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

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  393 Ratings  ·  70 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Andrea Hussey
Dec 21, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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: jacob, ellie, 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
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!
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
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
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
Rosa Cline
3 stars

This was a child's book but I felt it was to 'old' for my granddaughter and or my special needs teenage children so I read it myself before I returned it to the library.

I like stories like this one. Based upon real life events that changed the hearts of others. And without these types of stories those of us who didn't live it would never know about it. This story is about giving back to those that can't do anything for you. Giving back to the home you were from. And believing in your drea
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those familiar with generosity of the Appalachian people.
I am almost appalled that no one has ever told me about this story. I just chanced upon it one day and, after reading the story, I am delighted to have had such luck. I'm am surprised that people are not shouting the praises of the book from the highest hilltops of Appalachia. Having lived in the foothills of Appalachia my whole entire youth, and having attended a school where one of the promises they like for you to make it to come back to the region to serve, I have an appreciation for this ta ...more
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: storytime-kidlit
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
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a little like the pay-it-forward stories. A man is helped when he is in need. To say thanks, he helps others at Christmas time by giving gifts. Because of this service, a young boy grows up and wished to help others.

I was able to see the correlation between it all and appreciated the lesson it taught. I'm not sure all my children understood the lesson completely, to them it was just a nice story.
May 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
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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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