The 2011 holidays are officially here! I can’t think of a better way to share and create special memories with your children than to read wonderful holiday stories with them. Good books provide opportunities to teach and explore, as well as share what the holidays mean to your family. Here are some of my all time favorite Christmas inspired books with a little background on why it makes the list. All of these books are perfect for kids 4 years and older and they make great gifts!
Olive the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh
Illustrated by J. Otto Seibold
When Olive the dog gets the idea that she’s actually a reindeer, she heads up to the North Pole to help Santa and goes on an amazing adventure. This book is super fun and J. Otto Seibold’s illustrations are bright, modern and interesting. Your kids will love this book! Every time I have read it to groups, as well as my own kids, I’ve had a captive audience.
The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson
Illustrated by Jon J. Muth
My youngest son and I recently discovered this book on a trip to the library and we love it. Beautifully illustrated by Jon J. Muth (Zen Shorts and Zen Ties), Lauren Thompson shares a sweet story of how Santa prepares for his famous midnight ride with some help from the special magic of Christmas.
Drummer Boy by Loren Long
In this story, a beloved little toy drummer boy gets lost and finds himself on a journey to get back where he belongs. In each of his encounters he gives his special gift of music and brings peace. When I’ve read this book, the kids become very concerned about the Drummer Boy, as if it is one of their own toys. Long’s wonderful illustrations pull you into the story with their detail and perspective.
Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Breuhner
Illustrated by Mark Breuhner
A boy builds a snowman and starts to wonder what he does to celebrate Christmas. In this fun, companion story to the New York Times bestseller, Snowmen at Night, the snow people have a holiday celebration all their own and they definitely know how to have fun! Mark Breuhner’s detailed illustrations illuminate the nighttime scenes and the holiday lights seem to light up the page. Great book!
Home for Christmas by Jan Brett
New York Times bestselling author Jan Brett creates beautiful books with her signature illustrations and wonderful storytelling. Home for Christmas is no exception. In this story, a little troll learns a lesson about how special “home” truly is just in time for Christmas.
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
Illustrated by Felicia Bond
The fun, holiday spin on the award-winning book series; If You Take a Mouse to the Movies features a special little mouse with a lot of big ideas. This book is also available as a special Christmas Edition that includes recipes, activities, sheet music, author insights and a DVD. A nice gift!
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by Diane Goode
One of my favorite children’s books of all time is Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. In Christmas in the Barn, Brown borrows from that wonderful story, but features the story of the birth of Jesus in its wonderful, lyrical verse.
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
In Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, Mr. Willowby receives “the biggest tree he has ever seen” and decides to trim it down a bit and share it with his tenant. She in turn does the same and the tree continues to be trimmed and pieces passed to families throughout the town, sharing the holiday spirit and bringing joy to others.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the classic Dr. Seuss story of the Grinch who hates Christmas and the Whos of Whoville that help him discover the true meaning of the holiday. If you like rhyme, this book is an absolute treat to read.
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
Illustrated by Jane Chapman
Share the story of the birth of Jesus from a mouse’s perspective. In Mortimer’s Christmas Manager, a little mouse starts out looking for cozy new place to sleep and learns why the place he found is so special. Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman, best selling creators of Bear Snores On, this book is a wonderful addition to your holiday reading list.
The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman
Nancy Tillman has created a beautiful book to help celebrate the holiday with The Spirit of Christmas. Touching on everything that is special about this time of year, especially spending time with those we love, Tillman brings our hopes and dreams of Christmas to life. Detailed and interesting illustrations hide the spirit of Christmas on every page for your little ones to find.
And of course, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without The Night Before Christmas. The classic tale by Clement C. Moore has been illustrated by a number of artists. The version illustrated by Tom Browning and published in 2009 is really beautiful.
I hope you share some of these special stories with your family this year and create memories to treasure. Click here to download a printable list of these books to take with you on your next trip to the library.