When it’s cold outside I love to make a cup of tea, curl up under a blanket, and read to myself or out loud to the family. I had so much fun putting together this list of some of the most beloved and recommended books for this time of year. Some of these we own, some we have borrowed from the library, and some are on my wish list.
I hope you enjoy this list of suggested children’s books for the Christmas season!
I highly recommend this book for the story and the artwork. The artist did all of the original artwork in oil paintings, and they are beautiful. The focus of this book is a small lamb named Joshua. He can’t run and play like the other lambs, but he does have a faithful friend named Abigail who is his constant companion. This book shows the tender love God has for those who feel alone and different. Abigail tells Joshua that God has a special plan for him and when you see the answer to Joshua’s prayer at the end, you may cry as I do every time I read it to my girls. We read this throughout the year, not just at Christmas because of the amazing message of how we all have a part in God’s plan, even when it seems like we are being left behind because we are different than those around us.
This book is read by some at Christmas and Easter because the trees that this traditional folktale revolves around are part of each of those stories. The three trees all have a wish/dream for how they will be used once they are cut down. Time goes on and they continue to grow and forget their dreams. They all have their dreams come true, just not in the way they could have imagined. This book has a beautiful message for children and adults about how God can use all of us in some way, but sometimes it’s not what we planned on or expected.
We are big Tolkien fans and I can’t believe we didn’t already own this, but it is going in our reading rotation for this December. Every December from 1920 – 1943 an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children. Inside they would find a letter and a drawing or painting from Father Christmas. Each letter told the children about all the adventures Father Christmas had at the North Pole. I can’t imagine how exciting that must have been for his children, and I think it’s fantastic that we can read them today.
This book features a sad and Scrooge-like woodcutter named Jonathan Toomey. He is quite content to be angry, unfriendly, and he keeps the real reason for his sadness a secret. Then his life is turned upside down through the grace and kindness shown to him by a widow and her son. This book is very sweet and shows how the Christmas story can change even the saddest heart. The artwork is rich and detailed throughout the book.
Fancy Nancy is so fancy that little girls just love her, as do many moms who loved to be fancy at that age too. This book has Fancy Nancy in her most fancy form preparing for all the exciting decorating and splendiferous fun that comes with Christmas. Following the theme of most Fancy Nancy books, this book has Nancy face a situation that didn’t turn out the way she expected. The book has Nancy learn a heartwarming lesson from her Grandpa on traditions and what you make of them. The illustrations are fun and cheerful, and children can learn a lot of advanced vocabulary from Fancy Nancy.
This book features the Herdman children who are known as the “worst kids in the history of the world,” and who take over the Christmas pageant. They have never been to church and never heard the Christmas Story, so they offer their interpretation of it–which shocks some of the church members. This book is about the kids that no one wants to go near because they are so bad, but they are the ones who need the Christmas story the most. There are great laughs in this book but also great lessons about how the Christmas Story can deeply impact those who have never heard it before. And maybe–just maybe–it can help those who have heard the story a hundred times see it in a new light.
This is the traditional poem by Clement C. Moore, but with the beautiful illustrations by Mary Englebreit. The story is a classic and that is unchanged in this edition. The best thing about this book is the rich detail in every drawing that children love to look at over and over. This edition makes a great keepsake or gift.
“The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! / Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.”
I have loved this classic Dr. Seuss book since I was a child. From the Who’s in Whoville who are happily going about their lives to the Grinch who can’t stand how happy they are, the story is a wonderful life lesson. I think this book is a beautiful lesson for kids on how selfish thoughts and disregard for others leads to terrible things. Then they can see that what the Grinch did to be mean didn’t affect the Who’s – rather they still sang because they had each other. The impact of that on the Grinch changes his whole outlook and shows children that hearts can change and forgiveness is real.
In 1986 The Polar Express was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal and hit the New York Times bestseller list. My mother read it every year at the Christmas when my siblings were small and now she reads it to my girls via Skype each Christmas Eve and she cries every time. The book is fairly short, but so sweet and filled with wonder in additional to beautiful illustrations. NOTE: This book does introduce the possibility that Santa isn’t real, so be aware of that if you haven’t read it to your kids before. I think this book continues to be popular because even adults like to imagine what it would be like to take a train to the North Pole.
I know this list could include at least two dozen more books, but I had to narrow it down to fit in one post. I would love for you to comment and share any books or family reading traditions you recommend.