By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 30, 2011
“Gramps Bricker” is a story telling grandparent who has seen his children, grandchildren, and now his great grandchildren voice their doubts upon seeing so many Santas everywhere without a beard. He created a story, The Christmas Santa Had No Beard, with the purpose of restoring the magical legend of Santa Claus within every child’s imagination.
TCBR: Can you share a little on your background and how you became a children’s book writer?
Howard M. “Gramps” Bricker: Having seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren led me to create stories that would captivate their attention… Whenever a story captured their imagination, I began writing it down to remember the tale for another time.
Is The Christmas Santa Had No Beard (available in English and Spanish) your first published piece of work?
Yes, I wrote this story down years ago. In 2009 my son read The Christmas Santa Claus Had No Beard to a 3rd grade class in Ohio. Upon seeing her students’ enthusiasm, the teacher lectured my son and told him to have this story published. My son then lectured me. Thus a teacher’s lecture was the impetus for The Christmas Santa Had No Beard becoming a reality.
I read that the inspiration for this story came from an experience you had with your grandson. Will you share this experience with TCBR’s readers?
I took my grandson to a shopping center to see Santa Claus. What I didn’t realize was that he saw a man dressed up like Santa Claus putting on a fake beard in a separate room. The only comment Sean could make was, “Gramps, look this Santa Claus is a fake. That is not even a real beard!!” At four years of age, this child became a cynic about the Santa Claus legend. Thus the story of The Christmas Santa Had No Beard emerged.
What age group did you write the book for?
Between 5-10 years of age
Your hope is that The Christmas Santa Had No Beard will spark children’s imaginations. What would you say is the most important lesson that readers will take away from reading your book?
This is a special holiday season when parents and children should spend time reading Christmas stories together to reaffirm that magical moment when Santa Claus visits their homes.
The illustrator, John Dall, is a Chicago based Native American artist. How did you select Mr. Dall to be the creator of the artwork?
After writing my story, I was searching for an illustrator. I came upon an article in a newspaper article describing John Dall’s drawings. There was a statement by John Dall that caught my attention, “If I feel it, I can create it.” I sent John Dall the text and was overjoyed when he said,” I can feel it!” John Dall’s artistry not only enhances, but makes this story come alive.
Should we expect to see another book from you soon?
I have written a few stories, and children are going to enjoy next book also. My confidence has been buoyed by the fact that John Dall said he can”feel it.”
What would you say has been the most personally rewarding aspect or becoming a children’s book author?
There is no greater reward than reading my book to children in schools, churches and hospitals and looking up and seeing their smiling faces. I have read my story at hospitals and read at bedsides bringing joy and comfort to the parents as well.
Which holiday books from your own childhood provide you with the fondest memories?
The Christmas Carol, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and T’was The Night Before Christmas.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Whenever you see a Santa Claus and you think that his beard might not be real, remember, he just may be the real Santa Claus who received a beard for Christmas.
Add this book to your collection: http://www.grandpabrickerbooks.com/buy.html
For more information, visit: http://www.grandpabrickerbooks.com
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