Growing up, one of my favorite holiday traditions was reading Christmas books during the month of December. These were books that stayed packed away in the attic the rest of the year, making them extra special. My favorite was The Tree That Stayed Up Until Next Christmas by Robert Kraus. Sadly, that book is no longer in print, but there are plenty of other good ones out there to enjoy with your family.
by Eric Litwin and James Dean
Everyone’s favorite cat is back, and when Santa gets sick, it’s up to Pete to save Christmas. Not only does Pete deliver all the presents in the nick of time, but he teaches readers the importance of giving it your all when faced with a challenge. Be sure to check out this link so you’ll be able to sing along with Pete. Groovy!
by Chris Van Allsburg
Every time we pull this one out, my boys look at me and ask, “Are you going to cry this time?” and my answer is always, “Of course!” The last page gets me every time. With heartwarming prose and beautiful illustrations, Chris Van Allsburg’s story celebrates the magic of Christmas. I, for one, hope I never get too old to hear the tinkle of the bells.
by Clement C. Moore
No Christmas collection would be complete without at least one version of Clement C. Moore’s famous poem. My personal favorite is Mary Englebreit’s illustrated one. Her whimsical and colorful illustrations bring the characters to life. Santa’s eyes truly sparkle while his elves scurry about with mischievous grins.
This was one of my favorites growing up, and it is definitely meant to be read aloud. It takes the traditional story and sets it in the bayou, where Santa’s sleigh has been replaced by a skiff pulled by eight French gators. There are other books in this collection illustrated by James Rice, including Southern, hillbilly, and Texas versions. So, decide which accent you do best and give one a go!
by Carol Heyer
This story is told by Humphrey, a camel in the wise men’s caravan. When Humphrey loses his most prized possession, his carpet blanket, he sets out to find a new one. What he finds, however, is a baby in a manger, causing him to reconsider his ideas about the greatest treasure of all.
by Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama returns to get ready for Christmas. From shopping with Mama to baking cookies and making gifts, Llama Llama begins to experience the stress the holidays often bring. While young readers will appreciate this book for the characters they’ve come to know and love, older readers will appreciate the reminder to slow down during the holidays and focus on people instead of things.
by Gale Wiersum
This is a Little Golden Book, so you know it has to be good. In rhyming verse, the animals tell the Christmas story by reminiscing on that special night so long ago. The text also emphasizes counting, as the animals increase in number as they tell the story of Jesus’ birth in this sweet book.
by Melinda Long
This book combines informative letters with the traditional 12 days of Christmas, South Carolina-style. Connor has invited his cousin Laura to join him in SC for Christmas, so she writes letters back to her parents, teaching them everything she is learning about the state. From kudzu to Rainbow Row, readers will learn what makes South Carolina unique. This is part of the Twelve Days of Christmas in America collection, which features similar books for other states and regions of the country.
by Barbara Robinson
From the very first sentence–The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world— Barbara Robinson has her audience hooked. Geared toward older readers, the Herdmans’ crazy antics are sure to make them laugh out loud. Yet, even in the midst of the chaos the Herdmans cause, the true meaning of the Christmas story shines through
What are your favorite children’s books to read at Christmas?