Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#BIR2010 Book Spotlight & Guest Post By Steve Cushman, author of Heart with Joy

Steve Cushman is the author of Heart with Joy, which made my "Best I've Read" for 2010. I'm delighted that Steve agreed to do a guest post for this event. Read what he has to share about his favorite holiday tradition:

"The Elf On The Shelf"

My favorite holiday tradition is actually only a few years old. Three Christmas' ago, some of my wife's co-workers were raving about a holiday children's book called "The Elf On The Shelf." The basic premise of the book is that an elf comes to live in your house in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Each night he flies back to Santa and tells him if you have been naughty or nice. You can also tell the elf what you want for Christmas, which he then reports back to Santa.

The book actually comes with a small elf. You are allowed to name the elf whatever you would like, but your child is not supposed to pick him up. Part of the fun of this book is that each morning you move your elf, indicating that he has left and returned, and your child has to try and find him somewhere in the house.

My seven year old son, Trevor, named his elf "Goody." He still hasn't told me why he chose that name. During the holiday season the first thing he does every morning is walk around and look for Goody. I've caught him talking to Goody and even picked up a few gift ideas from these conversations since he's told Goody things he'd never mentioned to his mother or me.

This year, we knew we had a family tradition, when around mid-November Trevor started asking, "Where's Goody?" and "When is Goody going to show up?"

So a couple days after Thanksgiving we placed Goody on a book shelf near the entrance to my son's bedroom. The next morning I heard Trevor hollering, "Goody, Goody." Then "Dad, Dad, come look. Goody came back."

He then proceeded to have a conversation with his elf, telling him that while he may have been naughty a few times he had been mostly nice this year.
As we were leaving the house, Trevor walked back to the book shelf and his elf and said, "Goodbye, Goody. I'll see you later."

I really like this holiday tradition because it's fun to see my son get so excited about something and to use his imagination. I hope “The Elf On The Shelf” and Goody will continue to be one of our family's holiday tradition for many years to come.

Thanks, Steve, for sharing this with us!

Heart with Joy Summary: Fifteen year old Julian Hale’s life is turned upside down when his mother suddenly moves from North Carolina to Florida under the pretense of running her parents’ motel and finishing the novel she has been working on for years. While Julian has always been closer to his mother and wants to go with her, she tells him he has to stay with his father until the end of the school year.

Six weeks after his mother leaves, Julian’s father decides to run a marathon. This surprises Julian because he has never seen his father exercise, but once he agrees to help him train the two develop the sort of close relationship they’ve never had before. Also, with the help of an elderly neighbor, Julian learns that the most important thing in life is to follow your heart. And Julian’s heart leads him to a passion for cooking and a young cashier at the local grocery store even as his parents drift apart. By the end of the novel, Julian is forced to choose between staying with his father and going to live with his mother.

Heart With Joy is an uplifting coming of age novel about cooking and bird watching, about writing and pottery, and about falling in love and the sacrifices we all make. But ultimately, it’s about following your heart and trusting that it will take you where you need to go.

A signed copy of Heart with Joy will be included in the Grand Prize Giveaway from Books Complete Me.


  1. That is a great holiday tradition. I've seen "Elf on the Shelf" in my book store but never took the time to see what its about. Thanks Steve for sharing. I think I'm going to pick up this tradition for my own family.



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