Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Book Recommendations

Christmas time is a wonderful time to snuggle together and enjoy a good book.  Why not add a few of these titles to your library this Christmas and create a wonderful memory with a book?  Giving children books for Christmas and birthdays teaches them that books are something to be treasured and valued.  A book is also going to be more meaningful than many of the fad toys around today.

These books have become integral parts to our families Christmas celebration.  We read them together each year.  They have become just as important as the stockings or the tree to my children!  Make them a part of your Christmas tradition and you will be glad you did!  Its easy...grab a cup of warm cocoa and a blanket and read!

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski--Mr. Toomey is well known as the best woodcarver around.  However, he is so solemn the village children have nicknamed him Mr. Gloomy.  A widow and her son call on him and ask his help in carving a creche in time for Christmas.  Little does he know it, but this job is one that will change his life.  This story has quickly become a classic since it was first published in 1995.  Children and adults love to read this heartwarming story. 

 The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg--A little boy is swept away on a train late at night to the North Pole.  Another modern day classic read aloud this time of year.

The Christmas Cat by Efner Tudor Holmes--A cat is left out on his own in the cold of winter after his family moves away and abandons him.  A kind bearded man finds the kitty and brings him to a new home.  Beautifully illustrated by the renowned Tasha Tudor, this is a very nice story to read together this Christmas.

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas by Julia Rawlinson--  We have always loved the Fletcher books ever since a friend introduced them to me.  (There is one for every check out the whole series!)  In this story, the Rabbits have moved to a new burrow.  Fletcher the fox has to help Santa find their new home. 

Silver Packages:  An Appalachian Christmas Story by Cynthia Rylant--This story was inspired by the "Christmas Train" which rolls through the Appalachian Mountains each Christmas season.  From this train, tons of toys are tossed to children who wait patiently by the tracks.  Cynthia Rylant is one of my favorite children's offers.  This is a very special book that helps remind us that Christmas time is not about receiving, but about giving.  

The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown--The author of this book (most famous for her story Good Night Moon) tells an inspiring tale of a little fir tree growing by the edge of a forest.  Every year a man comes and digs the fir tree up and brings him to his son's room for Christmas.  The little boy is lame and can not get out of bed.  Then every spring the fir tree is returned to the ground.  Each year the fir tree grows bigger and stronger as does the little boy.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman --  These "Little Golden Books" are included here for nostalgic reasons.  Many of my readers probably grew up reading Little Golden Books.  They are still just as good today as they were when we were children.  These two tales tell the classic tales of two famous Christmas characters.  If you can find these classic books, GRAB them!  The originals are definitely better than the newer golden books in my opinion.  You can often buy them used on eBay and Amazon.  My copies are from my childhood which makes them all the more valuable to me.

Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey by Robert Byrd--Late one winter day in Italy, St. Francis the patron saint of animals, encounters an unhappy donkey.  St. Francis tells him the story of his origins and the story of the "Christmas Donkey"--  The donkey who carried Mary over tough terrain to the city of Bethlehem.

The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden-- Ivy, who lives in an orphanage, wants a home for Christmas more than anything else.  Ivy makes a wish.   Holly is a doll left all alone in a toyshop window on Christmas Eve.  More than anything, she wants a child's hands to bring her to life and play with her.  Holly makes a wish.  A childless couple have a beautiful Christmas tree and holiday feast, but long for a child to share it with also make a wish.  This is a touching tale about the miracles that can sometimes happen around Christmas time. 

Grumpy Badger's Christmas by Pal Bright--  The 'animal' version of the Christmas Carol:  Grumpy Badger is trying to hibernate this winter but keeps getting woken up by the other animals preparations for Christmas.  This book led to lots of great discussions on hibernation and what various animals will do to cope with the cold and short days of winter. 

The Light of Christmas by Richard Paul Evans--This touching story teaches us that it isn't what you have to give that counts.  It is how you give of yourself that counts.

The Christmas Candle by Jacob Collins--This modern day fable is a story of how a Christmas Candle teaches a man the values of charity and goodwill.  Beautifully illustrated!

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston --  OK...I have to admit that after reading this aloud to my children, I was tearing up.  But in a good way if that makes sense!  This is SUCH a good book.   It is a very sentimental

My Treasure of Christmas Stories, illustrated by Caroline Pedler-  This anthology contains such classics as:
The story of the first Christmas (retold from Luke 2:1-20),
A Christmas Carol (retold from the story by Charles Dickens)
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
The Nutcracker (retold from a story by E.T.A. Hoffman)
The Twelve Days of Christmas
The Little Fir-Tree (retold from a story by Hans Christian Anderson)
The Snow Queen (retold from a story by Hans Christian Anderson)
I usually don't like stories that are re-told.  However, I find this edition to be very nice.  All of the stories are told in verse which the children loved.  I also find that the versions of these stories still remain very true to the original tales and provide very young children a good introduction to these classics.  If you can't find this particular anthology...OR if you have older children with longer attention spans, I highly recommend that you check them out.  They are great classics for Christmas time.

Well Everyone...that is what is in my Christmas Book Basket this year.  Have fun enjoying these books and others.   Remember that you still can get free shipping on many of these items and before Christmas evestill receive them by Christmas Eve. 


Sylvia said...

Nice to see you blogging again! Like you, books are a huge part of our family. You have many of our favorites listed! We also love Mousekin's Christmas Eve by Edna Miller, The Christmas Donkey by Gillian McClure, The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado, The Lengend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg, Angela and the baby Jesus by Frank McCourt (Children's edition), and Winter's Gift by Jane Donovan (probably a top favorite). Each year we also love to read When Washington crossed the Delaware by Lynne Cheney and The Very First Christmas by Paul Maier. Both may be a little long for your kiddos this year but bet they would love them next year! Our Christmas book collection is growing and growing every year- there are so many great ones! But like you we have our favorites that the kids look forward to e very year!

Chareen said...

Love this list. I have been looking for some new books to add to our list. I love books with beautiful pictures and I see some here I am keen to try.
So good to see you back.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of reading The Polar Express! If someone would return it to the library...maybe we could :P

In all seriousness, I'll have to check out some of these books!

Mrs. Darling said...

Our favorite present is If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

What a great list. I hope that you will share it with my WMCIR linky here - The story of Holly and Ivy sounds terrific!


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