It started innocently enough: a friend asked, “What Christmas picture books would I recommend?” What happened: I scoured my home library for all Christmas picture books, I made a crazy-long list of books I like to read aloud (but don’t necessarily own), I researched the most recently published Christmas/Hanukkah/winter books, and I placed holds on over 30 books to read and/or reread. Oh, and I ordered one book outright based on outstanding reviews (Little Santa by Jon Agee).
Now back to the topic: what would I recommend as Christmas stories from the ones I personally own?
The Polar Express by Chris VanAllsburg
A classic must-own. Have a bell nearby while you read it. Share with ages 3+.
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
Buy it if you love the other Mouse story, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Share with ages 2+.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
A must-own. Another all-time classic. Share with ages 3+.
Christmas Cookies: bite-size holiday lessons by Amy Krause Rosenthal
Buy it if you’re looking for a book to reinforce positive virtues during the holiday season (I do!). Share with ages 4+.
Olive, the Other Reindeer by J Otto Seibold
Buy it if your kids sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” non-stop. Mine do. Share with ages 3+.
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas illustrated by Matt Tavares
Buy this version if you need a beautifully illustrated black and white version of the classic story for Christmas Eve. This is a must-own for me. Share with all ages.
Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed
Buy this fantastical story for kids who question whether or not Santa really exists. The photo evidence on the last page will spark amazing discussion (and possible some research!). Bonus for the Pacific NW folks: the story is set on Vashon Island. A must-own for me. Share with ages 8+.
Can You See What I See? Night Before Christmas by Walter Wick
Buy this if your child loves to play I Spy. I got this for my boy H, who spends hours pouring over the photographs. Share with ages 2+.
I Spy Christmas by Jean Marzollo
The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett
Buy it if you would prefer your stories with full-color illustrations. I bought this one, then found the Tavares illustrated version (which I prefer). Share with all ages.
Toot and Puddle I’ll be Home for Christmas by Holly Hobbie
Buy this if you like sweet stories of friendship during the Christmas season. This was a gift to our family. Share with ages 4+.
The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by Brian Wildsmith
Buy this if you can sing all twelve verses of the famous song from memory. Or if you can’t, and you wish you can. Or if you just love lush gauche illustrations. Either way, it’s a beautiful old book. A must-own for me (I got it secondhand). Share with ages 3+.
Upcoming posts will include winter/snow read-alouds and children’s characters at Christmas. Fun!