Books are such a fun, easy thing to add to your family’s holiday traditions. 📚 ❄️ 📚 Here are some of our favorite books celebrating the holiday season in all shapes, colors, and sizes (listed in no particular order.)
The Bear and the Star, Lola M. Schaefer, illus. Bethanne Andersen
This book has gorgeous winter illustrations and tells the story of a bear who works to prepare for a holiday celebration that brings people and animals from far & wide together in peace.
Queen of the Hannukah Dosas, Pamela Ehrenberg, illus. Anjan Sarkar
This book for 4-6 year olds mixes traditional Jewish and Indian celebratory foods and themes in a sweet story about making dosas for Hanukkah.
The Nutcracker in Harlem, T.E. McMorrow, illus. James Ransome
This creative book is a retelling of The Nutcracker through the eyes of Marie, who opens a magical present at her family’s jazz-inspired Christmas party.
The Shortest Day, Susan Cooper, illus. Carson Ellis
Derived from a poem celebrating the winter solstice and “the return of light,” The Shortest Day explores the joy of the sunrise after the dark, long days of winter.
Christmas Tree Books
I am a sucker for books about trees (Christmas or otherwise) — here are three of our favorites for the holiday season:
Pick a Pine Tree, Patricia Toht, illus. Jarvis
This cute book follows a family as they pick out a simple evergreen tree from the lot and then transform it into a glowing, cheerful Christmas tree. (It made me want to go out and get ours right now!)
The Tree That’s Meant to Be, Yuval Zommer
This adorable story about a rangy little pine tree is so cute and whimsical. I love The Horn Book’s on-point description: it “underscores the message that Christmas is about companionship and togetherness. Zimmer’s illustrations capture piney textures and manage to imbue the scraggly arboreal underdog with heart and personality.”
Christmas Farm, Mary Lyn Ray, illus. Barry Root
This book about two neighbors who set out to start a Christmas tree farm is both heart-warming and didactic (first we measure the rows, then we dig holes, next we’ll plant the seedlings…) — make sure to also check out the author’s note at the end about the history of Christmas trees!
Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story, Hena Khan, illus. Julie Paschkis
This beautiful book walks through Ramadan as the moon changes — it’s a wonderful introduction to the holiday (it’s not religious) and Muslim-American culture, community, food, and art.
Dasher, Matt Tavares
This reader-recommended sweet and magical story reads like a retelling about how Santa got his reindeer. It starts at the circus, which may seem odd, but it’s a very holiday-y (that’s a word, right?) book and has a “classic Christmas story” kind of tone and feel to it.
The Magic of Friendship Snow, Andi Cann
This is a sweet story about — you guessed it — friendship. Jojo feels alone until she befriends Puddles, a magical snowman, and learns about the joy of true friendship.
Hanukkah Bear, Eric A. Kimmel, illus. Mike Wohnoutka
This story about latkes so deliciously tempting that they lure a bear out of hibernation has a fun and quirky plot that kids love (it may or may not involve the latke chef mistaking the bear for her rabbi).
The Christmas Quiet Book, Deborah Underwood, illus. Renata Liwska
I love The Quiet Book. The cadence and the simplicity of it are beautiful, IMO (🙋🏻♀️ introvert here, BTW), and the Christmas edition is equally endearing. An especially great pick for those in need of calming reads, or for right before bedtime.
The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg
The book that needs no introduction. It’s an all-time Christmas classic that stands the test of time.
The Jolly Christmas Postman, Allan Ahlberg, illus. Janet Ahlberg
A fun book with inserts — the postman visits all your classic fairy tale favorites, and you get to read all their letters aloud. A very interactive reading experience 😉.
That’s a wrap, folks. Do you have other holiday favorites your family loves reading? Please share in the comments! 🙂