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Welcome Comfort

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  310 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Santa! He's not even real!

It's not easy being Welcome Comfort-a foster child always moving from home to home and getting picked on by the kids at school. Even Christmas, the most wondrous time of the year, isn't so wondrous for Welcome, since he has no family, no presents, and no Santa Claus. But when Welcome meets Mr. Hamp, the school custodian, he finally finds a friend.
Paperback, 40 pages
Published September 23rd 2002 by Puffin Books (first published 1999)
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Dec 28, 2009 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Polacco always delivers touching and heartwarming with such an interesting dose of the unexpected or unusual in her storylines--I just love how she finds the magic and uniqueness in everyday life. Here we have a foster child named Welcome Comfort who arrives at school and is instantly teased for being a big overweight. But, the kind custodian takes Welcome under his wing and soon they form a strong friendship that makes Welcome believe that perhaps there really could be magic (and Santa Claus) i ...more
Lisa Vegan
This isn’t my favorite Patricia Polacco book, and I’m not fond of Christmas books (especially around Christmas time) but Polacco can do little wrong in my eyes, and I did enjoy this book. As usual, she bases her fictional children’s picture books on real people and events.

This is the story of a foster child who is befriended by the school janitor, and grows up to give what he’s received. Santa Claus plays a role here, although it’s an unusual Christmas book.
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Welcome Comfort's life is nothing like his name. He doesn't feel welcomed at his new school because the kids tease him for being "fat" and as a foster kid without a family he doesn't feel much comfort. Then he meets, Quintin Hamp, the school custodian who quickly befriends Welcome and offers him friendship that is very much like family. The two do everything, make toys and birdhouses, and whittle wood. When Welcome tells Quintin he doesn't believe in Santa, Quintin tells him t ...more
Dec 04, 2010 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Another compassionate and thought-provoking story by Patricia Polacco. This story touches on bullying and kindness, believing in magic and finding your special place in the world. We have really enjoyed reading her books and will look for more at our local library.
The janitor at the elementary school loved children, but one day he overhears them making fun of a little boy named Welcome Comfort. He befriends the boy, who has spent his childhood being sent from one foster home to another. Welcome loves him and his wife, but is sad that they always leave him for Christmas. One Christmas, he wakes up to have Santa take him to deliver toys to all the kids. When he wakes up in the morning, he thinks it was all a dream. Then he grows up, marries, and is soon wor ...more
Apr 09, 2015 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Patricia Polacco's characters always speak right to my heart.
Dec 27, 2011 Breeana rated it it was amazing
Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco is an often-undiscovered gem of a Christmas story. I have no idea why this story isn’t ten times as popular as The Polar Express, because it runs along the same lines, but is much more truly magical.

The story begins with the kind custodian at an elementary school, Quentin Hamp hearing some children teasing a little boy who is new to the school. Welcome Comfort, already burdened with a name that makes him a target is also overweight, and has been bounced around
Dec 10, 2010 babyhippoface rated it really liked it
Touching story of a school janitor who befriends an overweight boy named Welcome Comfort who is being teased by other kids. Their friendship blossoms into a foster child/parent relationship, and the boy loves being part of this new family. But every Christmas Eve, the foster parents go up north, telling him, "it's just something we always do." Welcome is sad and alone, trying to force himself to believe in the Santa who has never brought him presents before. After Santa himself shows up in his r ...more
Feb 01, 2012 Lydia rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Oh, man. This one really got to me. I can absolutely say it was Polacco's illustrations that did it. This incredibly talented author/illustrator has a knack for capturing emotion on her character's faces in such a way that even the hardest of hearts will empathize.

Imagine being a foster child, tossed from home to home. Next, imagine being overweight. Finally, imagine being named Welcome Comfort. This gives you a little insight into the main character.

However, Polacco does not dwell on the nega
Dec 21, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Welcome Comfort is a foster child who experiences painful bullying episodes until the school janitor shows him kindness and how we find purpose in life. The kindness Welcome experiences with the janitor and his wife, the school librarian, transform his life and help him know just how to pay it forward.

