Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
Christmas Eve started out so perfectly for Maria. Snow had fallen and the streets glittered. Maria’s favorite cousins were coming over and she got to help make the tamales for Christmas dinner. It was almost too good to be true when her mother left the kitchen for a moment and Maria got to try on her beautiful diamond ring. This book has been a family favorite for years. We love the depiction of family and the tradition of making (and eating!) tamales together!
All the Colors of Christmas by Matthew Paul Turner
Matthew Paul Turner celebrates the Christmas season, particularly the colors that infuse the holiday and all the memorable sensations and experiences—including a festive market, sledding, and nativity scene—connected to those bright hues. Matthew draws his readers into a whirling ribbon of the familiar reds and greens of Christmas, as well as other festive hues, including white, gold, blue, and brown.
This book is a feast for the five senses, bringing readers into the colors and experience of Christmas.We especially loved seeing the diversity of kids who dance across the pages.
Tallulah’s Nutcracker by Marilyn Singer
It’s Christmastime, and Tallulah finally gets what she’s been wishing for—a part in a real ballet, a professional production of The Nutcracker. She’s only a mouse, but she works as hard as if she had been cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy. On the night of the show, everything is perfect. But then disaster strikes! Does Tallulah have what it takes to become a real ballerina?
Our family has had a tradition through the years of going to see the Nutcracker Ballet at Christmas. We love the story. One year my daughters auditioned and got to dance as the “bon-bons” in the ballet performed in our city.
The Christmas Promise by Alison Mitchell
This attractive lift-the-flap Advent Calendar for children 5-11 years old matches the illustrations in The Christmas Promise storybook. It comes with a booklet containing 25 devotions for December to help families explore the Bible together in the approach to Christmas. We loved the inviting illustrations and the Bible-centered storytelling in this book, which is especially appealing for younger readers.
Dream Snow by Eric Carle
Baby – Age 3
It’s December 24th, and the old farmer settles down for a winter’s nap, wondering how Christmas can come when there is no snow! In his dream, he imagines a snowstorm covering him and his animals—named One, Two, Three, Four, and Five—in a snowy blanket. But when the farmer awakens, he finds that it has really snowed outside, and now he remembers something! Putting on his red suit, he goes outside and places gifts under the tree for his animals, bringing holiday cheer to all. This is a sweet book for younger readers with bright illustrations that make you feel like you’re inside a snow globe!
The Christmas Fox by Anik McGrory
One by one, from field and forest, the animals make their way to a barn. The cow has sweet-smelling hay to offer the baby. The bluebird has the gift of song. And a lamb has soft, cozy wool. But the shy little fox has nothing to offer . . . or so he thinks. We loved how this book helps us imagine what each animal might bring to the Baby Jesus. This book also can inspire good conversation about what unique gifts we might offer others.
Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell
That cold winter’s night, beneath the star’s light…a Little One came for the world. This book unfolds the story of Jesus’ birth. The use of rhyme and repetition coupled with the beautiful illustrations helps make this book memorable.
My girls loved this book because of all the animals and the sweet illustrations.
Voices of Christmas by Nikki Grimes
Gabriel “paced the halls of heaven” as he memorized God’s message to Mary. He wondered what she would say. The Christmas story unfolds, as never before, through the voices of those who witnessed the Messiah’s birth. Listen to Joseph’s struggle. Rejoice with Elizabeth and Zachariah. Worship with the magi. Hear the fear in Herod’s voice. Receive the blessing of Simeon and Anna. And, like the shepherds, shout for joy! This collection of poetry has long been a favorite. Nikki Grimes brings a unique perspective through her writing, inviting us deeper into the characters of the Christmas story.
Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano
Set to the lyrics of Jose Feliciano’s song “Feliz Navidad” and illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner David Diaz, this unique flipbook features two different, yet traditional, Christmas celebrations! The colorful illustrations in this book make the lyrics come alive. My girls and I always start singing when we are reading this one!
Listen to the Silent Night by Dandi Daley Mackall
It was not such a silent night when Baby Jesus was born. From the baa, baa, baa of sheep to the flut-flut-flutter of angel wings, it was actually quite noisy! This book makes the sights and sounds of Christmas Eve come alive. We love sound words used by the author that remind us Christmas can actually be quite noisy.
Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia C. Mckissack and Fredrick L. Mckissack
A historical book describes Christmas on a pre-Civil War plantation from the viewpoints of the big house family and the slave quarters.The lavish illustrations in this book draw readers right into the story and the time period. The Mckissacks are master storytellers!
