We just started our picture book Advent today. I wrap 24 Christmas themed books each year, and every morning leading up to Christmas we open one and read it. Jeremy does a Jesse Tree Advent that we made using The Jesus Storybook Bible at night, but since we homeschool I wanted something we could work into our school day.
It's a good problem to have, but it was actually hard narrowing down our favorite Christmas books to 24. I struggled with which on ones to wrap; then Jeremy remind me that even if I didn't wrap them we could still read them. So we have our wrapped books and a few other picture books in a basket. Read-aloud-time is one of my favorite activities to do with my kiddos and Christmas books are just so fun!
Here is the list of the 24 I finally narrowed it down too.
- The Story of the Orchestra, The Nutcracker, by
- If Picasso Had a Christmas Tree, by Eric Gibbons
- Voices of Christmas, by Nikki Grimes
- The Story of Holly and Ivy, by Rumor Godden
- The Story of Christmas for Children, by
- This Is the Stable, by
- Apple Tree Christmas, by Trinka Hakes Noble
- We Were There: A Nativity Story by Eve Bunting
- Christmas in the Trenches, by John McCutcheon
- The ABC's of Christmas, by Jill Howarth
- Red and Lulu, by Matt Tavares
- Song of the Stars, by Sally Lloyd-Jones
- The Twelve Days of Christmas, by Emma Randall
- The Gingerbread Doll, by Susan Tews
- The Night the Angels Sang, by Allan Ross
- Christmas Day in the Morning, by
- The Little Reindeer, by Nicola Killen
- New Coat of Anna, by Harriet Ziefert
- The Legend of St. Nick, by Dandi Daley Mackall
- Josie's Gift, by Kathleen Bostrom
- The Little Drummer Boy, by Ezra Jack Keats
- The Gift of the Magi, by O Henry
- An Orange for Frankie, by Patricia Polacco
- The Night Before Christmas, illustrated by Grandma Moses
One thing really special about our wrapped Advent books this year is that a few of them: The Night Before Christmas, The ABC's of Christmas, The Story of Christmas for Children, and, The Night the Angels Sang are hand-me-downs from Jeremy's mom. There is something heartwarming to know that he enjoyed these same books as a child.
Probably my boys' favorite Christmas book of all time is We Were There: A Nativity Story by Eve Bunting. There are lots of stories from the farm animals point-of-view; this story is about how the animals we find 'creepy' also took note of of Jesus's birth and worshiped.
Most of the books listed above are old favorites but there are few new ones we just became acquainted: Red and Lulu, The Little Reindeer, and The Story of the Orchestra,The Nutcracker. I decided to start us off with The Nutcracker, since we are going to see the ballet in a couple weeks. I think it's brilliant how they included clips of the orchestra on each page. The last page also gives you a tiny biography on Tchaikovsky as well as a little lesson on musical theory.
In addition to the picture books we will also be enjoying some Christmas themed chapter books. Little Lady and Mini Man will be independently reading Noelle of the Nutcraker and Big Buddy will read The Birds' Christmas Carol. I adore Louisa May Alcott, but just discovered The Quiet Little Women; I am hoping I can find some time to enjoy it. Side-note, I think every mom, especially every homeschool mom, should read Little Men - it is so good! We've already started Nancy and Plum as a read-aloud and are almost finished...the kids beg for one more chapter every-time.
American Christmases and Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas were both happy finds at our library's for sale room. American Christmas is a fascinating book; it contains short first hand accounts (letters, diaries, etc) from the 1600's to 2004.
I'm planning on adding listening to and study a Christmas carol to our routine in December. The above mentioned book contains 31 songs so we already got a head start and so far have really enjoyed the stories.
Last year we read A Christmas Carol for the first time. I'm hoping we get to it again this year; we might end up going the audible route. We are already planning on listening to Winter Holiday, a sequel to one of our favorite book we read this fall, Swallows and Amazons.
If you can't tell - I love me some Christmas books! If you are interested here are two other lists I composed in the past: 2016 and 2014. If you have some favorites I haven't listed I'd love to hear about them!
Hope the beginning of your Advent has been a happy and restful one.