name, no street, and no stamps. Sometimes, the book reminds us, love is enough.—Molly Beth Griffin, author of Ten Beautiful Things and The Big Leaf Leap
“Christmas Fairies for Ouma is sure to inspire kindness and hope in young readers. I love how this story, infused with magic and love, celebrates the power of art. The journey of Tessa’s handmade card is a heartening reminder that there are good, helpful, compassionate people all over the world.”—Artist Kayla Harren, award winning illustrator of A Friend Like You. And just out A Planet Like Ours (and many others), https://www.kaylaharren.com/about
“A hand-drawn card--without a street address or stamps--travels 11,786 miles and somehow reaches the right grandma. Did fairies have anything to do with it? Lindsey McDivitt mixes acts of kindness and varied cultural backgrounds into the tale, which is based on an actual family happening.”—Nancy Shaw, author of the beloved Sheep in the Jeep series
“A sweet story of one letter’s miraculous journey propelled by kindness. It warmed me like a pair of hand knit mittens.”—Michelle Schaub, author, Kindness is a Kite String: The Uplifting Power of Empathy
“A heartwarming Christmas miracle--my favorite kind.”—Leslie Helakoski, award winning author of Are Your Stars Like My Stars?
Tessa draws a picture of Christmas fairies for her ouma, Afrikaans for grandma, who lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She sends the letter without an address, stamps, or a name. The Christmas fairies drawn on the letter magically make their way through London, France, Spain, Morocco, and the Sahara Desert. The letter arrives to South Africa, but it can't be delivered without an address or a name, so a little Christmas magic comes into play to get the letter into the hands of ouma. The illustrations are timeless and so dynamic. Bukiert brought the drawn fairies to life and it's so fun to see them fly around and explore the world on their way to South Africa. The author's note has a list of South African Christmas traditions. This would be a great addition to a Christmas around the world celebration. —Provo Library Children's Book Blog