Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be

Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be




An intriguing, fictionalized story of how the classic Christmas song “Jingle Bells” might have been born. Inspired by actual events in Savannah, Georgia.

“Sure to be popular at holiday time, this is a fictionalized account of how a Unitarian choir director happened to write one of our more ubiquitous winter holiday songs…. A fascinating, unusual bit of historical fiction.” ―Booklist

It is November 1857 in Savannah, Georgia, and the heat is stifling. Choir director James Lord Pierpont is busy writing a song for the children of the church to perform to usher in the holiday season. He is also worried. Many townspeople are angry because the congregation does not believe in slavery, and someone has thrown a brick through one of the church windows. As Mr. Pierpont sweeps up the glass from the broken window, he recalls his own Boston childhood, and he suddenly gets an idea. A few days later―with singing children, jingling bells, and bags of “snow”―Mr. Pierpont introduces the delighted churchgoers to the charms of a northern Christmas!

In this terrific match of John Harris’s entertaining text and Adam Gustavson’s endearing illustrations, readers learn about the unexpected origins of a Christmas classic that was written during a Savannah heat wave. Harris’s story also includes many interesting connections with Savannah, Unitarians, and freed slaves all playing a role in the story behind the song.


Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Language Arts, Grades K-6 Picture Books) ―Society of School Librarians International
Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Intermediate) ―Kansas National Education Association
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award ―Oppenheim Toy Portfolio

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781561455904
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company
Publication date: 10/01/2011
Pages: 32
Product dimensions: 9.70(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile: AD600L (what's this?)
Age Range: 6 - 10 Years

About the Author

John Harris has written a number of books for children, including several historical fiction books, He lives in Georgia.

Adam Gustavson is the illustrator of more than twenty books for children, as well as numerous periodicals. He holds a master of fine arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in New Jersey.

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