The Sailor and the Christmas Trees


  • Format Trade Paperback
  • Author Deana J. Driver. Illustrated by Catherine Folnovic
  • Publish Date October 18, 2012
  • ISBN 978-1-927570-02-09
Deana J. Driver13 Books


Description: John Hanlon of Brandon, Manitoba, served in the Royal Canadian Navy during the Second World War. In late November 1944, the frigate he was stationed on was docked in St. John’s, Newfoundland. John realized that they would likely be at sea on Christmas Day, so he decided that he and some other sailors should go up a nearby hill and cut down a few evergreen trees, then hide them in the ship until Christmas.

​On Christmas morning 1944, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on their way back to Canada from England, John and his friends pulled out those trees and surprised their fellow shipmates with a hearty ‘Merry Christmas’ wish! They also shared this unexpected Christmas gift with some small English children on another ship in that convoy, who were being transported to safety in Canada. Decades later, John met one of the women who was a child on that ship, and they savoured the memory of that special Christmas Day.

Includes biography of John Hanlon, facts of the ship’s journey, and a glossary.
A donation of $1 per book sold will be made to the Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command Poppy Trust Fund.

Awards/Honour: Winner, Children’s category, 2015 Holiday Book Festival
ISBN 978-1-927570-02-9; 6″w x 9″h; 48 pages; cover art and 14 illustrations by Catherine Folnovic; 9 photos. ​© ​2012; Ages 8 and Up; Children’s nonfiction; Second World War; Canadian Military History; Canadian history; Canadian sailor; Royal Canadian Navy; Royal Canadian Legion; Canadian war hero; Inspirational nonfiction; Early reader; Manitoba;  Saskatchewan author; Canadian.

About the Author: Deana J. Driver is an award-winning journalist, author, editor, and book publisher in Regina, Saskatchewan. She was a freelance journalist for more than 30 years and is the founder and CEO of DriverWorks Ink, which publishes inspiring nonfiction books and other genres connected to nonfiction, written by Prairie authors. As a journalist, she had more than 2,300 articles published in Canadian newspapers and magazines. Deana (pronounced dee-na) has written six nonfiction biographies and historical books and has contributed stories to 12 anthologies, including the Flight: Stories of Canadian Aviation and the Fun On The Farm series.

Responses from Readers:

  • “What a heartwarming story, and how fitting that you were able to meet Mr. Hanlon before he passed away, and that he knew you would be preserving his story and passing it along to generations yet to come! Marvellous vibes all around!”
  • “I have read this book to three classes of Grade 3s and 4s in the last few days. It’s been refreshing to have something to read that is both seasonal and instructional, unlike some of the Santa-type stories that are so common. The kids listened attentively and were engaged in some meaningful questions and discussion. This is a fine story.”
  • “I love the detail in the story. It’s great.”

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