Our book for Christmas 2017 is The Christmas Zonkey.
This is a fun Christmassy story of a little zonkey who struggles to find acceptance in his home village in Africa. One day he hears a story, told by a friendly elephant, about Santa and his reindeer. He decides he doesn’t want to be a zonkey anymore – he really wants to be a reindeer and so he sets off to find the North Pole.
In our story he doesn’t quite reach the North Pole, but finds acceptance from a child he meets on his journey – your own child in the story. He meets the child in their own home town, which you can personalise in the story. He also discovers from Santa, that actually he must accept who he is and be proud to be a zonkey – be proud to just be himself.
Ziggy is perhaps an outsider, not accepted by the zebras or the donkeys. He has to come to terms with finding his own identity and being proud of his heritage.
Ziggy finds a real friend in the child he meets in their home town. He doesn’t have any best friends and finding a new friend starts the process of realising he can be accepted for who he is. The child invites him for tea and also invites Ziggy to help in wrapping gifts and baking pies for Santa and his reindeer.
Just being yourself can be one of the hardest things for kids because it can be scary. It is often much easier to be just like everyone else, and hide amongst the crowd. This wasn’t possible for little Ziggy because he was clearly different. His stripey legs and tail, his black mane and black nose, all made him very different and everyone could see it.
The hidden message in this fun christmassy story is, of course, a positive message for all kids. It has, perhaps, an even stronger significance for kids of mixed ethnicity, but really it applies to us all. Ziggy looks different, he has a speech impediment, he often feels isolated and he is struggling to find his own self worth and self esteem. Eventually he cries, “I am a zonkey!” to Santa and so starts his realisation that he must be proud of who he is.
The book is illustrated by Felipe Van Rompaey and his stunning artwork make the story of Ziggy the Christmas Zonkey truly come to life.