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Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be
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Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  42 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In 1857, John Lord Pierpont sat down to write a song for his congregations Thanksgiving program, despite the fact that he was in Savannah, Georgia, struggling with miserable heat wave and a population that was troubled by his Unitarian churchs position on slavery. Homesick for New England (and cool weather), Pierpont ended up writing an enduringly popular holiday song. Thi ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2011 by Peachtree Publishers
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Margo Tanenbaum
Nov 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
No matter what our religious affiliation, we all know the much-loved holiday song, Jingle Bells, a favorite not only for Christmas albums but also sung at every elementary school sing-along. But how did this famous song get written?

Author John Harris was inspired by a historic marker he saw on a visit to Savannah, Georgia, to do a little investigating as to the history of the classic tune. He saw a marker about the history of the song, written by James Pierpont, music director at the Unitarian C
Aug 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
In this imagining of how John Lord Pierpont, a Savannah minister who had been transplanted from the North to the South, might have written the classic winter song "Jingle Bells," the author does a great job of making readers feel the Southern heat and humidity as well as hearing those jingling bells that are heard on sleigh in the snow. Although no one is sure exactly what prompted the song's creation or where it was written, this story seems highly possible. I enjoyed the title, but there are q ...more
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book about the author's fictionalized account of the writing of the song of Jingle Bells. The song is well-known and well-loved, but this is the first time I've read about how the song might have come about. The author explains in the notes at the end, the reasons for his fictionalizing the story. Apparently the exact origins of the song are unknown. All that is known for sure is that James L. Pierpont was the writer. I liked the idea presented in this book, that the song ...more

A story telling about the origins of the song "Jingle Bells." While it seems no one knows for sure where it was written, the artist and time frame are known. Savannah is believed to be the location, but another story does exist. Anyway, John Harris decided to set this story in Savannah during a heat wave at Thanksgiving time. James Pierpont writes a new holiday song every year for his church and this year they really needed something to lift their spirits. The members of the church included some

Dec 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-books
I wanted to love this book. The illustrations were delightful and I was excited to get the real story of how this classic Christmas song came to be.

Unfortunately, it is HIGHLY fictionalized. The author even added a pretty heavy story-line about slavery in the Unites States, which I then had to explain to my young children, including the scene early in this book where a brick is thrown through a church window by mobs. Racial tension in the South and black children adopted into white families is
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
As a novel and a holiday story, this book may have warranted a good rating, however the book is a "true" story of how John Lord Pierpont came to write the Christmas classic "Jingle Bells". The author admits to doing just a "little" research and unfortunately it shows with uncompleted story lines and contradictory information in the story and author's notes later in the book. While this book would be a good starting point to have numerous conversations about slavery, I only recommend it for paren ...more
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all ages
Recommended to Gmr by: Peachtree Publishers
You learn something new everyday, and this one I count amongst my holiday best. Its fun, it’s informative, it’s a journey into the past layered with enough fiction to keep it interesting…even for the youngest amongst you. I’ll bet you find yourself singing along as the lyrics are revealed…and why not? Tis the season. Oh, one more thing, watch for the visual aid Mr. Pierpont employs at the end of the children’s song. It was a brilliant way to bring a white Christmas down South.
I enjoyed learning about the origins of "Jingle Bells" until I discovered in the end notes that most of this story was imagined by the author. I put it on a nonfiction shelf here, so I could find it again, but I wonder what the real story was.
Debra  Golden
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
We have a class learning about James Lord Pierpont this coming Sunday, and this fictionalized version of how he wrote the song tells as much about the Unitarian church as it does about his inspiration.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Interesting to hear about how the song Jingle Bells came into being.
Debby Baumgartner
It is believe the song Jingle Bells written during a hot spell in Savannah Georgia.
Sharon Lawler
Relates the origins of one the the most popular holiday songs. Perfect for seasonal story time.
Dec 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: j-christian
Interesting bit of Christmas history in a picture book format. Very nice oil paintings by Adam Gustavson.
Mary Lee
The possible story of how Jingle Bells came to be written. Kids will love this.
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John Harris has written a number of books for children, including, most recently, My Monster Notebook. Of A Giraffe Goes To Paris (co-written with Mary Tavener Holmes), Publishers Weekly said, "This is history for children the way it ought to be written." He lives in California.
More about John Harris...

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