The Polar Express turns 30
By Sheila Henline, a Librarian and OverDrive Collection Development Analyst.
Do you still hear the ring of the bells on Santa’s sleigh?
This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the book The Polar Express written by Chris Van Allsburg. If you have been on the planet that long, perhaps you remember reading or listening to this story as a child. As a children’s and school librarian I remember sharing this story with many young people over the years including my own daughters.
I encourage everyone to gather your readers in pajamas, robe and slippers; grab a cup of hot cocoa and listen to the Read Aloud version of this contemporary literary classic and 1986 winner of the Caldecott Medal. (This version is narrated by actor Liam Neeson and contains full orchestration.) Other ideas that can accompany this book is to follow up the story with an impromptu song fest including “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. A quaint gift to commemorate the story is a single silver bell that can be distributed at the conclusion of your event.
Be advised that all ages enjoy this story and is an excellent book for senior centers, assisted living facilities, a university student union and other places where people gather and share. Listen closely, you’re never too old to hear the ring of the bells on Santa’s Sleigh. As the Polar Express conductor says: “Merry Christmas!”