I've posted before about the books we've used in our Advent book countdown, but we've mixed in a couple new favorites so that I thought I'd share those with you too.
1 - The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden. Godden has written several enchanting stories about the secret life of dolls; if you have a little girl you must introduce her to this fun world. This is a heartwarming story about Christmas wishes: the wishes of doll, a girl, and a lonely woman.
2 - Christmas In Noisy Village by Astrid Lingren. You are probably familiar with Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking books. Her Noisy Village books are full of just as much whimsy and childish fun. The vintage illustrations (almost Norman Rockwell like) give this book an extra quaint feel.
3 - The Night the Angels Sang by Allan Ross. This was one of Jeremy's favorite Christmas books as a child. It tells the nativity story through the eyes of Josiah, the young son of one of the shepherds.
4 - Who is Coming to Our House by Joseph Slate. A cute story about animals preparing their 'house' for a very special visitor. This book is perfect for a beginning reader. Most of the pages only have one sentence and most of the words are just one syllable.
5 - When it Snowed That Night by Norma Farber. Sweet poems tell the tale of animals and people as the travel to Bethlehem on that sacred night. While the poems are simple and whimsical they still manage to have magnitude and tug at the heart strings.
6 - Nine Days To Christmas by Maria Hall Ets. A Caldacott winner, the illustrations of this book are of course fabulous. What I like most about it though is that is gives a glimpse of, and brings to life, the Christmas traditions of Mexico.
7 - Shooting at the Stars by John Hendrix. When I saw this book I knew I had to get it to read to Big Budd; he is fascinated with military and wars. I don't want to squelch his desire to protect or fight for justice but I do want to him to know that wars are always fought against people...people who aren't that different from him. In this book a young British soldier writes home to his mom telling her about the one day truce his unit made with the Germans on Christmas Eve of 1914.
All of my kiddos still enjoy picture books. As they have gotten older, though, the amount of time they can spend listen to stories has increased so we usually also enjoy a couple chapter books. Here are some of our Christmas themed favorites.
1 - The Box of Delights by John Masefield. A British classic this thriller fantasy is a great read aloud for older children. Kay Harper is given a mysterious magical box that has many powers including traveling through time. Kay and his friends must protect this box from villains who want to do away with Christmas.
2 - The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum. Departing from the usually comparison to the historical Saint Nicholas, Baum creates a whole new origin for Santa Claus. He tells the tell of Santa from birth to old age and much like his Oz books it's full of playfulness and magic. If possible, get the version illustrated by Michael Hague, his stunning ink and water color pictures make the tale even more delightful.
3 - Nancy and Plum by Betty Macdonald. This sweet vintage story tells of two spunky orphans sisters who are determined not to spend another Christmas at their cruel boarding house. With plenty of mischievousness and a heart warming ending it's a great Christmas read. PS - If you haven't read Macdonald's Mrs. Piggle Wiggle book you must - it it one of our favorites!
4 - Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien. This isn't really a chapter book but instead a collection of letters and drawings that Tolkien sent to his children from Santa Claus. The book includes scans of the original letters and envelopes so you can see Tolkien's fun details. This book would perfect gift for any Hobbit and LoTR fan.
5 - The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson. Last year, while reading this book to the children I got so engrossed in it that I finished it one night without them. Armand is a Parisian hobo who has no time for children. However, when he finds three children under his bridge they see his goodness and begin to steal his heart.
6 - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This classic tale is a must read for any well read person. It's a bit hard to find but I love the unabridged illustrated version by P.J. Lynch.
If you would like to see our previous Christmas book picks you can here. We are always looking for new books to enjoy, if you have a favorite please share.