The Bells of Christmas by Virginia Hamilton and Lambert Davis, 1989 first edition.


Written by Virginia Hamilton. Illustrated by Lambert Davis. First edition, 1989. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers.

A traditional story of an Ohio Christmas, 1890.

"Christmas comes but once a year," Mama said, eyes shining at me. "Only two more days!"

"Christmas never comes when you are twelve, was what I thought. Each day was as long as a month. And the closer Christmas came, the more never it felt to me, even when I sat at my special place along the National Road."

Front Flap:

"Bells! There are bells on the Christmas tree, church bells, and harness bells. But most important for Jason are the Bells who will arrive on Christmas Day: Uncle Levi Bell, Aunt Etta Bell, and cousin Tisha Bell, Jason's best friend. ...

"For generations Jason's family has lived beside the historic National Road near Springfield, Ohio. Although he knows the story of drovers and Conestoga wagons and Christmas one hundred years ago, Jason wonders how the holiday will be celebrated a hundred years in the future. Will there really be horseless carriages in the twentieth century? And sleighs that fly through the air?"

Virginia Hamilton (1936-2002) was an acclaimed American author of 41 children's books spanning various genres and themes. She was born in 1936 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where she grew up listening to stories from her parents and her grandfather, who had escaped from slavery on the Underground Railroad. She studied at Antioch College and Ohio State University, and married poet Arnold Adoff in 1960. She was the first Black author to win the Newbery Medal for her novel M. C. Higgins, the Great (1974), and also received the National Book Award and the Coretta Scott King Award. Hamilton received the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the Nobel Prize of children's literature. Hamilton drew inspiration from her family's stories of escaping slavery and living on a farm in Ohio, as well as from African-American folklore and history.

Lambert Davis is a fine artist, muralist, and illustrator who was born in Hawaii and now lives in Australia. He has illustrated several picture books, including The Jolly Mon and Trouble Dolls by Jimmy Buffett and his daughter Savannah Jane Buffett; The Bells of Christmas and The Dark Way: Stories from the Spirit World by Virginia Hamilton; and The Journey: Stories of Migration by Cynthia Rylant. He also wrote and illustrated his own book, Swimming with Dolphins, which depicts a girl's encounter with a pod of dolphins.
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Condition: Fine/Near Fine. Dust jacket: Light shelf wear. Gold embossed blue/green quarter bound cover boards. "Christmas, 1989" written on title page else pages are clean, undamaged, and complete.

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