Papa’s Gift is the story of the love between a little girl and her grandfather. They are the best of friends. The share the same birthday, take naps at the same time, make snow chickens and snowflake sandwiches in the winter, and sit together in church. Papa Clarence tells Clara stories about his own childhood as they sit and rock in the creaky, old rocking chair in which he once rocked Clara’s mother.
One day, Papa Clarence falls ill, and despite Clara’s pleas to God, Papa dies. Clara cannot understand why God would not answer her prayers. She is angry over his loss, angry at God, angry at the world.
Through the gift of a snow globe that Papa Clarence had given Clara for her birthday, Clara begins to understand that even though she can’t see her grandfather with her eyes anymore, she can always see him in her heart.
On the very day he turned sixty-three, Clarence MacKenzie received the best birthday present in the world. His first grandchild, Clara, was born.
“From now on I shall be called Papa Clarence,” he told his family. And that was that.
Not only did Clara and Papa Clarence share the same birthday; they had the same name. Well, almost. They even looked alike.
“But someday you’ll have hair,” Papa said with a grin, “and I never will have hair again.”
He was right.
Papa Clarence had his own room in the house where Clara lived with her mother and father. In the corner, by the window, sat a large, worn rocking chair. “I used to rock your mama in this chair,” he said to Clara as he held her in his lap and told her stories. She loved to hear his stories.
“When I was a little boy,” he always began, “I hid an icicle under my pillow one night so I could eat it after everyone else went to sleep.”
“And did you eat it?” Clara asked him.
“No,” Papa Clarence answered. “But I woke up with a big puddle under my pillow” Then they rocked and laughed as the chair sang, “Creak-crick, creak-crick.”
Kathleen Bostrom has published several other books with Zonderkidz, including Mary’s Happy Christmas Day, Sunrise Hill: An Easter Story of Faith, Inspiration, and Courage, and When Pete’s Dad Got Sick: A Story About Chronic Illness.