Christmas in Canaan

Christmas in Canaan

4.0 2
by Kenny Rogers, Donald Davenport
     
 

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In the quiet, rural town of Canaan, Texas, a clash between two classmates -- one, a tough farm boy, and the other, a bright, black, aspiring writer -- spins into an unlikely friendship. When the clever arrangement their families devise to teach DJ and Rodney a lesson seems hopeless, their cooperative effort to heal a wounded puppy helps them move past an unsettled

Overview

In the quiet, rural town of Canaan, Texas, a clash between two classmates -- one, a tough farm boy, and the other, a bright, black, aspiring writer -- spins into an unlikely friendship. When the clever arrangement their families devise to teach DJ and Rodney a lesson seems hopeless, their cooperative effort to heal a wounded puppy helps them move past an unsettled battle. Not surprisingly, the truce that follows becomes an amiable kinship.

But can life in Canaan lived under the shadow of racism ever really deliver the milk and honey of the Promised Land? It is amidst the magic of a Christmas they'll never forget that the boys learn a lesson about family, hope and love. And they will know for the rest of their lives that when times are hard, there will always be Christmas in Canaan.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Country and western star Rogers and co-writer Davenport deliver a novel of interracial friendship that opens in the 1960s. As punishment for fighting-after Texas farmer's son DJ tells off bookworm Rodney "for actin' so smart for a colored"-the two boys must spend several days in each other's home. A rocky start gives way to friendship, charted here as the novel tracks the boys' growth through turbulent times to manhood. Some of the plot twists are more akin to the neatly made stuff of TV drama. For instance, a meager but memorable Christmas in which the only gifts are catalogue pictures is recreated years later (after Rodney has achieved success as a playwright), this time with real gifts. Even so, the writing is able and the narrative marked by a number of genuinely moving moments. All ages. (Oct.)'
VOYA
When strong, white DJ and smart, black Rodney get into a fistfight, they are served an unusual punishment. DJ is to go to the other side of town to stay with Rodney and his grandmother for two days. Rodney must do the same with DJ's family, the Burtons. Their experience provides an unlikely beginning to a lifelong friendship, especially because the setting is rural Texas during the Civil Rights era. When Rodney's grandmother dies, Mr. Burton offers to take the youth into the family despite his own father's protests. Racist neighbors, Civil Rights activists, and poor farm conditions in the 1960s test their friendship. Rodney is able to turn hard times into fascinating stories as DJ's dad turns poor times into a plentiful Christmas. Country music singer Rogers and his coauthor provide fast-paced and engaging action. The reader chases down injured animals, rides along to rescue Rodney from a racist attack on the Civil Rights meeting, and gathers for a family Christmas right along with the characters. During the last few chapters, adult Rodney recaptures these events and uses them as material for his plays; however, this device is redundant and melodramatic. Recommend this book to readers who want a more positive glimpse at an uncivil period in U.S. history. It is a quick read with honest characters and a light sermonizing tone. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, HarperCollins, 336p, Reddy-Damon
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-A poor white boy who is academically challenged and shares his neighbors' racial prejudice becomes friendly with a book-loving black boy when they rescue and raise an injured pup together. Set in East Texas in the early 1960s with a flash-forward to the boys' adulthood in 1975, this well-intentioned novel labors under the weight of its message of tolerance. The celebrity author's collaborator is a screenwriter; and, indeed, this treatment might have been more successful as a television holiday special. Here the characters remain flat and one-dimensional; the plot, predictable. The dialogue, particularly that of the black characters, is unconvincing. Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory (Knopf, 1989) is a more satisfying story of a Christmas in a rural past, celebrated by unlikely companions with more affection than money.-V. W. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060007461
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/01/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.84(w) x 7.58(h) x 1.12(d)
Age Range:
11 - 14 Years

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Christmas in Canaan 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book years ago in a used bookstore and it has become an annual tradition! The story reminds us that just because we have difficult times - it doesn't mean that we can't have wonderful times and memories. It is a funny and heartwarming story of unselfish love and compassion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago