Christmas books for kids
Last time I did Christmas books for babies, and decided to milk the topic into two posts: Christmas books for babies and for kids. Here are the kids’ books:
This is a Golden Book classic; I read this when I was a kid, and now I have it for my baby. This is the nativity story, nearly straight out of the Bible. Phrases have been adjusted for clarity, but sometimes it feels like you’re reading the King James Version. The pictures are beautiful: detailed, richly colored, almost Renaissance-style art. This one will be read again and again. My only complaint with this version is that they changed the font slightly; there used to be illumination-style letters at the beginnings of the pages, and they have gotten rid of most of those. If you can, try to find an older edition at a used-bookstore or online.
This is another Golden Book classic. It has the complete text of Clement C. Moore’s poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’ and the illustrations are from 1949, so they are pretty traditional. Warning: if you are like the Amazon reviewer who had an heart attack over this edition, be aware that on the page with the line ‘The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth / And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath’ THERE IS IN FACT A PICTURE OF SANTA WITH A PIPE AND SMOKE AROUND HIM. Just like it says in the poem. Yes. If you prefer sanitized illustrations that don’t match the words, get another edition. Ignoring history only leads to disaster. I’m just saying.
I had not seen this book before, and was very pleasantly surprised at how good it is. This one has modern, but very nice illustrations, and good rhyme about the animals at the first Christmas, counting up from one to twelve.
This is a Santa-style Christmas story. A little elf works in Santa’s workshop, and learns a story about perseverance and hard work. It’s pretty cute; there are many mediocre children’s books out there, and this one is actually decent.
I remember when The Poky Little Puppy was just a simple little book with a lot of repetition, a very simple plot, and pretty flat characters. Now it’s a whole universe of characters and experiences, and this is one of those iterations. If you love the Poky Little Puppy, you will enjoy hearing about his family, new friends, and first Christmas. Otherwise, take it or leave it.
If you like all five of the above books, you can purchase them from Amazon as a boxed set called Favorite Little Golden Books for Christmas.
This book was a classic from my childhood. It does not have the illustrations like the movie, but is still adorable, and is a great re-telling of the Rudolph story.
This is the classic story of Frosty the Snow Man, based on the song. I love this book because my parents’ record album of the song had illustrations from this edition. It’s such a fun story, and if your baby is too impatient to listen to all the words, like mine is, you can just sing the song to them as they flip the pages. 🙂
If you have children, then you must have the Berenstain Bears books. And if you have those, then you must have The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear. It is in the same style as all their other books: at Christmas time, the Bear family learns a lesson about generosity, not being greedy, and helping others. This book was originally published in 1984, and lacks the overtly religious message that the new books have. I tend to prefer the Berenstain Bears book by the original authors, Stan and Jan Berenstain. After they passed on, their son Mike took over writing and illustrating, and he has taken the books in a specifically Christian direction; they are now published by one of the major Christian publishing houses. I like the original ones because they were not shy about teaching moral lessons, but they did not limit themselves to one segment of the religious population. All parents should feel good about reading the original Berenstain Bears to their kids.
This one isn’t designed for kids necessarily, but is a beautiful Christmas book to have in your house. It has a large selection of classic Christmas stories, poems and carols, with Norman Rockwell paintings and illustrations throughout. It’s not really a picture book, but a great way to introduce your kids to timeless Christmas Stories like Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Little Fir Tree,’ Laura Ingalls Wilder’s ‘Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus,’ and O. Henry’s ‘The Gift of the Magi,’ as well as familiarizing them with Norman Rockwell’s work. As a bonus, eight of the full-page illustrations have removable prints affixed to them, so you can take them out and frame them.
This is the best Christmas book ever. If you do not have this book, buy it right now, then read it, then read it to your kids, then read it again. When I was growing up, my mom read this to us every year at Christmas time, and now I’m reading it to my daughter. It’s only seven chapters total, so I’m going through and making smaller divisions so that we can read a little bit every day and make it last longer.
That turned out longer than I thought it would, but it’s worth it to get the word out about great books!