Thursday, December 5, 2013

Blog Tour: Christmas From Heaven by Tom Brokaw and Christmas Ornament Set

Christmas from Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber, by Tom Brokaw, Illustrated by Robert T. Barrett
2013, 32p, Christmas, Inspirational
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Copy provided by publisher for an honest review

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.

What a neat story! Three years after World War II ended, Stalin blocked transportation into West Berlin so the United States and Britain transported food and other supplies by air so they wouldn't starve. Lt. Gail Halvorsen was one of the pilots and one day, after delivering flour, he spoke with a group of 30 children hanging out near the runway. They asked questions about the planes, how much flour they carried and if the airlift would continue. Children around the world were known to beg for candy but these children seemed more interested in freedom and showed gratitude for the flour they received. Hal wanted to give something to them but only had 2 sticks of gum. He passed what he had through the fence and wanted to give more. That's when the idea of dropping candy from the sky came to him and he told the kids his plan and that he'd wiggle his wings so they would know it was him. As word spread, more and more airmen became involved and new friendships were formed.

My children and I enjoyed reading the book and watching the DVD that came with it. This is a great example of the effect one person can have. Lt. Halvorsen had a simple idea that wound up affecting many lives. The children were excited to get candy and their parents hearts were able to soften because of the kindness shown to them. The end of the DVD is touching as well. I love how the book includes actual photographs and the illustrations match the time period. This is a great book that has helped bring the spirit of Christmas into our home and we will enjoy reading it every year. I highly recommend this book to everyone!


Here's a clip from the DVD:

Tom 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 Generation and The Greatest Generation Speaks, among other books. He and his wife, Meredith, have three daughters and five grandchildren.

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.

Biblical Names of Christ Ornament Set

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. Ornament size: 3¼" x 3¼". *Hooks & twine NOT included.

I was excited for the chance to review this Christmas Ornament Set. The stars are beautiful! I polled my family and we all agree that they add a lot to our tree and we will definitely use them every year. Each of them has a different name for the Savior. Some of them are Bread of Life, Redeemer, Shepherd and Lord of Lords. They are lightweight and will look beautiful on any tree!


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