Good News! It’s Christmas by Glenys Nellist
Ages Baby and Up
This book is a celebration of the good news that came down to earth as Christ entered into our broken world to become its Savior. I love the way the author makes the story come alive for very young readers with Gospel truth.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but he is always alone and never smiles. No one knows about the mementos of his lost wife and child that he keeps in an unopened drawer. But one early winter’s day, a widow and her young son approach him with a gentle request that leads to a joyful miracle. This story has both a realistic and magical quality to it. My girls always loved this one!
Iguanas in the Snow by Francisco X. Alarcon
Francisco X. Alarcón shows children a city where people are bridges to each other and children sing poetry in two languages. A family frolic in the snow reminds the poet of the iguanas playing by his grandmother’s house in Mexico. Readers are dazzled by the promise of the seedling redwoods — like all children — destined to be the ancestors of tomorrow. We especially liked the brightly-colored, playful illustrations
Baboushka: A Christmas Folktale from Russia by Arthur Scholey
Everyone in the village is bubbling with excitement about the new star in the sky—everyone except old Baboushka, who is busy sweeping, scouring, and polishing her house. Then three strangers arrive. When Baboushka invites them to stay the night, they ask her to join their search for a new baby—an infant king. But Baboushka is too busy with her chores. When at last she follows, bearing gifts for the baby, the newborn king is gone. Some say Baboushka continues her search to this very day, and at Christmas—whenever she sees a sleeping child or hears of good deeds—she will lift a toy from her basket and leave it.
The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado with Jenna, Andrea & Sara Lucado
The Crippled Lamb follows the story of Joshua, a lamb with a crippled leg who feels left out because he can’t run and play like the other lambs. But God has a special plan for Joshua’s life, as He does for all who feel alone. Readers will feel a gentle tug on their hearts as the little lamb’s prayers are answered in an amazing way on Christmas Day. This is a sweet story for kids of all ages.
Papa Panov’s Special Day by Mig Holder
Ages 5 and Up
The heart-warming story of Papa Panov’s generosity reflects the true spirit of Christmas. It is Christmas Day, and Papa Panov, the lonely old shoemaker, is expecting a special visitor. Things do not turn out at all as he thought, but by the end of the day, the sparkle is back behind his little spectacles. Another beautiful Christmas tale that transports readers to another time and place.
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
Person by person, story by story, retrace the lineage of Jesus. Fall in love with Him all over again as you experience God’s plan of salvation for us―from the Garden of Eden to the manger and beyond.This has long been one of our favorite Advent devotionals. If you can’t buy a book for each day, consider investing in this one for the Advent season.
Nine Days to Christmas – A Story of Mexico by Marie Hall ETS & Aurora Labastida
Ceci eagerly awaits Las Posadas, the traditional nine-day series of yuletide celebrations. This year she’ll lead the candlelight procession that reenacts Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem. Meanwhile, Mother takes her to the old marketplace to choose her very first piñata. Ceci is dazzled by the colorful array of options, and after making her choice has second thoughts about the fate of her piñata once the posada takes place. This was my favorite picture book as a child. I loved the invitation into sweet Ceci’s family and culture.
Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite by Anna Harwell Celenza
Ellington’s band members were not so sure that a classical ballet could become a cool-cat jazz number. But Duke and Billy, inspired by their travels and by musical styles past and present, infused the composition with Vegas glitz, Hollywood glamour, and even a little New York jazz. The Nutcracker comes alive with a twist through this book.
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
Mortimer doesn’t like his dark, dingy hole in the wall so he goes in search of something more warm and cozy. He comes across the nativity and decides to make his home there. But one night he learns who the home belongs to, and what he does will be a surprise to the tiny reader. This sweet book helps kids consider what the manger might have been like where the Christchild was born. A sweet story for younger kids.
That Grand Christmas Day by Jill Roman Lord
What happened on the first Christmas day? That Grand Christmas Day! answers that question, imagining the people, objects, and animals that played a part in the first Christmas ever. We loved the imaginative way this book invites readers into the Christmas story.
This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten
Wondrous things are happening in this humble little stable. The animals are gathering around. Shepherds and wise men and angels are coming from afar. All of them are flocking to see the Christ child, born this night in Bethlehem. The cadence and illustrations in this book make it appealing for younger readers and a fun read aloud.
Carol of the Brown King by Langston Hughes
That Christmas is for everyone — young and old, black and white, rich and poor — has never been more clearly shown. Though African American children — and adults — will find the book a special one for them, everyone who takes time to enjoy the book will come away with a new understanding of the holiday. Langston Hughes reimagines these Christmas carols and the brightly-colored illustrations give this book a feeling of joy. Langston Hughes has long been one of my favorite poets. I discovered this book years ago and fell in love.