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Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico
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Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  740 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
Published over 30 years ago, Nine Days to Christmas remains fresh and relevant. Ceci's first Christmas posada party and pinata have made her Mexican town come alive for generations of readers. "The youngest child will be completely transported by this lovely story".--The Atlantic. Three-color illustrations.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published November 1st 1991 by Puffin (first published September 18th 1959)
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Caldecott Medal Winners
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,187)
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A charming, sweet story about the posadas (special parties leading up to Christmas) and little Ceci getting to hold her very first one, with all the excitement and impatience that comes along with waiting for something special. The most exciting part of this is that she will have a pinata and gets to choose her very own. It's a gentle story, perhaps a bit overlong (especially for those used to today's picture books that zip along) but I savored it. Though have no experience to judge, it
Apr 09, 2010 Josiah rated it liked it
Nine Days to Christmas is, in my opinion, right up there with the very best Caldecott Medal winners and Christmas picture books. All throughout, I was truly amazed by the fabulous complexity of the drawings created by Marie Hall Ets, and by the sensitive story that evokes a memorable sense of the magic surrounding Christmas.

Ceci, a young girl living in Mexico, is excited about her upcoming posada celebration, her first one. It will be held nine days before Christmas, and means a whole new arra
Elizabeth S
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. At first glance, the artwork was totally not my style. But as I read and really looked at the pictures, I noticed and enjoyed the delicate detail of the pictures, yet with the simple feel that supports the story nicely.

And the story, oh, it is cute. And I really mean that. The little girl, kindergarten age, wants to know what it is like for the ducks in the pond, so she fills the bathtub and gets in and tries quacking... and it almost makes me want
Wow I really enjoyed reading this story! First of all because I am Mexican and I know all about the Christmas tradition. Ceci the main character which is a little girl made the story fun. She couldn't wait for the day of her posada to come. I really liked how she chose a star pinata for her posada because like the story explained, the star lead the three wise men to Jesus. This story brought me good memories and I really liked how I can relate to this story. Overall, I really like the whole stor ...more
This fabulous picture book might seem a bit outdated, but it does a great job of telling an authentic story based in Mexico in English, explaining a couple of traditions like 'las posadas' and 'las piñatas' to children unfamiliar with how Mexicans celebrate Christmas. But the religious information is outweighed by the descriptions of a traditional Christmas in Mexico.

In the story, the protagonist Ceci is awaiting her first 'posada', a pre-Christmas party which is thrown by a different person, in
Jun 23, 2008 Maria rated it it was amazing
This is one of my absolute favorite holiday books. Naturally, the art is similar to Gilberto and the Wind with taupe backgrounds, pencil drawings accented with white and yellow. This story however also uses pink which adds orange and browns to the spectrum as well. The story is set in Mexico in the 50's and is about a little girl's first posada. I like it for it's depiction of culture as well as having a more universal story about imagination and love that is not unlike the Velveteen Rabbit. One ...more
1960 Caldecott winner

I enjoyed some aspects of this book very much. Having lived in Texas many years and in San Antonio specifically, it is fun to see Los Pasadas portrayed in this way. There are many good things about this book and it was probably pretty amazing for its time, but there are certainly better ways to learn about the Mexican culture than this book now. There were things here and there that just struck me as being not quite okay.

The dedication actually started me on the wrong foot
Mar 29, 2016 Maria rated it it was amazing
i. Summary: Nine days to Christmas tells the story of a five-year-old girl named Ceci. Ceci was about to have her first posada which is a special Mexican Christmas party celebrated nine days before Christmas. The young girl is very excited about her party, but she is even more excited about selecting a piñata for it. It is very hard for the young girl to impatiently wait for this moment, yet towards the end, it was totally worth it – the posada and the piñata were all a success.