This is a holiday book and there is a Santa Claus theme involved, but the message is universal. It's a message of love, compassion, and helping those around us. Polacco writes about this story at
Dec 21, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
We really love Patricia Polacco books. This one is about kindness and believing in what is not seen. Great discussion afterwards about how we need to believe in what we can not see, we believe in Jesus even though we can't see him...krb 12/21/15
You can always count on Patricia Polacco to write a wonderful story and illustrate it with warm, lovely pictures! This is no exception. She's my favorite.
Dec 17, 2015 Culleen rated it it was amazing
I read this to my 2nd grade library classes. What a wonderful story of hope and love. This is my new favorite Christmas story.
Kristine Hansen
Jun 08, 2015 Kristine Hansen rated it really liked it
A unique and unusual Christmas story that takes real people from the author's life and gives them a very special secret shared only with someone who is truly the 'right' sort of person to share that with. I liked how they reached out to this poor lonely boy and gave him family where he had none. Beautiful story!
Melanie Rightmyer
Nice illustrations, sweet story. Especially sweet for children who struggle with "fitting in" with their peers.
Mrs. Tongate
Dec 30, 2014 Mrs. Tongate rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas
Sweet Christmas read of the school custodian who befriends a new student, Welcome Comfort.

Bullying, kindness, and believin' is seein' message.

Always love Patricia Polacco's illustrations and message.
Jan 02, 2016 D. rated it it was amazing
The best Santa story ever and the artwork is so gorgeous
Dec 21, 2013 Libby rated it really liked it
Patrica Polacco has never been a favorite author of mine--I recognize both her skill and that her stories resonate with lots of kids, but they just don't usually click for me. This one did. It's a sweet story, and the adult main character is based on a real person, but this is a magical Christmas story. I've just read it once so far, but I think my kids have gotten their dad to read it already, and I won't mind reading it again. It's a little long for a bedtime story, unless it's the only one yo ...more
Oct 20, 2010 Niesha rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book, but I am always frustrated when the 'bad foster parent' myth is perpetuated by people whose experience with foster parents is obviously limited!
If the people who befriended the main character had gone through months' of training and intrusive interviews, then they may have been able to become foster parents, and maybe they could have been the foster parents to Welcome, and finally, they would have become like the "not real" family that Welcome was already living with.
Lacey Mcmanaway
Dec 14, 2012 Lacey Mcmanaway rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book has so many lessons. First, it shows bullying. It also shows the importance of role models. After reading it to a class I was subbing for the kids even described it as a life cycle. It is a touching story of a boy who finds a role model in a janitor at his school. In the end he discovers the janitor is Santa. However, be cautious it does involve holidays. Have to think of other religions!
Mar 29, 2009 Melody added it
A great story about what happens when people reach out to others. My nine-year-old brought this home from the school library and I teared up a couple of times while reading it. Patricia writes stories inspired by actual people in her life who made in difference in her life and the lives of others.
Aug 05, 2013 GalindoLibrarian rated it really liked it
Welcome Comfort is the name of the overweight foster child that is be-friended and be-familied by the old custodian at the local, small town elementary school. A Polar Express moment in a magical dream becomes a Santa transformation many years later as the old custodian retires from more job than one.
Jan 02, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
I believe in Santa. If you don't, read the book! I love Patricia Polacco's books!
Cathy Blackler
Dec 25, 2012 Cathy Blackler rated it really liked it
A magical Christmas story about the importance of belonging. Polacco weaves wonderful story elements together, addressing important topics such as bullying, mentoring and magic to remind us all of the power of believing.
I gave to two stars, but somehow the leap from kindly coupe loving a foster child into the couple being special beings (Santa) on Christmas eve is a bit much. I also didn't particularly enjoy the illustrations.
Dec 04, 2008 Jess rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 3rd grade and up
This book tells of a foster boy who is incessantly teased for his name, Welcome Comfort and his being fat. He soon finds a friend and family of sorts, finally find his place.
Jan 02, 2012 Teri rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
Really creative Christmas story!!! Nice lesson about how kids feel when they get teased--plus a really magical plot. Loved it. Love most books by this author.
Apr 23, 2011 Ashley rated it really liked it
A great story about what happens when people reach out to others. Can connect to foster children, or even those who have been adopted. Great Christmas story!
Andrea Labonte
Dec 17, 2014 Andrea Labonte rated it it was amazing
Bully is hard but read this story to find out about two loving guys that take it in there own hands. You will enjoy this book.
Mar 04, 2015 Aleisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
Delightful, festive fantasy. Welcome finds a place where he belongs in life and with it receives a new calling.
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