Written by: Chris Van Allsburg
This book is about a boy who lies patiently in his bed awaiting to hear the bells of Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve, even after he was told that Santa does not exist, causing the boy to question his own beliefs. Later that night he awakes to see a train outside his window and a conductor inviting him to board the Polar Express train. This is a magic train with dancing and children laughing and having fun. The children on the train are all taken to the North Pole, where Santa is giving away the first gift of Christmas! One of the boy's on the train got picked to receive the first gift, in which he chose a bell off of Santa's reindeer collar. Unfortunately, when the boy returned home, the bell was missing from his pocket. When he awoke the next morning, he found the bell under his tree with a note from Santa himself saying that he had dropped it on the sleigh as he was going back home.
This is a book my family has always read on Christmas Eve! I love it and the message it brings along with it. I would read this book to K-3rd graders before Christmas break. I think the message of staying true to what you believe is a good lesson students need to learn. They should never let others tell them what to believe in! As an activity, I would have the students all write and draw a picture of what gift they would ask for from Santa if they got chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas!