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My Favorite Holiday Books

December 15, 2009

Happy Hanukkah!  And…  Merry Christmas!  I know I am leaving out a whole lot of other celebrations, but I only have favorite books from these two categories.  The lovely and talented Bethany requested that I do a post on my favorite Christmas books, and I am happy to oblige.  However, as I have been working on this (when I should be doing *other* things) for four days now, I am having a bit of trouble narrowing down the list.  I have A LOT of favorites.  And, I have whittled away some!  (I am still glancing furtively in their direction…NO, NO MORE!)  Let me apologize if this puts you on overload.  I just can’t help it.  I have a sickness when it comes to children’s books.


Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel (ISBN:  0-8234-0769-1) tells the tale of Hershel who is going into town to celebrate Hanukkah, only the townspeople are prevented from celebrating Hanukkah by some goblins.  Hershel goes into the old synagogue to spend the eight nights of Hanukkah defeating the goblins, and breaking their power so the towns people can celebrate Hanukkah once more.

The Tie Man’s Miracle by Steven Schnur (ISBN:  0-688-13463-7) is a book about a poor family-less door-t0-door tie salesman who visits Seth’s family on the last night of Hanukkah, right before they are to light the candles for their big celebration.  He is invited in to celebrate with them.  I can not read this book without crying my eyes out.


Books with a religious emphasis:

Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo (ISBN:978-0-7636-2929-5) is a story about a little girl named Frances who notices a monkey and an organ grinder who show up on the corner of her street right before Christmas.  She worries about them, and invites them to her Christmas Pageant.  This one is a tear-jerker as well.

God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren (ISBN:  1-4000-7175-5) is a great book to help kids understand the true meaning of Christmas and where Santa fits into that picture.

Who is Coming To Our House? by Joseph Slate (ISBN:  0-399-23410-1) is a simple book from the animals perspective while they get the barn ready for Mary and Joseph, and Jesus too.

The Spirit of Christmas:

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (ISBN:  0-394-80079-6) Yes.  It is one of my favorites.  Most possibly because I am married to the original Grinch.  His heart grows three sizes every year too.  My favorite line:  “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.  Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

You Are My Miracle by Maryann Cusimano Love and Satomi Ichikawa (ISBN:  0-399-24037-3) is a loving book about a mother and child relationship.   I don’t cry anymore, but when I had babies…whew.

Merry Christmas Strega Nona by Tomie DePoala (ISBN:0-15-253183-1) is a story set in Italy about Strega Nona and Big Anthony, who always forgets things, and generally messes things up.  This time he messed up the Christmas Feast, or did he….

Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett (ISBN:0=399-22507-2) tells the tale of how Treva teaches the trolls how to have Christmas.  Wonderful illustrations tell a story too!

Santa Stories:

What Santa Can’t Do by Douglas Wood (ISBN:0-689-87352-2) tells exactly what the title says it will.  And it is all true.

Dream Snow by Eric Carle (ISBN:  0-399-23579-5) is a story about an old farmer and his animals.  And snow.  It is written for pre-school aged kids, but my kids still love it, and so do I.

Santa Claus The World’s Number One Toy Expert by Marla Frazee (ISBN:  0-15-204970-3) explains how hard Santa works all year round to get to know every kid and every toy so he can match the perfect toy to each kid.

Dear Santa:  The Letters of James B. Dobbins by Bill Harley (ISBN:0-06-623778-5) is my *favorite* Santa book.  It is written in letter form (the whole book!).  All of the letters are to Santa, and all of the letters are from James B. Dobbins.  It is so, so good!  I snicker just thinking about it!

Just For Fun

Sing Noel by Jane Yolen (ISBN:  1-56397-420-7) is a song book with piano music and guitar chords and LYRICS to well known hymns and other Christmas songs.

The 12 Bugs of Christmas by David A. Carter (ISBN:  0-689-83104-8) is an elaborate  pop-up book.  It is silly and fun.  A favorite around here.

Ho!  Ho!  Ho! by Lark Carrier (ISBN: 0-439-38224-6) is a lift the flap book about a dog named Leroy who gets into a lot of trouble right before Santa comes.  My kids LOVE this book…so….much.

Christmas Has Merry by Harriet Ziefert (ISBN:  1-929766-66-1) is one of my very favorites.  It is a simple board book, but there is just something about it that makes me smile every time.  Maybe it is because the mother takes a nap, who knows?  It is written in short rhyming phrases. Love!

Snowmen At Christmas by Caralyn Buehner (ISBN:  0-8037-2995-2) is such a cool book.  It’s illustrations are wonderful and there are hidden pictures in every painting.  The story tells about how snowpeople celebrate Christmas, once all of the real people go to sleep at night.  It is a beautiful book.

If You Take A Mouse To The Movies by Laura Numeroff (ISBN: 0-06-027868-4 ) is in the same series of books with If you give a mouse a cookie.  I love the whole series, and this is the Christmas one.  I love the illustrations they are so whimsical, and I love how the story circles back and you end right where you started.  This is also one the kids pick up over and over.

My VERY Favorites

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (ISBN:  0-395-38949-6) is pure magic.  Chris Van Allsburg is one of my very favorite authors, and his artwork is fantastic.  This story takes a boy on a train ride to the North Pole where Santa presents him with the first gift of Christmas.  I get goose bumps when I read this book.  I love, love, love it!

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore:  (Any illustrator is fine but mine has the ISBN:  1-55858-466-8).   It would not be Christmas without this story.  It is the epitome of Christmas.  It is perfect.

So, there you have it.  My favorite books for the month of December.  This is the SHORT LIST people.  Do you have any favorites that you would like to add? I would love to hear about them!

PS  Bethany~ I hope this is what you were looking for :)

  1. December 16, 2009 10:27 am

    O! O! O! What a great post! And I don’t have time to respond properly until this weekend. Don’t let me forget!!

  2. December 16, 2009 6:25 pm

    Oh, Meg! This is just THE BEST post. I love Christmas books so much. I had a whole stack as a kid and I just loved to sit with them (most of them I read to myself). I have stolen my favorites from the stash and I am greatly anticipating building up our family collection. We have “Who is Coming to Our House” and I just love the pictures. (Also, a peacock? Okay!) I didn’t know about that Eric Carle book…I’m really starting to think that I need to officially start collecting Eric Carle books. I enjoy them just as much as any children will, really. Seriously, knowing that *you* recommend a book makes all the difference. Love the Hanukkah books, too. Such a good way to teach our kiddos about other traditions.

    Now I want to see the REST of the books! :)

  3. December 18, 2009 11:04 am

    Lovely list! I am a little embarrassed to say that I have only read… uh, one of them. ONE. (The Grinch, of course. I’ve seen the Polar Express movie, though; does that count?) But I will keep my eyes open for any of these that have made it to the Italian market. Thanks for posting this! Oh, and I agree with Sam — I want to hear the rest of them now. :)


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