The Saint Nicholas Day Snow Book Review - Multicultural Children's Book Day

Book Review
The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
Written by Charlotte Riggle
Illustrated by R. J. Hughes
Published October 27, 2017

Why we chose this book:
We are thrilled to be participating in Multicultural Children's Book Day this year. This book had already been on my radar as one with a protagonist who uses a wheelchair, so I was excited when we were matched up with Riggle to feature this book!  A review copy was provided as part of MCBD.

Mom's Review:

Elizabeth must spend the night at a friend's house while her parents visit her hospitalized grandmother on Saint Nicholas Day.

While the foci of The Saint Nicholas Day Snow are ostensibly St. Nicholas Day traditions and how a girl copes with her grandmother's hospitalization, if one looks just the tiny bit deeper, the normalization of physical differences and religious traditions is communicated.

The story is quite simple: Elizabeth goes to Catherine's house while her parents stay with her hospitalized grandmother overnight. The children are excited for Saint Nicholas Day, but know different tales. Uncle Andrew recounts a third version that unites both - Saint Nicholas dropped gold in one poor girl's shoe, her sister's stocking, and handed a third bag to their father. After Uncle Andrew leaves, the girls get ready for bed and then wake up to a beautiful snowy day and good news about the grandmother's recovery.

The girls' story frames the legend of Saint Nicholas. And you could read it just as that: a retelling of one Saint Nicholas legend. But if you look just a tiny bit deeper, you'll see the normalization of physical differences and religious traditions. I really like this book because of that. Elizabeth uses a wheelchair and crutches, but you only know this if you pay attention to the pictures. She is depicted no different from her fully able friend. And that is what I like so much — Elizabeth's unnamed disability doesn't matter. As it shouldn't.

I have noticed a dearth of books featuring protagonists with physical disabilities. I think we all agree on the need to depict girls in non-sexist ways and people of color in non-racist ways, but we need to incorporate more people with noticeable disabilities into children's lit to de-stigmatize disabilities. If you know me personally, then you know about my brother. If you don't know me personally, then you should know that my younger brother has physical and mental disabilities. Kids are much more compassionate today than they were when we were kids, but there is still a long way to go. Curiosity and discomfort are natural when confronted with something new, so why not expose kiddos to differences from a young age? I wish that more illustrators accurately incorporated devices people use (wheelchairs, lifts, hearing aides, etc.) without making a big deal about it. Maybe if the next generation sees it as not a big deal in their books, it won't be such a big deal when they meet other kids with these devices in real life.

I'd also like to note that on each page, inset pictures feature depictions of the saint through the ages as well as a multitude of churches around the world bearing the saint's name. I particularly like this, as it gives readers a glimpse at the universality of this saint. Back matter provides further information on Saint Nicholas.
A fitting read for our snow-bound day!

Son's Review
(Age: almost 4 years old)

Son: What was his job?

Mom: He was a bishop, so he was in charge of the other priests. Kind of like there is a principal in a school who is in charge of the teachers and students, a bishop is a priest who takes care of the other priests and parishioners.

Son: Are the saints for grownups or children?

Mom: Everyone.

Mom: Would you want to meet Elizabeth and Catherine? What would you say?

Son: Yeah. What I would say is, "Hello." That's what I would say, and I would say, "Welcome," and "Come." I wanted them to come to my church please.

Mom: Are Catherine and Elizabeth at all like you?

Son: Yeah. I sometimes say stockings and sometimes he [Saint Nicholas/Santa Claus] puts them [gifts] in my stockings and sometimes he puts them in my shoes.
(Apparently we need some consistency in our Christmas traditions in this house.)

Mom: I'm just curious, but did you notice that Elizabeth has a wheelchair.

Son: No.

Mom: How did you feel about Elizabeth's grandmother being in the hospital.

Son: Kinda sad.

Mom: I noticed that their priest came and visited her. Would you want a priest to visit you if you were in the hospital?

Son: Yeah. I would want the priest to pray.

Mom: Did you like the book?

Son: Yeah. I liked that her parents were visiting the grandma.

Mom: How did you feel during most of the story?

Son: Mostly really good.

Mom: What does this story make you think about?

Son: That Uncle B is in the hospital.

Mom: He got a special prayer just like the grandmother in this story.

Mom: What would you say is the most important thing to know about the book?

Son: That it's about snow.

Mom: And when is it a good time to read it?

Son: When it's snowing!!!


Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here:
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here:
Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library Guild,

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom Bookswww.linthomas.comSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. Richards,Erin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.


  1. This review is awesome! I love, love, love that your son helped. THANK YOU for shining the spotlight on this wonderful book :)

    1. We were easily able to identify with what we read! Great to see representation of the wheeled variety!

  2. Your son's review is so sweet! And your review of the book is very helpful, thanks!


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