Wigilia, A Polish-American Christmas Eve

Just in time for the holidays, Pauline Karwowski has published a touching and heart-warming children's book about a Polish-American family (her family) celebrating Christmas Eve.

Wigilia (pronounced vee-GHEEL-yah) includes rich details such as preparing the table for the family meal, what foods are served and what each symbolizes, and a visit from Santa... er, Mikolaj. In other words, all of the things a curious person would want to know about a different culture, but would feel too self-conscious to ask directly.

I've been reading Pauline's blog, Classy Chaos, for years and have been a fan all along. She and I first "met" through a funny little group started by BusyDad called The Weekend Bloghoppers. What a hoot!

We were both new to blogging at the time, still tentative and uncertain. I even had a different online moniker and a laughable (as in embarrassing, not funny) first blog.

While I've gone through a series of reinventions and redesigns, Pauline's writing has always remained consistent. Consistently lovely, that is.

Each of her posts is like a love letter to her family-- poignant, charming, witty, and hilarious. Likewise, her new book, Wigilia, is a love letter to her heritage.

On her blog, she often writes about her experience as an immigrant from Poland. She has shared her family recipes for pickle soup and stuffed cabbage, her unique prescriptive on motherhood, and of course, what it was like to travel with her children back to her homeland.

I'm not Polish (obviously), but I am the child of immigrant parents. I know how difficult it can be to embrace a new life without letting go of your history. I've experienced first-hand the heartache of being torn between two different cultures, which at times can be at odds with one another.

It was in the post about visiting Poland with her children that Pauline wrote:
I thank my children for helping me find my place in this world and I dream that their acceptance is ongoing and that it will grow into immense pride for our "second home."
How fitting that she created such a beautiful tribute to her family that not only keeps those traditions alive, but teaches the rest of us something new.

Disclosure: I requested a copy of Wigilia to review. To order your copy of Wigilia, please go to this website. It also makes for a fantastic gift. *hint, hint*

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