Cover image for A Kenya Christmas
A Kenya Christmas
Johnston, Tony, 1942-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Ten-year-old Juma and his aunt Aida plan to surprise his Kenyan village with an appearance by Father Christmas and find that they themselves are surprised.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.1 0.5 72359.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Childrens Area-Holiday
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Holiday

On Order



Every year Juma's mysterious Aunt Aida asks the same question: "What is your number one Christmas wish?" Juma always wishes for the same thing: to see Father Christmas. It's hard to imagine what he looks like when you live in a hot African town with no snow, no sleigh, and certainly no reindeer. But Aunt Aida is full of magic, and she promises to do what she can to make Juma's greatest wish come true.

Author Notes

Tony Johnston was born in Los Angeles, California on January 30, 1942. She received a B.A. in history and an M.A in education from Stanford University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a fourth-grade teacher.

She has written over 70 books for children. Her titles include Amber on the Mountain, the Cowboy and the Black-Eyed Pea, Day of the Dead, the Ghost of Nicholas Greebe, the Sparky and Eddie series, and the Adventures of Mole and Troll. Her first adult novel was Any Small Goodness.

Her works have earned her several awards including a Children's Choice Award for Four Scary Stories and the Beatty Award in 2002 for Any Small Goodness.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 2. Father Christmas riding an elephant in the African bush? The British Empire did leave behind some cultural remnants, including the magic of Santa bringing gifts.uma tells how his rich aunt from Nairobi brings presents to the village children and arranges for a local man, Ole Tunai, to dress up as Santa and arrive by elephant. The children even make snow in midsummer by shredding chicken feathers. Then the story takes an odd turn into magic realism with a decidedly confusing twist involving a mysterious Santa ( not Ole Tunai) who disappears with the elephant into the starlit sky. Unfamiliar terms are explained in a glossary, but what language are they? Are the people Maasai? Still, the dynamic, richly colored art provides a glimpse of a village community and the Western imports, and there's a strong sense of the east African rural landscape.ids in hot climates will recognize the desire for snow at Christmas, and, in Africa and the West, many will enjoy the play with popular tradition. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The unusual locale, genial storytelling and edgy, mixed-media art differentiate this Christmas tale. As he does every year, Juma wishes to see Father Christmas, who has never come to their remote village. (And why not, those who still believe in Santa may rightly ask.) But this year, rich Aunt Aida from Nairobi arranges for a villager to arrive on an elephant, dressed like Santa, and holiday magic ensues. Johnston's (The Ancestors Are Singing) colorful details, most notably Aida's pet cheetahs Pomp and Circumstance, camouflage an otherwise foreseeable plot. And Jenkins's (Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightly) art-sturdy graphics built up of delicate layers of bold colors, along with dynamic portraits of both the human and animal characters-commands attention. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-An old man tells his grandchildren about his 10th Christmas. Rich Aunt Aida came from Nairobi with her two pet cheetahs to visit her nephew, and the two of them planned a surprise for the rest of the village. They enlisted a man to play Father Christmas, located an elephant for him to ride, and provided snow in the form of chicken feathers. Father Christmas did indeed ride into the village and gave wonderful gifts to all the children, but not in the way Aunt Aida and the boy had planned. It was one of those magical events that seem to happen only at Christmas. The vibrant mixed-media artwork contributes enormously to that magic. The varying perspectives and suggestions of texture capture the sweeping landscapes, the majestic animals, and spirited tone of the storytelling. A glossary of Swahili words is included. The colorful prose and engaging illustrations present an inventive holiday fairy tale with a unique setting.-V. W. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.