Christmas is an exciting time for many children but can be a stressful time for parents. Consider giving Christmas books as gifts, which can be read aloud as preparation for Christmas or as a tool for helping an impatient child wait for an anticipated holiday moment, such as a special show or opening gifts. Available books come in a wide variety of themes, including retelling the Christ story and stories about the holiday season.
The Reason for the Season
"The Christmas Story" by Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin, is a beautiful way to introduce children to the story of Jesus being born in Bethlehem. Watson's retelling uses formal language, so parents may need to paraphrase or be ready to explain some of the terms. "The Christmas Story" by Pamela Dalton also tells the traditional story, illustrated with traditional Pennsylvania-Dutch scissor-cut pictures. "The Christmas Story: Is It True?" by Jeanie Blanton-Trimble examines the Biblical sources, revealing that there was not one, but two miraculous births that long-ago year.
A Season of Giving
"The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving" by Dandi Daley Mackall is an ideal book for a child who is starting to ask questions about Santa Claus. Caldecott winner "Baboushka and the Three Kings" by Ruth Robbins tells a fable about the original three Christmas gift givers. "A Little Spider" by Sigmund Brouwer tells the story of a very special gift that saves the Christ child and his family from Herod's soldiers.
Fun Christmas Classics
"Frosty the Snowman" by Annie North Bedford was originally published by Little Golden Books in 1950. LGB has republished it with a new cover in 1992 and in 2001. The book is a longer telling of the classic song. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is another Little Golden Book publication based on a popular song, with an original publication date of 1958 with several subsequent reprints. "A Visit from St. Nicholas," by Clement C. Moore, was originally published in 1823, and has also enjoyed many retellings.
Modern Christmas Publications
"Too Many Tamales" by Gary Soto tells the story of a batch of Christmas tamales, a diamond ring and one young girl's mistake. This heart-warming story is filled with the joy of family gatherings. "The Snowman" by Raymond Briggs, is a wordless story that reflects a child's joy in building with the first white flakes of the season. Children who love big words and sparkles will adore "Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas" by Jane O'Conner. As usual, Nancy has big plans, but they may not turn out just the way she expects.
- The Christmas Story,; Jane Watson
- The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving; Dandi Daley Mackall
- Frosty the Snowman; Annie North Bedford
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; Little Golden Books
- The Night Before Christmas; Clement C. Moore
- The Snowman; Raymond Briggs
- Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas; Jane O'Conner
- The Christmas Story; Pamela Dalton
- The Christmas Story: Is It True?; Jeanie Blanton-Trimble
- Baboushka and the Three Kings; Ruth Robbins
- A Little Spider; Sigmund Brouwer
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images