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

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  454 Ratings  ·  80 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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Dec 20, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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Feb 09, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdng-350-books
This is a wonderful story based on a true event - the yearly Santa Train in the Appalachian mountains. Legend has it that a rich man who was traveling through the mountains had an accident. The townspeople saved his life, and every year to repay their kindness, he sent out a train full of gifts, and tossed silver packages off the train to the children. One little boy always hoped for a doctor's kit, but never got one. After the little boy grows up, he becomes successful and desires to return to ...more
Dec 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A rich man was in an accident in Appalachia and the people cared for him. They refused his offers to pay them. So every year he returns at Christmas time in a Christmas train and drops silver packages for the children do the town...often the only presents they receive. Frankie is a young boy who waits each year for the train to come, always hoping it will have a doctor kit for him. It never does but does have other beloved objects. I love these lines the most, "...just when it seemed his feet wo ...more
Dec 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful Christmas story! This was the first time I had ever heard of the Appalachian Christmas Train and was intrigued about it enough to look it up and discover it was real and that 2018 will be it's 76th run!
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Selected as Christmas Read Aloud for my 3rd/4th grade students. Introduced story by talking about the real Christmas Train. Students were intrigued and very excited to hear the story. Also talked about how important childhood experiences and memories are, how they shape our future actions.
Ryann Lund
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a really wonderful book. I love how the old man helps pay back the people by giving them Christmas presents off the back of the train. And frank gets to be a doctor when he grows up.
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful story with a moral, typical of Appalachian folk lore! I loved this book! And, the illustrations are awesome! Highly recommended!
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ellie, jacob, mom
A story showing how God always provides what we need even more than what we want and yet never forgets our wants as well...krb 12/6/16
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“It was a little sad because Frankie wished for a doctor kit but every year he didn’t get one. I wish the little girl could get what she wished for. They were poor and the socks and mittens are important. It’s not good to be cold or hurt. At Christmas you get what you get and don’t get upset. It’s special because someone picked it out and gave it to you. Some kids don’t get any presents. Or maybe just one present that they need. I like this story but it is a little sad.” - V, age 4
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: story-time
This is truly, a perfect Christmas story. The paintings by Chris K. Soentpiet beautifully and tenderly illustrate this heart-felt story of hope, expectations and ultimately the true giving of oneself back to their community.
Bonnie Tesch
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Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Saccharin lesson in Paying it Forward. I didn't even like Soentpiet's art as much as usual. Why do most Christmas stories have so much sentiment that they can't be enjoyed the rest of the year?
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved this sweet story. There are good messages in this story that as an adult I am pondering. It is illustrated beautifully and will captivate a child. Love this story so much!
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful story. Several good teaching moments and themes in this lovely story about an Appalachian community. I always enjoy books by Cynthia Rylant.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-buy
This book pulls on the heartstrings. It also instills the pay it forward lesson. A wonderful story of tradition and kindness. The illustrations are some of the best I’ve ever seen!!
Miss Lilli
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love this book and read it at least once a year to a class or two that I teach. Nearly every time I read it, I need to be careful because it always makes me want to cry; it is that sweet.
Rebecca Caufman
Dec 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Sometimes what you want...isn't what you need. Be thankful for what you have and keep working hard.
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful children's story set at Christmas about dreams and what's really important. The illustrations are perfectly matched to the story.
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014reviews
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
Feb 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: for-kids
terrible. I'm unsure as to what the moral of this is supposed to be... rich people such and attached their guilt by bestowing gifts in the poor? put people want to stand beside by train tracks waiting for handouts? memories change? ick. ick. ick.
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rylant, Cynthia, and Chris K. Soentpiet. Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story. New York: Orchard, 1997. Print. Ages 8+ Silver Packages is an awesome and touching story that takes readers through Frankie's Journey. Ever since he was a little boy, he helped an older man, but then every year before Christmas he would wait and see what packages would come to him. He ends up getting everything that he needs at that point in his life in the packages. Even though he becomes bummed and discou ...more
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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
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.

Addendum, Dec. 2015. I had forgotten how powerfully this story could be. This time, I introduced the story with a brief discussion
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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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