Christmas time is family time. Everyone looks for a quiet moment too. Every year I have my favorites and for 2021 I have picked six that bring out the spirit and joy of Christmas in many ways that are good for read-alouds, or reading by yourself.
Babushka: A Christmas Tale is a beautiful retelling of a Russian Folktale. On the eve of the very first Christmas, an old grandmother is busy tidying her home when a bright star illuminates the sky. Soon three wise men arrive and invite Babushka to join them in their travels–following the star in search of a newborn babe, the Prince of Peace. But Babushka is too absorbed in her work to leave her home with presents for the baby Jesus.
The next day Babushka tries to follow the men, but she cannot find their tracks. Instead, she finds a little girl shivering in the cold, and a little boy, his tummy rumbling with hunger. Babushka walks and walks, and everywhere she goes she finds children in need of toys to play with or a shawl to keep them warm. And to each one, she offers a gift from her basket and a smile of light and love.
A beautifully illustrated retelling of the Babushka story, by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Amanda Hall. Published in 2015, ISBN13: 9780745965222
Construction Site on Christmas Night by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by AG Ford is a Christmas classic from the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Mighty, Mighty, Construction Site!
Christmas has arrived at the construction site, and the trucks are gearing up for Christmas by working on building a special house. As night comes and snow falls, each truck receives a special gift. Presents await for Excavator, Bulldozer, Crane, Dump Truck, and Cement Mixer as each finishes their part of this big, important job and rolls off to a sweet and sleepy goodnight. Of special mention is how the gifts include “Thank you” notes to the trucks for all their hard work. Published in 2018, ISBN13: 9781452139111
This definitely is one of the cutest Christmas children picture books. Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever written and illustrated by Matt Tavares is a beautifully illustrated story of hope, of caring for one’s family, love, and togetherness. It is the story of how Santa got his reindeer. It’s a little long for 5-8-year-olds, the targeted age, but still exciting enough to hold their attention. Dasher, a young doe dreamed of freedom. She dreamed of following the North Star far away from J.P. Finnegan’s Traveling Circus and Menagerie, where she and her reindeer family were kept captive. Late one winter night, when the pen was left open, Dasher seizes her destiny and takes off in pursuit of the life she wants to live, following the star with hope in her heart. Eventually, she meets a kind man in a red suit – a holiday gift-giver whose horse was getting too old and tired. Dasher steps in to help out, setting in motion events that would free her family and lead them to their destiny as Santa’s reindeer…
Published in 2019 ISBN 13: 9781406387704
Written by Ellen Kalish, the woman who helped nurse “Rocky” back to health, this picture book tells the story of the saw-whet owl, found in the Rockefeller Christmas tree in 2020. Little Owl isn’t even a year old when her home — a big, beautiful pine tree — is cut down by people who say it will be the perfect Christmas tree. Holding tight to her branch, Little Owl thinks to herself that this “Christmas” can’t be all that great if it means destroying the only home she’s ever known! But when she’s discovered and sent to a woman named Ellen, whose warm home, decorated for the holiday, is full of birds who need someone to take care of them, Little Owl starts to realize that the holiday’s messages of kindness and giving may be the most important part of Christmas. There has been some criticism of the fact that the owl was found huddled, scared, and alone in it’s cut-down tree the book disregards the moral about the importance of protecting wildlife and their habitats despite human want. To me, this is a sweet story about compassion and giving and if needed the question and solutions of the destruction of habitats may be discussed. Published in 2021, ISBN13: 9780316299121
Jack loves his childhood toy, Dur Pig. DP has always been there for him, through good and bad. Until one Christmas Eve, something terrible happens – DP is lost. But Christmas Eve is a night for miracles and lost causes, a night when all things can come to life… even toys. And Jack’s newest toy – the Christmas Pig (DP’s annoying replacement) – has a daring plan: Together they’ll embark on a magical journey to seek something lost, and to save the best friend Jack has ever known…
A heartwarming, page-turning adventure about one child’s love for his most treasured thing, and how far he will go to find it. Bursting with festive charm and imagination, this magical adventure is written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Field. I recommend it for ages 8 and above. ISBN: 9781444964912
Holly and Elle – living miles apart are looking for the best Christmas ever – will their wish come true? US-based Elle is a social media influencer. But sometimes online attention isn’t all it seems from the outside; with a family constantly on the move, and so-called friends putting pressure on her to increase her following, she decides to swap places with one of her followers for the holidays. Holly lives in a small village in England and LOVES Christmas more than anything else. She will not let anything get in her way to make this year’s Christmas the BEST ever . . . Nothing! But when her mum announces she’s selling their house, and Woody decides they should go on a “break”, her plans for the perfect Christmas start to crumble. Will swapping with Elle be Holly’s perfect opportunity to escape? And far from home, will they both find all they want for Christmas? A heart-warming and humorous story romance story written by beth Garrod, All I want for Christmas is the book to cuddle up with this Christmas for ages 12 and up! Published in 2020, ISBN: 9780702300882