Best Children’s Christmas Books – and a New One

Red and Lulu, by Matt Tavares is the story of two cardinals who live in a mighty evergreen tree.  They love their home, their tree.  Best of all, they love it when winter arrives and Christmas carolers sing close by.  Red leaves to get food, and when he returns, the tree is being cut down and hauled away.  He tells Lulu to stay, and he desperately follows the truck as it drives the tree away – but he can’t fly fast enough.  The tree becomes the tree at Rockefeller Center, and the story behind finding Lulu and what happens is fascinating.  It’s Christmas, nature, love, adventure, and never giving up.

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 if it is open.  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.
This entry was posted in Book Review, books, children's books, Giving thanks, Inspiration, literacy, Nature, picture books, preschool, reading, young children and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Best Children’s Christmas Books – and a New One

  1. beth says:

    i love these, and the tree story reminds me of a few years ago when a tiny owlet was found in the nyc tree. they found it and re-homed it back where it came from.

  2. Ritu says:

    Christmas books are just the best!

  3. A multitude of Christmas riches!

  4. Thank you Jennie a good list.

  5. Your students are the luckiest in the world. I’m hanging on to this list for future gifting reference.

    • Jennie says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you’re hanging on to the list! Today I had my assistant teacher read Apple Tree Christmas. I should have warned her about a tissue alert. I hope one day you can plant yourself in the library and read these books. Really! Thank you so much, Marlene. Are you still in Germany? I have so much catch-up blog reading to do.

  6. Dan Antion says:

    Good advice for the adult, Jennie.

  7. quiall says:

    Good books will last through the generations, as they should.

  8. Jim Borden says:

    what a great collection of Christmas books. thanks for sharing…

  9. Fantastic collection, Jennie. Thanks.

  10. Darlene says:

    All wonderful books for Christmas. My wonderful grade three teacher, Miss Roll, read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens to us and I fell in love with it. It is my all-time favourite Christmas story.

    • Jennie says:

      You know how much I love Miss Roll! I can picture her reading A Christmas Carol to the class. I wonder how many third grade teachers read that wonderful book to their class. No wonder it is your favorite. She is a true gem, Darlene.

      • Darlene says:

        She certainly was. Way ahead of her time. I just recently learned she passed away and felt very sad. I´m so pleased I was able to connect with her after all those years, about 10 years ago. She was so pleased that I had written a book and had it published. She had also been published. It was a wonderful meeting.

      • Jennie says:

        How wonderful that you connected with her after so many years. You truly gave her a gift, Darlene. Yes, it’s sad that she has passed away.

  11. beetleypete says:

    Based on your previous recommendation, I bought a copy of ‘On Christmas Eve’ a while back for our grandson. Now he has a little sister, I am sure the book will come out once again on the 24th.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  12. That’s a wonderful list. I’ll have to check some of these out as I haven’t read them!

  13. Don Ostertag says:

    Gosh they all sound so good, Jennie.

  14. GP says:

    I know the children will love these!
    Plus I’m bringing you the Christmas Penguin Parade!

  15. bosssybabe says:

    Have loved All your recommendations! Thank you for taking the time 🙂

  16. Thank you for sharing this information, Jennie! Christmas books are definitely the best, ever. Let the children get wonderful experiences. xx Michael

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