Christmas in the Big House Christmas in the Quarters

Christmas In The Big House, Christmas In The Quarters

Winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award 1995

A lavishly illustrated historical book describes Christmas on a pre-Civil War plantation from the viewpoints of the big house family and the slave quarters.---from the publisher

80 pages                                        978-0590430272                                Ages 9-12

Keywords:  Christmas, social conditions, social issues, 19th century, slavery, historical fiction, Black and African American, African American author, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, Coretta Scott King Author Award, Black Lives Matter, diversity, diverse books


Rich in historical detail and filled with luminous illustrations, this poignant book movingly describes the holiday celebrations of both slaves and slave owners on a pre-Civil War plantation.

The year is 1859, and it's Christmastime on a Virginia Plantation. The slaves are cleaning and setting up the Big House--where their masters live--for the festivities. The Big House is filled with warmth, colorful decorations, and yummy 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 is a historical tale as well as a holiday treat.--from the publisher


On a Virginia plantation in 1859, the slaves work hard to get the Big House ready for Christmas, and to prepare their own Quarters for the "Big Times" also. As they describe the goings-on during the weeks before Christmas as well as the actual rituals of the day, the McKissacks carefully and convincingly delineate the discrepancies between the two milieux-from the physical settings to the people's differing appreciations of the holiday's riches. The contrast is startling and stirring. This is a book of significant dimension and importance, and could be read at any time of year. The authors also add riddles, rhymes, recipes and copious notes. Rendered in acrylic on board, Thompson's remarkably realistic paintings are charged with emotion and masterfully tie together the book's diverse contents. Ages 8-13.---from Publisher's Weekly

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