Jerdine Nolen
Christmas in the Time of Billy Lee
Barry Moser, illustrator
Hyperion Books, 2010
book covers
books in alphabetical order
  Christmas in the Time of Billy Lee


One holiday season Ellie makes three wishes: that her parents will see that her friend Billy Lee is not imaginary; that snow will fall on Septon's Creek for the first time in fifty years; and that joy will return--especially to her parents, who always seem worried lately. Billy Lee always says, "There is magic in believing something good with all your heart." When Ellie begins to believe, all kinds of miracles occur, from broken tree lights twinkling again, to angel shapes appearing in snow, to the biggest one of all: a baby brother arriving soon.


“In this warm family story, a young girl and her imaginary friend, Billy Lee, bring hope to a community. Times are hard in rural Septon’s Creek, and as Ellie walks in the icy storms and harsh winds, she longs for snow to come back, sure that it will unleash the joy of the holiday. She talks to Billy Lee, and he helps her make paper snowflakes and put them in tree branches. In the story’s moving conclusion, the snow falls on Christmas Eve, and her parents have joyful news. Then, while opening her gifts on the last page, Ellie finds her own surprise of a Christmas angel. Is it from Billy Lee? Moser’s sensitive, full-page portraits show Ellie and her mixed-race family close-up, a paper snowflake in her gloved hands in the beautiful winter landscapes, first filled with dark branches and then dramatically white. The blend of holiday magic and realism will have wide appeal.” (Hazel Rochman, Booklist)

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