My Favorite Christmas Books

I want to share with you my favorite Christmas books.  I love books, and I love reading to children.  After a gazillion years, these are the ‘tried and true’, stories that children love. Me, too!

Grab tissues, laughter, and wonder, and some history.  Some books you will recognize. Others might seem new, but they’re not— they’re just better.

The first time I read The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg was was in 1985, when the book was published.  I was at a huge family Christmas gathering.  Someone put the book in my hand and asked me to read it to the crowd.  This was a new book for me, and as I read the words I was on that train ride.  The ending was hard to read aloud with my heart in my throat.  The movie is good, but the book is superior.

On Christmas Eve, by Peter Collington is a captivating wordless book, in the style of The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.  It is based in England, with fairies and Santa Claus traditions.  It is fascinating to follow the fairies helping Santa!

If I had to pick only one out of the pile of books, it would be Apple Tree Christmas, by Trinka Hakes Noble.  The story takes place in New Hampshire in the 1800’s.  A blizzard, a farm, a tree, and a child who loves to draw.  It is thrilling from beginning to end… grab the tissues, it’s a true story.

My almost number one book is The Year of the Perfect Christmas Treeby Gloria Houston.  The story takes place in rural Appalachia, close to my roots.  It is a story of rural traditions, WWI, a train, and what a mother does on Christmas Eve.  And, it’s a true story. Recommended for kindergarten and above.

Merry Christmas, Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola is a favorite. Everyone loves Strega Nona and Big Anthony.  This book incorporates the culture of Italy and Christmas, and the lessons of life.

Night Treeby Eve Bunting is a modern tale that tells the story of a family and their tree in the woods.  Every Christmas Eve the family bundles up and heads from their house to the woods.  They find “their tree”, the one they have decorated every year for the animals.  It is a well written story, weaving adventure and giving, and family being together.

Dr. Seuss has always been one of the best.  He outdid himself with How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  The message of the true meaning of Christmas shines through in this book.  Please skip the movie, it doesn’t hold a candle to the book.

Every adult should read these books.  Period.  They are that good.  Then, spread the joy and learning by reading aloud these books to children, young and old.  They will love the stories.  You will, too.

Merry Christmas!


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
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51 Responses to My Favorite Christmas Books

  1. srbottch says:

    Excellent choices, Jennie. The Grinch, of course, is classic. Merry Christmas, Jennie.



  2. Some news books to me here, Jennie. I love these posts, it is like finding new treasure to find new books.

  3. beetleypete says:

    I don’t know these, Jennie. I didn’t have Christmas books as such when I was young.
    I will bookmark the post, and explore some of the titles with our grandson when he is older.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  4. Dan Antion says:

    These are excellent recommendations, Jennie.

  5. I must confess to not having read ANY of these – but they all sound wonderful! Merry Christmas!

  6. Thank you for your lovely post, Jennie. It was a perfect way to begin my day. I’m going to be curling up with these great titles later this week. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  7. Excellent choices. Merry Christmas.

  8. AL says:

    Merry Christmas 🙂

  9. Tina Frisco says:

    This brings back so many lovely memories, Jennie💕

  10. Looks like I have a few more to look for and read. I missed so many in my growing up and even my children’s. That’s what you get with all the moving around and no roots or access to good books. I’ll probably spend lifetimes trying to read them all. Thank you for sharing these and no movie will ever compare with the original book. Merry Christmas, Jennie and Happy New Year.

  11. Love this post, Jennie! Wonderful choices and now I’ll have to find copies of the three I don’t recognize: Apple Tree Christmas, The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, and On Christmas Eve–they all sound like beautiful books. Thanks so much and Merry Christmas!

  12. John Kraft says:

    I read very few childrens books as a kid. I had my own library card when I was 6 and had free rein of the stacks. I’m sure that I missed some excellent things.

    • Jennie says:

      Like you, I read very few books as a child. I went to the library one time with my grandmother, and that was a treat. I think I am living proof that it’s never too late. Treat yourself to reading “The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree.” It will make your holiday. Promise. Best to you, John.

  13. What a great list. I loved (loved) Polar Express. I’ll try the others!

  14. Tammy Hutchinson says:

    Wonderful picks Jennie-I love them all. Also check out another of my favorites – The Mole Family Christmas by Russell Hoban.

  15. ren says:

    Great and wonderful stories you share. You may appreciate “The Christmas Cookie Club” a novel by Ann Pearlman. Not actually a child’s book though….

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