10 November 2020

Christmas Book Review: In the Nick of Time

Christmas is just a month away and I was lucky enough to find a lovely children's book to share with you this season. Although children's books are increasingly becoming diverse and inclusive, it still isn't very easy to find Black/brown children's books for every theme. Read my review of the 'In the Nick of Time' by Deedee Cummings and enter the giveaway for a chance to win signed copies and a $25 Amazon gift card.

About the Book

Authors: Deedee Cummings
Illustrator: Charlene Mosley
Genre: Holiday/festive fiction, Black American/African American children's stories
Category: Picture book (Ages 3-7)
Publisher: Make a Way Media
A timely tale about a little brown boy who saves Christmas. Nick Saint never really put a lot of thought into his name until one snowy day in December when he accidentally receives a letter meant for Saint Nick. Realizing there is not much time left until Christmas, Nick opens the letter. The unexpected message inside ultimately leads him on a journey of understanding poverty, gratitude, and service to others while discovering the real meaning of the holiday spirit.
Buy the Book


    In this picture book, Nick, a little brown boy receives a letter addressed to Saint Nick or Santa Claus while he was eagerly waiting for the video game that he had ordered. He is annoyed at the mailman who delivered the wrong package but when he opens the letter following his mother's advice, he is surprised to find that it's a letter that one of his classmates wrote to Santa asking for a job for his mother and a toy truck for his brother. The letter immediately moved me just as it moved the protagonist, Nick.

    Though Nick initially thinks that he cannot be Santa especially given what Cooper has asked for, his parents are thoughtful and supportive, and they help him fill Cooper's stockings. This book beautifully shows the true message and meaning of Christmas  -- the spirit of giving. We often associate Christmas with gifts and not giving. Nick and Cooper are classmates but are very different from each other. While Nick is a brown boy obsessed with video games and lives a privileged life with his parents who own a company (where they give Cooper's mother a job), Cooper is a white boy who lives in a shelter for the homeless where he shares a room with his younger brother and mother. Nick observes how all that Cooper has asked Santa are for others and nothing for himself, and this inspires him to help Cooper, in the true spirit of Christmas.

    Books like these that show children becoming heroes are important as they inspire young readers to be heroes in their little ways. However, such books should also be diverse and inclusive like this book so that children know that brown people can be heroes too! This is especially important given the negative images that non white children have to deal with growing up. With brown skin, round eyes and black curly hair, Mosley's image of Nick must be relatable for brown readers who deserve to read stories about children who look like them.

    Lastly, to talk about the book from an educator perspective, I think the dialogues could have been tagged with double quotes or italics to make reading easier. However, the text is placed in blank spaces or patches of white neatly over the colourful illustrations that cover three-fourths of each page. The language used by Cummings is level appropriate for the suggested reading level of ages 3 to 7 and the dialogues resemble real world conversations, making this book a good choice for the language classroom as an authentic text or for supplementary reading.

    I would recommend this book to all English language teachers who have been looking for diverse and inclusive storybooks to use in their classroom or to add to their school libraries. I would also recommend this to all parents and I think this book will make a really good Christmas gift.

Meet the Author

Deirdre “Deedee” Cummings believes literacy is a fundamental human right. She is the founder of Make A Way Media, It Pays to Read & the Louisville Book Festival, as well as, an attorney, therapist, and CEO of Abi Behavioral Health in Louisville, Kentucky. Abi is an intensive therapy agency that works to prevent the placement of children in out of home care, such as foster care, hospitalization, and incarceration. Deedee attended Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, one of only two all-female Historically Black Colleges in the country. After graduating from Bennett, she earned a master’s degree and a law degree from the University of Louisville. All of her writing focuses on sharing inspiring messages that remind us all it is never too late to begin again.

Enter the Giveaway

*This post is part of the blog tour hosted by iRead Book Tours to celebrate the release of In the Nick of Time and the review copy was provided for free in exchange for an honest review. Book interior images taken from Amazon. Join the virtual book tour from October 12 to December 4, 2020!

Priya Prithviraj - Priya's Lit Blog


  1. This is such a beautifully written review, Priya. Good job!

  2. What a great review for a fun Christmas book. Well done, Priya! I really enjoyed reading it. ☺️


  3. Beautifully written priya.❤

  4. What a beautiful review of the book.Hope to read this sometime to my little one.Thankyou Priya and I am looking forward to more recommendations from you:)


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