Inspired by true events and the author's diabetic Grandmother, Christmas Turtles is a 32-page festival hardcover book that was released in October 2006. The winter cabin scene on the protective slipcover is identical to the art on the hardcover. Perfectly complementing the winter scenery, the book opens to dark green pages – reminiscent of evergreen mountain forests.
Sara Ann Denson has been a published author since the age of 18. This accomplished and active woman has won awards for her work as a script and play writer, and has also enjoyed life as a free-lance writer. She resides in Missouri, USA along with her husband and their two sons.
Illustrations by Tara McMillen, a former city engineer, are reminiscent of crayon drawings and bring pleasant feelings from the past of cuddling on the floor with a favorite coloring book. This artist is known for the large number of murals she was commissioned to do around Kansas City, Missouri, where the artist, her two children and husband stay.
Christmas Turtles is a story of one family's holiday tradition. Pecan trees are planted on the family farm at the birth of each grandchild, of which there are four. Lovely scenery and descriptions of fall harvests and wheat planting welcome the reader closer to the farming life. During the harvest season, the Magic Christmas Tin, well worn from use, is brought out from its special place. Then the four grandsons, Jeanna, Matthew, Talia and Sara Ann, sit with their grandma on the porch to crack pecans. They worked until the box was filled and then carefully, respectfully, placed the box in its special place. At Christmas, the box is magically filled with Christmas Turtles, a yummy chocolate treat for the whole family.
One year, the grandchildren arrive earlier than usual and discover their grandmother making Christmas Turtles from the pecans they harvested and shelled. The process was fascinating for them and they could hardly wait to touch the trips.
When Sara Ann discovered Grandma could not eat the treats, she realized just how much her Grandmother loved them all. She endured painful hands, back spasms and throbbing feet – just to see them all enjoy the family tradition of Christmas Turtles.
Christmas Turtles is a soft, enjoyable view into a warm family tradition. The book comes with a recipe for families to make their very own Christmas Turtles at home.
Author: Sara Anne Denson
Illustrator: Tara McMillen
Publisher: Purple Sky Publishing