Even if you don’t have time to check these out this year, pin it and save it for next year.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski is a heartwarming story of a carpenter whose heart is softened through the innocence of a boy and the carving of the nativity. It is a beautiful story and the illustrations are even more beautiful. Definitely one to consider adding to your personal library.
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown is a nice short poem of the Christmas story. It is not my favorite of Margaret Wise Brown’s books but the kids enjoyed it. This is especially good for very young children. The poem reads a lot like her Big Red Barn book which we also enjoy.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss is a classic tale that can’t be left out at Christmas time. I have read this so many times this season I have it nearly memorized, and I think Stefan actually does have it mostly memorized! We have also acted it out taking a big bag and sneaking into the living room to remove Christmas decorations. But no worries, our heart grows and we put it all back!
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell is beautifully brought to life by Jason Cockcroft’s exquisite illustrations. The repeating line, “There’s always room for a little one here” makes it a nice read for young children who often gravitate to similarity in a book. The last line of the book reads, “a Little One came for the world.”
Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder is the Christmas scene from the original book. This illustrated version is well done and a nice addition to your Christmas collection. However, if you like Little House you might want to consider Little House Christmas Treasury which takes the Christmas chapter out of each book and combines it in one collection. I’m considering adding this to our library.
The Nutcracker Ballet by Vladimir Vagin has been a favorite this year. Stefan first became interested in this when we listened to a [free!] story by Sparkle Stories about a little boy who goes to see the Nutcracker. We enjoyed this beautiful book and I know when we someday take him to see the Nutcracker it will be that much more meaningful.
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry is a hilarious tale about the top of the Christmas tree. The top of the too tall tree gets chopped off and then recovered, and chopped off again. The original tree ends up decorating lots of little creatures homes. A fun book that the kids have loved!
I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Holly Hobbie is a story about Toot trying to make it home (Boston) from Scotland for Christmas. Of course he encounters a snow storm. Stefan really loves the Toot & Puddles books.
Let it Snow by Holly Hobbie is another Toot & Puddle book. I especially love this one as it is about the two friends secretly making a Christmas present for each other. “Because the best gifts are homemade.” Sweet tale of giving and friendship.
The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats. The text is the original words of the song, but Keats beautifully illustrates it. I love Keats anyway, but this book is really exceptionally done. Read (or sing) through this book and enjoy the gorgeous illustrations.
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. Beware, we are going to have quite a few Brett books here. I love her illustrations and we have always enjoyed all the detail she includes in each page. This variation of the classic gingerbread boy tale is no exception. The day it came home from the library, Stefan picked it up and sat on the couch slowly going through each page. It frequently gets asked for during our reading time.
Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett is a sequel to the Gingerbread Baby book. After this one came home from the library, this took slight precedence as the favorite of the two. I’ve read this many times, and our gingerbread baking was inspired by these illustrations. Both of these books are going on our “to buy” list.
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett. I think you read Brett’s books mainly for the illustrations, but we really enjoyed this story as well. It’s about using kindness, not cruelty to tame the wild reindeer. Just so you are aware, she doesn’t use the traditional names for Santa’s reindeer. Two other Christmas books by Brett that we have enjoyed are Who’s That knocking on Christmas Eve? and Home for Christmas. Both of these are about trolls which Stefan loves for some reason.
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore must be read at Christmas. We have the edition illustrated by Tomie dePaola out from the library and have enjoyed it. However Jan Brett has an edition which looks really lovely.
Christmas in the City by Loretta Krupinski is a sweet story about a mouse couple in New York City giving birth to their babies in the manger display. We enjoyed the detailed illustrations and the fanciful story of the mice roaming around Rockefeller Center at Christmas time.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. Beautifully illustrated and about trains, what more could a child ask for? Of course the movie is also very sweet and fun to watch at Christmas time. This is a keeper and shhh don’t tell but it is sitting under our tree. My son will be thrilled to own this. It is currently still only $9.99 for the hardback version with CD (why I got it!) so snatch it up as that is a really good price for a hard back children’s book.
Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble is a somewhat auto-biographical story about how a horrible blizzard that takes down their beloved apple tree threatens to dampen the Christmas spirit. Find out how her Papa redeems it.
An Early American Christmas by Tomie dePaola is about early New England and how many of the villagers didn’t celebrate Christmas. That all changes when the “Christmas Family” moves into town. We especially loved reading about how they saved the apples from the fall harvest, made their own beeswax candles, and popped and strung popcorn for decorations. If you are ever wanting to decorate like this someday, this would be a fun book to read. The story is fictional, but dePaola did his homework about this, and it is fairly historical. And of course the rest of the town ends up adopting the Christmas ways!
Madeline’s Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans. If you like the Madeline books than you’ll want to check out the Christmas book. No reason except that Madeline books are cute and fun and kids love them. And, it takes place in Paris which of course is especially special for my kids.
Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story is by Sally Lloyd-Jones, the author of the popular Jesus Story Book Bible which we love. This Christmas book came out just last year and is a beautiful poem reflecting the birth of Christ. I briefly mentioned it in my Christmas commitments post. I also really love the illustrations by Alison Jay. They are beautiful and definitely enhance the book.
That’s what we’ve been reading the last few weeks.
What Christmas books have you been enjoying? (I’ll be sure and save the titles for next year!)
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