The Night Santa Got Lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas

The Night Santa Got Lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas

Michael Keane, Author

Michael Garland, Illustrator

Regnery Kids, Fiction, 2012

Suitable for Ages: 4 and up

Themes: Santa, Christmas, NORAD, Military, Teamwork

Opening/Synopsis‘Twas the night before Christmas at NORAD’s home base/ Not an airman was stirring, each one was in place/Ready and waiting for the very first sight/Of good old St. Nick on his Christmas Eve flight.”  Every year the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa as he delivers gifts to children worldwide.  But, Santa and his reindeer get lost in a blizzard.  He disappears from their radar.  Will NORAD be able to find Santa with their high-tech equipment and help Santa deliver presents to the children in the world?   Children will love the suspense and the illustrations.

Why I like this book:   Michael Keane has written a beautiful picture book in the style of Clement Clark Moore’s The Night Before Christmas.  Every year millions of children track Santa on the NORAD Santa Tracker.  I especially like how Keane shows children the humanitarian side of the military.  The generals worldwide come together to develop a plan and teach kids about teamwork during a crisis.  They learn military language and the compassion of all services worldwide to serve the greater good.  There is even an element of suspense with the involvement of Special Ops teams.  The book speaks to the true nature of Christmas when we can set aside our difference and remember our humanity.  Michael Garland’s artwork is eye-popping.  His digital illustrations are bold, colorful, lively and will engage both young and older readers in looking at the detail.

Favorite Stanzas “The Commander-in-Chief was handed a phone/ Scramble the fighter jets/Send up a drone!/For both red state and blue state, this is a real threat!/It’s even much worse than our national debt!”

“Go Army!  Go Marines!  Go Navy and Air Force!/Call in the Reservists and the Guardsmen, of course!/To the ends of the earth, help with Santa’s big haul!/ Now march away! Fly away! Sail away, all!” 

Resources.  There are six wonderful pages of history about how the tradition began in 1955 with a very funny story involving an ad in the newspaper and a wrong phone number.  Have your kids track Santa on the NORAD Santa Tracker  on December 24, to check on Santa’s location in the world.  They can map Santa’s progress and learn about time zones.  NORAD volunteers take kids phone calls and respond to e-mails.  NORAD actually begins the countdown on December 1, so kids can visit the site daily.


Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

36 thoughts on “The Night Santa Got Lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas

  1. This sounds terrific, Pat! A new Christmas book! And with all the branches of the armed forces – I think a lot of kids – boys especially – will get a kick out of it. My son would have loved it when he was little. I am always a Michael Garland fan, so I’m sure the art is amazing. I will have to check this one out! 🙂


    • Susanna, both boys and girls will enjoy this fun and suspenseful book by Michael Keane. Michael Garland’s illustrations jump off of the pages — they are beautiful and have a 3D look to them. I worked for the AF and have followed the tracking myself for years and wondering why I never thought of this! It’s perfect for kids today!


  2. That’s super, Pat. Norad is great for kids, what a fun current book. I wish I’d have started christmas ones now 😉


  3. So clever! I love a book about teamwork. Mom and I are a Therapy Dog team at the VA Home. We totally “get” teamwork. It’s a good lesson for kids. Be a team and get things done!

    Love and licks,


  4. This sounds great, Pat. It’s nice to see a positive and upbeat book about the military. So often those stories have a hint of sadness (e.g. parents separated from children, or affected negatively by war). Those are important, too, but it’s nice to hear about a book with a military theme that has nothing to do with war and separation.


    • Carrie, I agree. I think it showcases for children how the military is a humanitarian organization ready to help at a moment’s notice. I know — I worked for the USAF. And, the services work together.


  5. I LOVE Christmas books, and especially rewrites of The Night Before Christmas :•) The trailer is awesome, and so are the opening lines, and your favorite lines! Of course, the illustrations put me in the Christmas spirit in a BIG way! This is on my list!


  6. True confession time — I follow NORAD’s tracking of Santa on Christmas Eve, too — it is so cool! I know I’d love this book. (And I can think of some kids who would, too… they just might be getting a present!) Thanks, Pat!


    • Diane, glad you liked the book idea. It is a wonderful story with beautiful illustrations. Do you follow the NORAD tracking or does New Zeland have a tracking system? Tracking begins around NZ.


  7. What a great way to incorporate an awareness for the military. I grew up as a military kid, but I think a lot of kids might not have an understanding–especially of the humanitarian side, like you mentioned. Another great pick!


  8. I am glad to see this aspect of the military exposed. The military do so much good in third world countries also when deployed as peace=keeping forces, often feeding people and helping when disaster strikes. This is how I wish they would always serve, as I am anti-war.


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