ii. Major Themes
Dec 08, 2015 Sheridan rated it really liked it
In this story a girl is excited about getting a piñata for her party but is worried she won’t get one so she talks to her doll Gabina. When her mom takes her to the store to finally get a piñata, she brings her doll with her to pick one out. She falls in love with the gold star piñata and brings it home but when it’s finally time to break it, she doesn’t want anyone touching it. As she watches from behind a tree her piñata being broken, she hears a star from up in the tree reassuring her that he ...more
Demi Burns
Dec 07, 2015 Demi Burns rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Nine Days to Christmas is a Mexican story book. It is about a little girl named Ceci who has to wait nine days until her posada; a special Christmas party. You follow the little girl through the nine days while she waits for the special Christmas party. Finally, on the day before the party, Ceci and her mom go to the market to look for a piñata. Ceci is overwhelmed with all of the piñata choices; rabbits, bears, elephants, donkeys, and many more. But there is one piñata in particular that stands ...more
Dec 01, 2015 Gabrielle.Norton rated it really liked it
Shelves: award-winners
The first thing that I noticed in this book was the illustrations as the pictures are all drawn in pencil with punches of color added in. These colors add a warmth and charm to the illustrations. Something interesting was the color choice. All these colors are warm color's, yellow, orange, red. It was interesting reading this book as it is about a girl who is having her first posada. In Mexico these are special parties held each night at a different house tell Christmas. This book is a good book ...more
Marybeth Batie
Dec 08, 2014 Marybeth Batie rated it really liked it
Shelves: t-l-307
Nine Days to Christmas is a story about a Mexican girl named Ceci who is going to have her first posada, which will take place nine days before Christmas day. When she goes to the market, the piñatas come to life and she must chose one of them for her posada, and she chose one that represented the Christmas star of Bethlehem. When the party happens she doesn’t want to break the piñata, but then realizes that breaking it gives her and the piñata a special connection. This is a great holiday child ...more
David Korsak
This book centers around a five year girl old named Ceci who is going to have her first posada. In Mexico, posadas are special Christmas parties held each night at a different house for the nine nights before Christmas. This story is about Ceci’s anticipation and preparation for these nine parties. This book does a wonderful job explaining the different traditions that come along with Christmas in different cultures. The illustrations in this book are done using pencil and only certain things ar ...more
Dec 14, 2010 Satia rated it liked it
Another holiday themed children's book. The illustrations for this one are deceptively simple and remarkably evocative. The story wasn't that interesting to me but might engage a child or even another reader. For more and for further exploration suggestions:
Mar 01, 2009 Julia rated it it was amazing
Beautiful chalk drawings on gray paper. A long story (picture) book about a little girl in a well to do family in Mexico city. (the maid figures prominently in the story.) Little girl is going to have her first Posada and she is so excited. Very clear picture of daily life in this town. Sweet ending.
Feb 15, 2016 Meltha rated it really liked it
I wasn't quite sure where this book was going at first, but I liked how it ended, even if it doesn't make sense in the strictest interpretation. Ceci's first posada party is described in quite a bit of details (for a Caldecott, this is a longer book and would require a significant sit-down time to read in a classroom). The cultural depictions of 1950s Mexico seem pretty accurate, and Ets mentions in her note that she spoke to several "little Mexicans" regarding the customs, so she seems to have ...more
Matthew Hunter
Nine Days to Christmas has plenty working for it - an adorable 5 year old girl as a protagonist, cultural relevance, black ink drawings with splashes of brilliant color. Our 5 year old particularly enjoyed the first half of the story. Then the length becomes a problem for a bed time read-along. If your kids are like ours, then they tend to fall asleep after not-so-much time reading. It took 2 bedtimes to complete this 48 pager. Not a big deal for a chapter book. But for a picture book about posa ...more
Jamie Singer

I think this is a great book to look at different cultures and values. It starts out about a girl named Ceci who is going to celebrate her first Posada in Mexico. These are special Christmas parties held each night at a different house for the nine nights before Christmas. This story talks about how she prepares for these nine days. This book is great at explaining the different traditions and culture of Mexicans versus what I am used to. The illustrations are mostly done in pencil and only cer
Nov 10, 2009 Katie rated it it was amazing
Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico
5 out of 5 Stars

The book was illustrated in a unique way. Pencil and charcoal drawings were used so that there were varying shades of black and gray. Parts of each illustration were brightly colored pink, orange, and yellow. All illustrations were on a creamy colored background, while the text popped out at the reader on a solid white background. Because the images were drawn and shaded with pencils or charcoal, there was a great sense of depth and dim

The Caldecott Award winner in 1960 was a co-production between an author of Mexican heritage and an American illustrator. Unfortunately it is out of print.

Ceci is a kindergartner who is finally old enough to stay up for a Mexican Christmas celebration called "Posadas," celebrated for nine days at the homes of different families with the final party on Christmas Eve.

