16 Holiday Children’s Books to Enjoy with Your Family

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Is there even a better time than the holidays to snuggle up and read a book by the fire? Our family is big on traditions, and one of our most favorite holiday traditions is to gift our children a few new holiday children’s books each year.

Our collection started with board books and has grown to include funny stories, historical fiction, and meaningful stories that bring tears to all of our eyes. We celebrate Christmas, but our collection also includes stories from other faiths and traditions. Our collection now takes up a whole box that is stored in the basement with all of our holiday decorations. Each year when we decorate our house, out come the holiday books to be displayed in a special basket by our fireplace. We are all so excited to read each book. Like old friends, they comfort us, warm our hearts, and get us ready for a festive season.

It was hard to narrow it down, but here are 16 of our family’s favorite holiday children’s books:

1. Oskar and the Eight Blessings

Written by Richard Simon and Tanya Simon

Illustrated by Mark Siegel

Oskar, a young refugee from Nazi Germany, is sent to America on a ship with only an address and photograph of his aunt. Oskar arrives in Manhattan and must make the long walk from the harbor to his aunt’s house. Along the way he meets many kind strangers who welcome him to his new home and give him new hope.

2. Little Santa

Written and Illustrated by Yoko Maruyama

Santa’s son spends every Christmas Eve alone while his father travels around the world delivering toys to other children. Then one year, Santa sprains his ankle, and the boy is called in to action to put on the suit and deliver the gifts. Santa surprises his son at the last house with some extra help for a child in need of a special gift.

3. Stick Man

Written by Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Stick Man lives in a tree with his family. One day a dog carries him away in a game of fetch. Other problems take Stick Man farther and farther from home. Desperate to get home for Christmas, Stick Man helps Santa who, in turn, helps him get home just in time to celebrate with his family.

4. Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

Written by Donna L. Washington

Illustrated by Shane W. Evans

When Granna Rabbit is sick for Kwanzaa, Li’l Rabbit sets off to find her a special treat for the big feast called Karamu. When he can’t find anything good enough, he is surprised by his friends who help make his Kwanzaa even more special.

5. Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border

Written by Mitali Perkins

Illustrated by Sara Palacios

Maria, Juan, and their mother travel to the border of California and Mexico to see their grandmother. La Posada is a special day around Christmas when border control allows families to enter enforcement areas and be close to their loved ones. When Juan’s gift doesn’t fit through the fence, Maria comes up with a creative way to get it over to their grandma.

6. The Missing Letters: A Dreidel Story

Written by Renee Londner

Illustrated by Iryna Bodnaruk

One night at the dreidel shop, the letters come to life. The heys, nuns, and shins are jealous of the gimels. They hide the gimels but then learn the story behind the dreidel and realize that Hanukkah would not be complete without all of the letters.

 

7. The Spirit of Christmas

Written and Illustrated by Nancy Tillman

Through beautiful language, rhythm, and rhyme, we learn the true spirit of Christmas is spending time with those we love.

8. Red & Lulu

Written and Illustrated by Matt Tavares

Red and Lulu are cardinals who live in an evergreen tree. One day while Red is out, the tree is cut down and hauled away with Lulu in it. Red chases the truck as far as he can but loses it and then gets lost in New York City. He almost gives up hope when he hears a familiar song that leads him back to Lulu and a beautiful new home.

9. Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale

Written by Brian P. Cleary

Illustrated by David Udovic

With both humor and rhyme, this book tells the story of a big Jewish family celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah. Everyone will be able to relate to the roller coaster of craziness and joy that the holidays can bring!

10. An Orange for Frankie

Written and Illustrated by Patricia Polacco

Frankie is the youngest son in a big family. Although they don’t have much, Frankie’s family is known to help and feed those in need. Frankie even secretly gives away his only sweater to a shivering homeless man. Every year Frankie looks forward to his Christmas orange. He’s so excited that he forgets to leave it on the mantel as he’s told and loses it at church. When he comes clean about the sweater and the orange, his family is so moved by his generosity that they all share a slice of their orange, so Frankie doesn’t miss out.

11. The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice

Written by Wendy Pfeffer

Illustrated by Jesse Reisch

It’s interesting to learn about the history behind the Winter Solstice in this informative book. Ancient myths and holiday origins all revolve around the once mysterious shortest day.

12. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

Written by Eric Kimmel

Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

Hershel is a traveller who arrives at a village under the siege of goblins who have taken over the synagogue and challenged anyone trying to celebrate Hanukkah. With courage and bravery, Hershel out-wits each goblin one by one and brings joy celebration back to the village.

13. How Santa Got His Job

Written by Stephen Krensky

Illustrated by S.D. Schindler

This story goes way back to follow a young Santa through his first few jobs that gave him the skills he needed to be the big man in red. Children will love to see Santa as a chimney sweep, postman, and circus performer and then learn how he meets a group of elves that help him put all of his talents to use in his dream job!

14. The Sound of Kwanzaa

Written by Dimitrea Tokunbo

Illustrated by Lisa Cohen

The Sound of Kwanzaa is a simple introduction to the principals of Kwanzaa told through rhythmic language and colorful illustrations.

15. Wombat Divine

Written by Mem Fox

Illustrated by Kerry Argent

Wombat is so excited that he is finally old enough to be in the nativity play. But, at tryouts he gets discouraged as each exciting role goes to someone else. Then, as the very last decision, the director gives Wombat the perfect role for his sleepy self.

16. The 12 Sleighs of Christmas

Written by Sherri Dusky Rinker

Illustrated by Jake Parker

When the elves realize that Santa’s sleigh is in bad shape, they compete to create the best new and improved sleigh for him to use on Christmas. Teams of elves present Santa with sleighs that resemble big rigs, snow plows, floating ships, and more, but it is the littlest elf that creates the perfect sleigh for Santa.

And there you have it! Our wish for you and your family is that you enjoy some quality reading time this holiday season.
Maybe you will enjoy a book off this list or maybe you have a favorite of your own. If so, let us know what your favorite holiday books are!

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