“We need some decorations around here!” my 6 year old sweet-as-a-sugarplum granddaughter announces.

Seriously? Didn’t she notice I already decked the halls and everything else for the season. Even invested in a pallet of batteries to get all my little lights glowing. Apparently not enough.

“What for?” I asked, knowing I’d get a mouthful but that’s why I ask. I always learn something.

“For Christmas! You know. How we make the decorations for Christmas! Like we did for Thanksgiving. For the table. Decorations! I’ll go make some.”

And off she goes to the “art room.” Her favorite place—a studio, in the roughest sense—downstairs in our laundry room where masterpieces are born.

Sure enough. Up she comes with the first one—a snowman.

Down and up she goes a few more times. A Christmas tree. A Santa.

“I’m going to do one more,” she says. “Guess what it will be?”

“Hmmm . . . presents?” I thought for sure this would be it.




“Baby Jesus?”

“Yes! But what else?”

“A cow?”

“No.” Big eye roll. “Mary!”

“Oh, of course! Anyone else?”

“All those other people.”

“What other people?”

“You know. All those other people. I’ll show you.”

And off she goes again.

Those other people.

I have a pretty good idea who those other people might be but while she’s creating I wonder . . .

Those other people. Those less central but still an important part of the story. Those that stand back. Those that come quietly. Do I notice those other people that enter my life story? Those different than me. Those whose name I don’t know. Do I take time to notice those other people?

Up comes the last masterpiece . . . until another day.

“Here’s Mary. Here’s Jesus. And here are those other people.”

“Tell me . . . who are those other people?”

“You know Grammy. You know. I don’t have to tell you.”

She’s right. She doesn’t.

I always learn something.

With illustrations as stunning as the story, Great Joy, by Newberry medalist and multi-award winner Kate DiCamillo, helps us notice those other people through the eyes of a young child. This is DeCamillo’s first picture book for children.

I read it every year at this time. Perhaps I need to read it more often.

I also highlighted this one last year. It’s that good!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New 2021 with your peeps . . . and all those wonderful other people.

7 thoughts on “THOSE OTHER PEOPLE

  1. Kent says:

    Karen, based upon your recommendation, I quickly ordered Great Joy and gave it to my 3-year old granddaughter for Christmas. Of all the gifts she received this Christmas, I think it is the only one that will direct her attention towards “those other people”. The message of that book is profound for a person of any age, but for a 3-year old it could the little seed that sprouts into a life changing awareness. Thank you!


  2. Sally Ann House says:

    Karen, I love it. I do not always get time to read your emails but this was just precious. I love how honest kids are but more than that I love how God works through them to get our attention. Miss our get togethers and interacting with you and Chris. Maybe one of these days we can get together.
    Love ya,


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