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Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story
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Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  250 ratings  ·  47 reviews
In Appalachia each Christmas, a boy named Frankie waits beside the tracks for the Christmas Train, which will bring presents to the children who live in coal towns and hollows. Year after year, Frankie hopes that one particular gift a very special gift will be tossed to him from that train. It is this enduring hope that will guide him to the true meaning of the season. Ful ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published 2001 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

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Feb 09, 2010 Wilted rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Parents weaning their kids off The Velveteen Rabbit
Recommended to Wilted by: Thanks, Mom
My mother used to cry at this book. This seemed, at the time, to be the result of some mysterious and alien disease only contracted by those over the age of twenty-one. Not one to question the rituals of the adult world (which was probably responsible for some terribly stunted growth on my part, I'm sure), I never looked past the Christmas card pictures at the story.

I was not an illiterate child. There was nothing I liked more than a good story, but let's face it. My mother would have gotten m
After a wealthy man is injured in a car accident in Appalachia, he is nursed back to health by the locals only for them to refuse payment when he is well again. As a thank you, the wealthy man returns on a train every 23rd of December bringing Christmas gifts to the poverty stricken children of the area. One little boy hopes very much for a toy doctor’s kit. He receives other toys as well as warm socks, mittens and a hat throughout the years. The boy returns to the mountains as an adult with his ...more
Nov 25, 2009 Foxytocin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Foxytocin by: friend who is a children's librarian
A sweet and thoughtful story that addresses several important issues quite well: want vs need, the significance of giving with no strings attached, introspection....all very adult issues but portrayed in a way that thoughtful children will understand. This is the sort of book that when shared with our children, launches all sorts of conversations we should all probably have with our kids....some questions easier to answer than others.
It's also a tear-jerker for those adults who understand all to
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Silver Packages is a picture book for older readers most likely. I wouldn't say it is for an exclusively adult audience. But I think readers need some perspective in order to appreciate the book fully. I think it can resonate with readers, it has the potential. But I don't think the emotional reaction would be--or even should be--automatic. One can't assume that every reader will respond with tears and "this is the best book I've ever read!!!"

Silver Packages is about giving back to the communit
My district was fortunate to have Soentpiet visit a few years ago, and today while discussing Christmas books, one of my media clerks told me this was her favorite one. I had never heard of it, and was trying to come up with a book-themed Christmas decoration for a church gathering. I instantly loved the book when I read it, and set out to decorate a tree to represent the book. Who knew it would be so hard to find a simple train?? It's such a great story of paying it forward, and not necessarily ...more
Dec 29, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful tale about a young boy's desire to get a specific present from the Christmas train. On one hand, the disappointment the boy experiences when he doesn't get the gift he wanted seems quite sincere, though ungrateful. On the other hand, the story shows the boy grown up, truly appreciative of the items he received, especially those items he really needed. He realizes the magic of the continuous generosity of the man who tosses the packages from the train and finds a way to give b ...more
This is the story of two men: One who repays an emotional debt to a small town in the Appalachian mountains. He was nursed back to health after a car accident there, but the villagers refused his offer of money as repayment. To thank them, he returns every year by train to deliver presents wrapped in silver paper at Christmas time.

The other man: a boy, our narrator, remembers waiting for the train each year, hoping for a toy doctor's kit. But each year, the silver package tossed from the train
This is a story for an older group of student’s, maybe third or fourth grade, but it has a nice message and can be used in a classroom around the holidays for Text Participant discussion. This is why I placed the book in the Four Resource Model book shelf. The main character in this book is a young boy who comes from a low socio-economic-household. Every year a train comes around Christmas time and drops things for the children in the town like socks, sweaters ECT. The young boy wants gifts that ...more
A lovely, inspirational story about what really matters during the Christmas back, helping those in need, and never forgetting the kindness of others. Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story tells the story of a kindness unforgotten, as a rich man throws silver packages to the poor in the Appalachian Mountains as he repays the people who helped him after an accident long ago.

