Christmas Books

Is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas on your bookshelf too? If not, this list can remind you of all your favorite classic Christmas stories and introduce you to some new reads, too. You will find suggestions for children of all ages and interests. Which one will become part of your family’s holiday traditions?

The Night Before Christmas Clement C. Moore

The quintessential Christmas poem is combined with beautiful, classic illustrations in this best-selling book. Children have been reading this holiday story since 1823 and this version truly brings it to life! It’s a classic that’s appropriate for kids of all ages.

Baby’s Christmas Esther Wilkin

This Little Golden Book from 1959 is a delight for little ones. It features rhyming text that calls out all the gifts one young boy receives from Santa. Toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy following the illustrations and turning the pages to see what comes next.

The Polar Express Chris Van Allsburg

One Christmas Eve, a young boy hops on a magical train heading to the North Pole. Other children are aboard the train, too, and all are wondering if Santa really exists. The joy and adventure of this book make it a Christmas favorite for many families. It was awarded a Caldecott Medal in 1986. Use the book to share the magic of Christmas with elementary-aged children, even those who may have already stopped believing.

The Christmas Promise Alison Mitchell

This Bible-based retelling of the Christmas story focuses on God’s promise to send a Savior-King to his people. It features cartoon-like illustrations and simple text that young ones can easily understand.

The Shortest Day Susan Cooper

Explore the meaning and traditions behind the winter solstice with this book. The text was originally written as a poem for a theatrical production. In this book, it’s paired with muted illustrations that emphasize the contrast between the light and the dark. There’s a hopeful feeling to the book, even though we’re heading into the darkest nights. Children will enjoy learning about the unique folklore and traditions surrounding the solstice.

I Got the Christmas Spirit Connie Schofield-Morrison

Every page of this book is full of the Christmas spirit! The story follows a little girl who goes exploring on a wintry day during the Christmas season. She finds joy in singing Christmas carols, putting money in the red kettle, eating sweet treats, and most of all, in her holiday wish of peace for all. The rich oil-painted illustrations fit perfectly with the upbeat text. This one is a great choice for preschoolers and early elementary children.

Little Blue Truck’s Christmas Alice Schertle

Beep! Beep! Beep! The Little Blue Truck is here and he’s ready to celebrate! But first, he has a job to do. Follow along as the charming little characters make their deliveries and spread holiday cheer. Sparkling lights on the final page make this board book extra exciting for babies and toddlers.

Stick Man Julia Donaldson

The Stick Man is happy living in the Family Tree until a playful dog takes him on a journey far from home. Several people and animals come along to pick up Stick Man. Finally, he’s reunited with his family just before Christmas. Each of his adventures features bright illustrations and rhythmic text. It’s a humorous read-aloud for children of all ages and a long time favorite in our home!

Merry Christmas: Baby Touch and Feel DK

Get little ones into the holiday spirit with this engaging book. Each page features a colorful illustration and a unique texture for children to feel. There’s a stocking filled with gifts, a decorated sleigh, Santa’s hat, and much more. It’s a great hands-on learning resource for babies and toddlers.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Robert L. May

It’s not Christmas without Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer! Share the classic story with your children this year. They are sure to empathize with Rudolph when he’s teased and celebrate with him when Santa chooses him for a very special job on Christmas Eve. This edition features life-like illustrations of Santa and the reindeer. Snuggle up before bedtime and read this one with children ages 4 and up.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Dr. Suess

It’s the grumpiest, meanest character in all of Who-ville: the Grinch! Read along in Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas tale as the Grinch does his best to ruin Christmas for all of the Whos. Of course, he doesn’t succeed in his plans and, in the end, his heart grows three sizes bigger as he embraces the holiday spirit. This is a classic book that children will pull off the shelf year after year.

Construction Site on Christmas Night Sherri Duskey Rinker

Crane, Bulldozer, Dump Truck, Excavator, and Cement Mixer are all here for this Christmas celebration! The team works together to build their last project of the year—a fire station. They each receive a shiny new gift, too. The book features the rhyming text and illustrations that make the Construction Site series a favorite of so many kids. The element of surprise in this book will especially engage young preschoolers and kindergartners.

The Spider Who Saved Christmas Raymond Arroyo

Read about the legend of Nephila, a heartwarming spider who spun a web to save the Holy Family from King Herod’s soldiers. The strands of her intricate web inspired the tradition of decorating Christmas trees with tinsel. This is a uniquely touching story for the Christmas season, perfect for children 6 to 10 years old.

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree Gloria Houston

This one is a gentle Christmas story centered on the power of family and the true meaning of giving. It is set in the 1920s in the Appalachian Mountains. When her father has gone off to fight in the war, it's up to a little girl and her mother to provide the town’s Christmas tree. Many readers say the motherly devotion depicted in this story makes it a bit of a tear-jerker. Read it with your children and discuss the true holiday spirit in this book.

The Reindeer Wish Lori Evert

Follow the story of a little girl, her wish, and a baby reindeer. This year, Anja is wishing for a puppy for Christmas and as she waits, she finds a baby reindeer. The reindeer ultimately ends up flying for Santa, but will Anja get her wish after all? This book features snowy photographs from the Nordic region. It’s a magical read-aloud for preschool and elementary kids.

Saint Nicholas & the Nine Gold Coins Jim Forest

How closely does Santa Claus mirror the real Saint Nicholas? Find out in this nonfiction book. The true Saint Nicholas was known for secretly giving several of his own gold coins to his neighbor so he could afford his daughter’s dowries. This book also includes a few other stories of how Saint Nicholas protected and provided for children. Richly detailed illustrations give children something new to see every time they open the book. Upper elementary children could read this one on their own, but it’s an interesting book to read together with younger kids, too.

The Nightmare before Christmas Tim Burton

Jack Skellington is sick of the scariness in Halloweenland and wants to bring something more joyful to his town. So, he kidnaps Santa and takes his place. But things do not go as planned! This book is slightly different from the movie by the same name, but the spirit of joy and Christmas is the same. The artwork will resonate with all Tim Burton fans, too. Elementary-aged children are sure to enjoy this quirky story.

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