Friday, January 8, 2010

Children's Christmas Book Recommendations

What comes to mind when you think of Christmas?

Family.  Presents.  Tree.  Decorations.  Shopping.  Cookies.  The list goes on and on.

What about books?

Do books come to mind when you think of Christmas?  They do for me and I hope that one day they will for my children also.

To reach that goal, every year I purchase two or three children's books to add to our collection.  This year I brought them all out when we decorated our Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving.  I think next year I will wrap them all and open one each day (or two) to help increase everyone's anticipation and delight in the books.

Yes, I'm already thinking about next Christmas.  Which is why I'm making this list of our books and why I enjoy them.  I bet some of you are wondering what books to pick up in those after-Christmas sales.

With that in mind, here's what my family enjoys reading at Christmas:

The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel.  Multnomah Publishers, 2004.

This book is a must have!  It is packed full of activity ideas that you can use to relate back to the meaning of Christmas.

Best to use with children 5 years old and up.

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham.  Illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson.  Baker Books Publishing, 1994.

We've used this book in nightly our Jesse Tree activities.  A fictional character tells the Christmas Story beginning at Creation and ending at the Resurrection.  Some major events and people are grouped together so additional books and material have been helpful for our purposes.

I like how the book focuses on the big picture of Christmas.

The Gift of the Christmas Cookie by Dandi Daley Mackall.  Illustrated by Deborah Chabrian.  Zonderkidz, 2008.

Jack learns to tell the Christmas story by giving away cookies shaped like characters from the Bible.

I like how this story brings a purpose to our tradition cookie baking.  I hope to start a new tradition: read the book, bake cookies, and deliver them to our neighbors while telling the story of Jesus.

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg.  Illustratated by James Bernardin.  Zonderkidz, 1997.

A "sweet" retelling of the invention of the candy cane.  I like how the story and illustrations include the birth and crucifixion of Jesus.  I'm hoping that when my kids see a candy cane they'll think "J is for Jesus."

I especially enjoy the illustrations which are acrylic and colored pencil.

The Little Drummer Boy.  Illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats.  Macmillan, 1968.

A classic Christmas carol set to colorful illustrations.  Each page contains vibrant colors.  I'm drawn to the non-Western feel of the illustrations, which is appropriate since the Christmas story occurred in Israel.  My favorite page contains a picture of the infant Jesus reaching his hand out of his cradle.

Read this book with your kids and you'll all be pa-rum-pum-pum-puming for the rest of the day.

The Visit of the Wise Men by Martha Jander.  Illustrations by Lin Wang.  Concordia, 2007.

Simple rhymes tell of the Wise Men's discovery of a star, their encounter with Herod, and their worship of the child Jesus.  The illustrations are full of detail and visually rich.

I especially appreciated the Christ Child being in a home and NOT a stable.

Lift the Flap Nativity by Allia Zobel Nolan.  Illustrated by Trace Moroney.  Reader's Digest, 2001.

Using Luke 2 and Matthew 2 Nolan uses simple words to tell the Christmas story so that a toddler or preschooler will understand.  And who can resist lifting all the flaps while reading the story?!

Amazingly this book has stayed in excellent condition in spite of receiving much attention from my 14 month old son.  Wish I could say them same about a few other books!

The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt.  Illustrations by Tim Jonke.  David C. Cook, 1989.

A traditional folktale describes 3 trees with dreams for their future.  All are chopped down and eventually used in ways they THOUGHT didn't fit their dreams until they realize they are being used by Jesus.

This book can be used year round but is especially fitting during Christmas and Easter.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.  Random House, 1957.

You can't have Christmas without the Grinch? Can you?!  We LOVE reading the Grinch at my house.  My husband and I use "Grinchy" voices when we read, which my children have started imitating as they take turns pretending to be the Grinch.

Though not strictly about THE Christmas story, we enjoy reading about the Grinch's redemption each year.

Those are the Children's Christmas books currently in my personal library.  Any recommendations for books I should by next Christmas?


Jenn said...

Thank-you! Such a perfect post! I had decided before Christmas that we would start that tradition next year. I will purchase an advent calendar and each night we will move the little figure and Addi can unwrap a book which we will read. Thanks again for the great book list we must get for our family!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

Thanks for sharing this list. I love the idea of buying Christmas books. I did buy two this year and have packed them away with the decorations. This list gives me some great ideas for next year.

Amy said...

Good list! We have several of these and enjoy them, too! I scored The Grinch 50% off this year...always helps to know what you're looking for! :)

Carrie said...

We do not won a copy of The Grinch (GASP - can you believe it?) OR the Legend of the Candy Cane. I did pick up The Little Drummer Boy on clearance this year because, like yourself, we're adding to our collection. And my plan is to totally wrap up all the books next year and let them open them. Oh yes!

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