Christmas is my favorite time of year: the smell of pine, the anticipation of what Santa will leave for everyone under the tree, the baking of cookies, the sights and sounds of the Yule season, and the big stack of Christmas books for kids that we have accumulated over the years.
Here’s a list of the most cherished Christmas books for kids in our house:
Gingerbread Mouse – My girls love that the young female character in this Christmas book by Katy Bratun knows that the mouse gets into the house and sets up shop inside the gingerbread house. That she, and Santa, are so kind makes this one one of the best holiday books for kids.
A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree – The rhyming makes this sweet Christmas tale tough to read repeatedly, but this wonderfully illustrated wish will bring a lil’ tear to your eyes a few times every season.
Olive, the Other Reindeer – We’re pretty big fans of illustrator J. Otto Siebold and this modern Christmas classic for children, written by Vivian Walsh, never, ever gets old. I still laugh hard at lines like “Olive was surprised it was so easy to fly.”
Little Tree – Chris Raschka’s adaptation of an e.e. cummings poem over-uses the word ‘little’ but still proves a durable Christmas book to read to your children year after year.
The Nutty Nutcracker Christmas – A very clever spin on the tried and true Nutcracker story, by kindie rock star Ralph Covert of Ralph’s World.
On Christmas Eve – With gentle, whitewashed illustrations like Cybill Shepherd’s face in Moonlighting, this Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Moon) story of the night before Christmas is about being in awe of the sights and sounds of the greatest day (and night) of the year.
The Dinosaur’s Night Before Christmas – A clever take on the old tale with dinos at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. An accompanying CD features Al Roker reading the tale and a hilarious new version of “Deck the Halls.”
Toot & Puddle I’ll Be Home For Christmas – Yeah, it follows the same predictable T&P script (Toot is away, both pigs are anxious for their reunion in Woodcock Pocket), but there is a bit of Christmas magic added here making it pretty special and quite a delightful read.
Christmas may not be your thing, so here are some other winter favorites of ours in the childrens’ library:
Owl Moon – This Jane Yolen classic is my single most-cherished kid’s book ever. I just cannot make any list of books without Owl Moon.
Houndsley and Catina The Quiet Time – James Howe (Bunnicula) pens a subtle masterpiece about the peacefulness of a big snow. One of our all-time favorite books.
A version of this first appeared on Out with the Kids.