As a little boy waits and hopes for a doctor kit, he gets socks, mittens, and scarves instead. Ye
This book would get one and a half stars from me.
I think it was a great idea for Cynthia Rylant to write about such an extraordinary event as the Christmas train that rides through the Appalachian Mountains area every year. Though I have family roots in northeast Pennsylvania close to some of the old coal towns, I hadn't heard of the remarkable Christmas train situation that serves as the foundation for Silver Packages.
The amazing illustrations by Chris K. Soentpiet are some of the most incre
An amazing book about the power of giving
Nov 16, 2014 Kiddo added it
The illustrator was recommended to me.
A sweet Christmas story about the importance of giving back to the communities that help you become who you are. Each year a wonderful train makes its way through the Appalatian mountains while a man tosses silver-wrapped parcels from it to the poor children of the town. Often these are the only gifts the children may receive. What impact do these gifts have on the children who receive them? What does it mean to be grateful? With her usual aplomb, Rylant addresses both questions in this sentimen ...more
I checked this out from a library display, partly because the picture appealed, and partly because it was by Cynthia Rylant. I had to suggest it to the kids for the first reading, but after that they requested it several times. I thought it was a touching story, and it's interesting that it's based on a true phenomenon (the Christmas train). The kids loved the train, and the older two were able to understand that the boy who'd always hoped for a doctor kit eventually became a doctor.
More than just a charming Christmas story although it is that. I cry every time I read this book (even though I've read it to my boys over and over). Although I know that is partly because of benevolent people who were like "the old man in the blue wool coat" to my family when I was a child--it's deeper than that and it touches my soul each reading. At some point I hope to understand more fully why it effects me so deeply. (???) Read it and tell me what you think.
I've been reading this with my students in conjunction with a discussion of genre. What's really neat is that, even though the kids are really excited with all the holiday parties, when I get into the story, I notice that they become incredibly still--more so than with other stories I've tried reading right before break. This story really seems to resonate with them.
Beautifully illustrated story of a little boy growing up in Appalachia who enjoys the annual visit of the "Santa Train". A wealthy man throws packages off the train at the children. Each year the boy hopes for a medical kit. As an adult, he returns...with his own medical kit since he is now a Dr. Lots of words for my preschoolers but they held on with the story quite well.
I get teary whenever I read this book to my class.
Cynthia Rylant turns her childhood memories of a story of a train that would bring Christmas presents to children every year in the Appalachians into a simple story. Frankie wishes year after year for his gift to be a doctor kit. When he returns to his boyhood town as an adult, we see that his wish has become a driving force in his life.
Autumn Bumgarner
This was such a great story! I loved the pictures in the book they really captured the words are on that page. I think you could do an activity with this book also. Have the students write a paragraph about what they want to be when they grow up and what inspires them to be what they want to be when they grow up.
W.H. Beck
Lesson Notes
Find the Appalachians on the map and talk about what it's like to live there (4th graders study US regions).
How is Frank going to pay back his debt?
Share photo of the Christmas Train today:
This is another in the long list of books by Cynthia Rylant that everybody would be better off having read. Not your typical Christmas story, this book offers us the story of a giving and kindness and more than anything the concept of appreciating what you have for its own good.
The Children's Department At EPL
This is a great story with a wonderful Christmas lesson for all ages. This year I read it to 4 & 5th graders, and they really heard the message that is in this story. It is one of my all time Christmas books to share with children and my own family.
Paul  Hankins
A lovely story that will be familiar to those in the Appalachian region. Rylant's stylings with Soentpiet's majestic paintings. Putting this one out there as friends look for holiday-themed read-alouds to share over the winter break.
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Angie Libert
Neither the illustrations nor the title of this book seemed alluring to me, but I read of the great recommendations from others, so I gave the book a try. I was so good! I am glad I did not judge a book by it's cover. :)
One of my favorite Christmas books. Beautiful story told in a very simple way...not forcing its message on you. Equally important and impressive are the beautiful illustrations. Never fails to make me cry!
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An author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for children and young adults as well as an author and author/illustrator of picture books for children, Cynthia Rylant is recognized as a gifted writer who has contributed memorably to several genres of juvenile literature. A prolific author who often bases her works on her own background, especially on her childhood in the West Virginia mountains, she ...more
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