Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Review: Christmas From Heaven w/Names of Christ Ornaments


For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

~ Isaiah 9:6

We’ve read these words several times already this month.  Every time, I hear the harmonious chords of Handel’s Messiah resounding in my mind – thank you, Mom!

It’s a sweet reminder that when the road is dark – as it is every morning commute these days – and life leaves us bone-achingly weary, there is a Light shining through.  A Mighty King stepped down from His throne to be lowly and small, the weakest of all, pouring His heart out for you, for me.

We’ve been blessed with much this season, and one sweet book we’ve recently enjoyed brings history to life.  “From little things come big things,” we’re reminded in this story of the Berlin candy bomber, Christmas from Heaven. 

Christmas-from-Heaven_Berlin Candy BomberSynopsis

Christmas from Heaven is the story of the humble beginnings of what became a beacon of hope to a war-torn land, the story of Gail Halvorsen, a young pilot in the US Army Air Corps who was assigned as a cargo pilot to the Berlin Airlift, in which US forces flew much-needed supplies into a Soviet-blockaded Berlin.

As he performed his duties, Lt. Halvorsen began to notice the German children gathered by the fences of Tempelhof Air Base. Knowing that they had very little, he one day offered them some chewing gum. From that small act, an idea sprang: He would "bomb" Berlin with candy. Fashioning small parachutes, he and his crew sent them floating down as they approached the Berlin airport, wiggling the wings of their C-54 as a signal to the children that their anticipated cargo would soon arrive.

Lt. Halvorsen became known by hundreds, if not thousands, of children in Berlin as "Uncle Wiggly Wings" or "The Candy Bomber." Word soon spread, and donations of candy and other supplies poured in from sympathetic Americans. Lt. Halvorsen's small idea became a great symbol of hope not only to German children in a bombed-out city but to all those who yearned for freedom.


Famed broadcast journalist and author Tom Brokaw brings this remarkable true story to life in a stunning live performance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, captured on the accompanying DVD. Also included in the book is a template and directions for creating your own “Candy Bomber” parachutes.

About the Author

Tom_BrokawTom Brokaw is one of the giants of television journalism. Anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News from 1982 to 2004, he also holds the honor of being the only person to host each of NBC News’s major news programs: The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press. He has won several awards, including a Peabody Award and seven Emmys. He is the author of The Greatest Generationand The Greatest Generation Speaks, among other books. He and his wife, Meredith, have three daughters and five grandchildren.

About the Illustrator

Robert T Barrett

Robert T. Barrett is a professor of illustration at Brigham Young University, received a bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in painting and completed postgraduate work in Germany. An accomplished painter, muralist, and illustrator, his work has been featured in many national magazines and in art exhibits across the country and in Germany. He and his wife, Vicki, have ten children and one grandchild and reside in Provo, Utah.

Format:  Hardcover with jacket, 11x9, 32 pages, 13-minute DVD included
Age Recommendation: Any
Publisher:  Shadow Mountain
List Price:  $21.99 (currently 10% off!)
To Buy:  http://deseretbook.com/Christmas-Heaven-Tom-Brokaw/i/5108410  

Mom’s Review 
I’ve been looking to expand our list of Christmas book favorites without going overboard on Santa, and this particular book is a newly-discovered gem!  It is one of the few books I can think of that will appeal to just about anybody!ChristmasFromHeaven

  • It has lots of history facts for the history buffs and fact lovers, including real photos and letters.
  • It has sweet illustrations and a classy graphic design that ties nicely with the storyline.
  • It is inspiring, describing how something little – a couple pieces of gum – becomes something enormous – that brings hope to little children, unites Americans in a spirit of giving, and mends relationships broken by war.
  • It is about kids and candy!  (this being a particularly important factor for Miss Esmé)


  • It’s a good length for a family read-aloud –
  • and should one not like reading at all, it even includes a short DVD with live performances by Tom Brokaw and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir…
  • …which should also appeal to your music lovers!

As a Protestant Christian, I found the book perfectly appropriate for our celebration of the Advent.

Because of the book’s universal appeal, it is a terrific gift for just about anyone, even those tough folks who “already have everything.”


And the ornaments…

Along with the book, we received a Biblical Names of Christ 12-ornament set.  These are perfect for our Christ-centered celebration with their corresponding scripture references.  They look classy – with a somewhat-rustic look that corresponds with the book’s illustrations and will blend well with most tree color themes.  At the same time, they are lightweight (for little trees like ours) and not easily breakable.


Create a Christ-focused holiday tradition as you review the sacred names of the Savior. Display these antique pewter-finish ornaments on the tree, as gift tags, or adorning a wreath on the front door. A list of scripture references is included, perfect for a "Twelve Days of Christmas" countdown. 12-piece set.

Format: Ornament size: 3¼" x 3¼". Hooks & twine NOT included.
Producer: Zions Mercantile
List Price: $14.95
To Buy: http://bit.ly/1h3s7JD
Disclosure:  Thanks to Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain for providing review copies of this book and the ornaments.  I received these for free in hope that I would mention them on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”