The Best Children’s Christmas Books

This is a repost of my favorite Christmas books.  Every year they grow stronger, because children love them.  These are the books children and adults want to read over and over again.  That’s why they’re the best.  Please, go to the library and get some of these books and read them aloud to your children.  You will be hooked, too.

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 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!

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, by Robert Barry is a delightfully predictable tale of a tree that is too tall.  Each time the top is snipped off, it goes to someone else who has the same problem, and so on.  The mouse gets the very last tree top.  The story is done in rhyme, always a delight to the ears of children.

Morris’s Disappearing Bag, by Rosemary Wells is the story of Morris, the youngest in the family, who is too little to play with his sibling’s gifts.  He discovers one last present under the tree, a disappearing bag.  I wonder if J.K. Rowling read this book- perhaps it was the inspiration to create Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak.

Carl’s Christmas, by Alexandra Day is one of the Carl book series.  It is beautifully done with full color illustrations.  Of course Carl is a dog who is often left to look after the baby.  That beginning alone is a story grabber.  Best of all, it is a wordless book, leaving much to speculate and talk about.

Santa Bruce, by Ryan T. Higgins is the newest book on this list.  Bruce is a grumpy old bear, and is again the victim of mistaken identity.  He is not the real Santa, yet all the animals are convinced that he is.  The book is absolutely hilarious.

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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69 Responses to The Best Children’s Christmas Books

  1. Darlene says:

    A perfect collection of Christmas books. Perfect for the whole family, even the dog. Thanks!

  2. srbottch says:

    Wonderful list, Jennie. Thank you. I forwarded your post to my son & DIL in VA. for their 3 yr old twins.

  3. srbottch says:

    Thanks, Jennie. I commented on your post. Here’re our twin grandchildren, 3 years old.



  4. GP Cox says:

    Children’s Christ,as stories are the best!!! Magical.

  5. quiall says:

    Quite a few of those books I do not know! Hmmmm . . .

  6. beth says:

    Wonderful choices

  7. beetleypete says:

    I bought ‘On Christmas Eve’, based on your recommendation. This will be the first year our grandson gets to read it. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  8. Dan Antion says:

    This is a wonderful list, Jennie. And you’re right, every adult should read them.

  9. Opher says:

    Cheers Jennie – I’ve enjoyed reading some of these to the kids!! Brilliant!

  10. What a wonderful list, Jennie! I completely agree about adults reading these. They help you to remember Christmas from your childhood, and the kindness that exists in the world. Merry Christmas, Jennie, to you and your family!

  11. Beautiful stories! The Captain and I enjoyed listening to you read the Grinch. Loved it.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Love the list, but I must of course add “The Night Before Christmas.” I use the copy from the 1930’s that belonged to my aunt.

  13. Excellent selection, Jennie.

  14. magarisa says:

    Thanks for the recommendations, Jennie!

  15. I love this list! You have great taste 🙂 I particularly loved Morris’ Disappearing Bag as a child and have enjoyed sharing it with my nephews and nieces in past years. Such a fun, mischievous sort of story!

  16. Fantastic selections, Jennie. Reading aloud to and with children is among the best gifts we can give them. Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas! ❤ xo

  17. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, thank you for a wonderful selection!

    • Jennie says:

      You’re welcome, Charles. On a side note, I hope you read these books at the library. They’re far more than books for children. I could go on… ! I know you understand.

  18. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is a wonderful selection of Christmas books for children from the extraordinary teacher, Jennie!

  19. petespringerauthor says:

    Good picks, Jennie. There’s only a couple I haven’t read.

  20. Thanks so much, Jennie. I saved this list. One day I’ll go back and look for all your favorite children’s books.

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks so much, Marlene. You will have a field day at the library with these lists in hand. Next list will be my favorite bear books. 🙂 Merry Christmas! 🎄

  21. This was such a delight for me Jennie as many of these books were new to me.. The Grinch and the Snowman you mentioned by author being the only ones familiar! believe it or not.
    Have a wonderful end of term with your students dear Jennie and enjoy a most Magical Christmas with your own family..
    Sending love and Best wishes my friend ❤

  22. Doris says:

    I love Carl’s Christmas. It’s a wonderful book!
    I’m glad it is included in the selections.

  23. Thank you for a very great collection, Jennie! Very appreciated. Michael

  24. Oh, I want them all! (And you’re right about skipping the movie version of “The Grinch.”)

  25. abbiosbiston says:

    We have Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs and my son loves it all year round. This year I managed to find him a book about the town we live in on Christmas Eve that we’ll be reading on the 24th. Definitely going to look into the others.

    • Jennie says:

      Raymond Briggs books are excellent! I’m so glad your son loves them, even year round. Wonderful that you found a book about your home town. Happy reading! And, thank you.

  26. All lovely books, Jennie. Thanks for sharing your favourites.

  27. t_r_a_v_e_l_l_e_r says:

    You have an amazing blog❤❤….hoping you check out my blog!

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