Read about the 1950s and enjoy Christmas in 2014


“Dig That Crazy Santa Claus,” “What Child is This?” and “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” played on car radios and hi-fi stereos throughout the month of December 1955, in El Monte, Calif., and in the pages of the award-winning book, “Wild Winter: Christmas, Clues, and Crooks,” by C.A. Hartnell. Readers, 8 years old and up, will take a blast to Christmas past in this fictional but historically based book.

Follow Hartnell’s main characters, 11-year-old neighbors, Pete and Carol Ann, through winter’s pages that abound with holiday cheer and lessons about the gift of giving. These All-American kids cruised with teen-aged drivers by brilliantly lighted seasonal scenes; their Christmas stockings had been hung on fireplace mantels and doors while “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” played on the radio or stereo.

“Wild Winter” finds best friends, Pete and Carol Ann planning a Christmas pageant to raise money to give to needy families in their 1955 community while they work to discover the crooks who are stealing their money and holiday joy. With fun and suspense, Hartnell transports readers back in time. Today, Hartnell’s love of community and giving shines in her books and volunteer activities for Opportunity Village. Hartnell gives of her time on the Opportunity Village Foundation board, attending its events and decorating Christmas trees in the Magical Forest with retro ornaments. The “Wild Winter” book encourage kids to read for “Reading is a Gift.”
Hartnell’s “Wild Winter” is book four in The 1950s Adventures of Pete and Carol Ann series. Actual events in Hartnell’s childhood inspired all four books including other titles “Scary Spring: Our Polio Fright of 1955,” “Sinister Summer: Cars, Cruisers and Close Calls” and “Ferocious Fall: Our Wild Weather Escapes.” Each book in the series earned a 2013 Mom’s Choice Silver award honoring excellence, and a Literary Classics International 2014 Gold Book Award Best in Category for Best Chapter Book Series. The judges from Literary Classics gave the book series their Seal of Approval and the following reviews: “Highly recommended for school and home libraries” and “Good old-fashioned stories with good old-fashioned values.”

Hartnell’s award-winning books can be purchased in the Opportunity Village Gift Cabin at the Magical Forest with a percentage of purchase going to Opportunity Village, at Amazon, book stores and online at The characters in Hartnell’s book work to solve a Christmas mystery and help needy folks in their 1950s community. Hartnell supports Opportunity Village serving intellectually disabled adults and encourages everyone to give of themselves this holiday season.