Santa in the City

by Tiffany D Jackson (Author) Reggie Brown (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A little girl's belief in Santa is restored in this ode to the magic of Christmas.

It's two weeks before Christmas, and Deja is worried that Santa might not be able to visit her--after all, as a city kid, she doesn't have a chimney for him to come down and none of the parking spots on her block could fit a sleigh, let alone eight reindeer! But with a little help from her family, community, and Santa himself, Deja discovers that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in her city.

With bold, colorful illustrations that capture the joy of the holidays, this picture book from award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson and illustrator Reggie Brown is not to be missed.

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The vibrant colors and expressive faces give the illustrations an engaging energy. Deja’s family is Black with Jamaican roots, and Santa too is Black. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A valuable addition to the holiday shelf. (Picture book. 4-8).

Copyright 2021 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission.

Publisher's Weekly

In her accessibly written picture book debut, Jackson centers Deja, a Black child of Jamaican descent who asks myriad questions regarding Santa’s methods of reaching her city home. When classmates instill seeds of doubt, Deja worries about Santa’s existence-and his limitations. Not only does her apartment lack a chimney, but her city does not look like classic Christmas towns: "Okay, but where does he park his sleigh? There’s no free parking spots on our block at night and ain’t none of them big enough for nine reindeers!" But as her mother, neighbors, and relatives offer reasonable explanations, Deja sees the light ("Makes sense"), and it’s revealed that Santa, who is also Black, has no issues visiting. Warm, imaginative digital art by debut illustrator Brown offer a nuanced portrait of Deja’s family and community in this reassuring book for any child who’s ever worried about Santa’s magic reaching them. Ages 4-8. 

Copyright 2021 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

K-Gr 2-Deja's friends tell her Santa isn't real. How can Santa navigate the city? Storybooks tell them Santa needs a chimney, a place to park his reindeer, and the North Pole is just too cold. How can Santa find Deja when she's visiting family in Jamaica? Full of questions and doubt, Deja peppers her mother and the other adults in her life with all of the aspects of Santa that she can't piece together. They each give her a plausible explanation with warmth and patience, but Deja decides she needs proof. Jackson, best known for her young adult thrillers, has created a delightful holiday story, especially for children who are beginning to question Santa's existence or who have wondered how Santa will find their apartment. The book is ideal for a read-aloud, though the short sentences would not be intimidating to beginning readers. Brown's cartoon-style illustrations are awash in purples, blues, and grays-not colors one would typically associate with a holiday story, but that fit perfectly in a book about Christmas in the city. VERDICT A good purchase for public and elementary school libraries, especially those in urban environments.-Monisha Blair, Glasgow M.S., Alexandria, VA.

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Tiffany D Jackson
Tiffany D. Jackson is the author of the Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award winner Monday's Not Coming, and numerous other YA novels. She lives in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York. This is her first picture book.

Reggie Brown is an artist and illustrator with a background in corporate graphic design. He lives in San Diego, California. This is his first picture book.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
October 20, 2021

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