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December 13, 2017

Karen Cleveland: Riding THE POLAR EXPRESS

Posted by tom

Karen Cleveland is a former CIA analyst, so it’s only fitting that the protagonist of her debut novel, NEED TO KNOW, shares the same profession. In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, Vivian Miller uncovers a dangerous secret that will threaten her job, her family --- and her life. Karen cherishes her childhood memories of reading books with her mom and siblings, especially holiday-themed ones during the Christmas season. These days, she carries on that important tradition for her own family, and in her Holiday Blog post, she proudly talks about her older son’s favorite holiday read --- THE POLAR EXPRESS --- which just happens to be hers as well.

One of my favorite childhood holiday memories is reading books with my family. Before Christmas, my mom would bring out stacks of all the holiday-themed books we’d collected over the years. They’d sit on the coffee table in the family room, and my mom and siblings and I would read them together as we counted down the days to Christmas. My favorite was always THE POLAR EXPRESS. Nothing brought to life the magic of Santa like that book. There was something so captivating about it, I could never get enough.

When my older son was born, I wanted reading to be an important holiday tradition for my own family as well. The very first holiday book I gave my kids was THE POLAR EXPRESS. Each year, our pile of books has grown, and we’ve spent many evenings curled up together on the couch reading stories and getting into the holiday spirit. And each year, I’ve hoped that reading these books will become a happy childhood memory for my kids, as it was for me.

My older son is four this year, and when I brought out our stack of holiday books on the day after Thanksgiving, there was a look of pure joy on his face. We’ve been having a great time reading the books together --- classics that I remember reading as a kid, and fun new additions like THE ELF ON THE SHELF. But my son’s very favorite book --- the one that he asks to read over and over, and the one I’ve caught him sneaking into the doorway of his room after bedtime to read on his own by the light of the hallway --- is none other than THE POLAR EXPRESS.