The Polar Express

The Polar Express BookWritten and Illustrated by: Chris Van Allsburg

When a mysterious train makes a stop on a neighborhood street in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, the young boy who sees it feels that he must get on board. As they travel over strange lands, the children on the Polar Express are treated to Christmas sweets until they reach their destination, the North Pole, where Santa will choose a child from the train to receive the first gift of Christmas.

This book is a classic holiday tale filled with the idea that sometimes believing in something (or someone) is enough to make the magic exist in your heart.

Discussion/Project Ideas:

1. Write a letter to Santa expressing your feelings on believing in something you cannot see. Don’t forget to try and back up your feelings with evidence.

2. Research the history of Santa Clause. Write the tale in your own words and try to perform it like a professional storyteller.

3. Have students (or friends) choose a variety of cities around the globe. Give them a list of things to find about each location such as, longitude/latitude, altitude, topography, weather patterns during the month of December, holiday traditions, clothing, feasts, etc. Create a bulletin board (or something similar) of the entire world and have the students place their information cards at the sites of the corresponding cities. When all researched cities are marked, take a piece of yarn or string and connect them as if it is the path the train would take. For the oceans, have the kids create a clever way for the train to cross. **Don’t forget to take time zones into account so that the train travels in the proper direction.

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