This lucky little girl gets to have her own pinata! The story covers her anticipation and excitement, a day o
Xiaoxiao Zhu
Sep 12, 2012 Xiaoxiao Zhu rated it really liked it
Ceci's first time to market to get a posada which is used to broke at Christmas Day made her so excited. I have the same experience with her. I can still remember the how excited I was that day, I couldn't fall asleep at night and just thought what I want to buy tomorrow. So the first time Ceci chose a big star and put lots of good things in it though she didin't want anyone to break her big star. So she was so sad that others broke her star. However, miracle happened, the big star became the sm ...more
Shelby Haltom
Apr 28, 2016 Shelby Haltom rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-lit
This book tells a story of how all Gabina wants for christmas is a Piñata. Though she meets friends along the way, she finds an even better surprise. This book's illustrations really accentuate the characters of the story.
This book is not one of my favorites, but it was still good. I like how it tells of a different culture's Christmas customs.
I would use this book in my classroom during christmas time. I would like to share other culture's customs for Christmas with my class as well.
Amy Dennehy
Dec 04, 2012 Amy Dennehy rated it liked it
I thought this book was very interesting. The illustrations in this book looked like they were just lightly sketched out, not including a lot of detail. Most of the illustrations also only had the main points of the picture in color. I thought it was very creative because it directed the focus of the reader on that idea before going onto the rest of the picture. I also really liked how this story dealt with a culture unlike my own. Ceci’s family is from Mexico and celebrates Christmas much diffe ...more
Amber the Human
Mar 08, 2015 Amber the Human rated it liked it
I wanted a book about Christmas to read around Christmas time. And I've been (slowly) getting through the Caldecott Medal books, so I decided to go for this one. It was ... okay. Pretty long, with quite a lot of words, so maybe not a book for fidgety young ones. But it does teach some culture, so if you've got the patience, it's a sweet book. Of course, I fell asleep while reading it with my husband, so that's why I didn't finish it til Jan.
I found this to be a really interesting look into Mexican culture at Christmas, even my son was fascinated by the pictures. The story was a little long-winded in places and kind of went off-topic, but overall was well-done. It reminded me of Disney's "The Three Caballeros," as this tradition is mentioned in there. This book won the 1960 Caldecott Award. The story is about a girl in kindergarten named Ceci who is finally old enough to have her first posada, which is the search that Mary and Josep ...more
Bailee Loewen
Apr 22, 2016 Bailee Loewen rated it really liked it
Shelves: holiday
Ceci has finally reached the point in which she is old enough to have a posada-- a special celebration that occurs 9 days prior to Christmas where she will even get to choose her own piñata to have at the party. She is so excited, as any child would be, she can hardly contain herself. I love that this book discusses the holiday from the point of the Hispanic culture. This book felt very authentic to me. It is great for kids to be aware of other traditions besides their own and see ways others sp ...more
Apr 13, 2015 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a rambling narrative about the posadas, a Mexican Christmas celebration. It is an old story and we picked it up at the library because it was one of the Caldecott Medal-winning stories that we had not yet read. It was a good, but somewhat scattered tale. The pencil illustrations with splashes of color are interesting to look at. The book jacket recommends the book for children ages 3-8, but it's much too long for any 3 year-old I've known, and almost too long for our girls who are 6 and ...more
Eloise Davis
This book was very interesting to me. One thing that stood out to me in this story were the illustrations. They weren’t anything too special but they were simple and focused on the main points of the story. The story follows a little girl named Cici. She is excited for Christmas and the story is about what is special to her during the holiday season. I loved this story and thought that it was very creative and different. I would most definitely use this book in my classroom for an elementary cla ...more
Rachel Ball
Apr 30, 2016 Rachel Ball rated it liked it
I love the illustrations! I also really like the cultural aspect of the book. The story was a little odd at times but at the same time I thought it was kind of charming. I also thought it was a bit long for a children's picture book and you can definitively tell how dated the book is. Overall, I liked it and thought it was fun to read.
Jan 19, 2014 Haley rated it liked it
Shelves: caldecott
This is a cute book after the life of a little girl in Mexico, who is having her first Christmas party. The book was a little sad in the middle but ended on a happy note. This story would be good to read around Christmas time when you want to incorporate knowledge of other cultures. The book tells us a few things about life in Mexico and the traditions the people have there. Also if you wanted something really fun, you could bring in a piñata to have after the book is read.
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