What the Kids are Reading: Christmas and Advent Books

Christmas and Advent Books CollageI’m working on building up our collection of Christmas and Advent books – I’d love to get to a point where I could wrap them for the kids to enjoy one “new” on each day of Advent. We’re not quite there, but I was so late at even pulling them out of storage (thanks to house guests through the first part of the month) that it didn’t really matter. I do have additional books to work into the rotation once my children get somewhat older too, but by the time they’re ready for those I’m sure they’ll be done with some of the board books. Or I’ll be done with reading them. :)

And, I’d love to know what book you consider to be must-reads for the season – let me know what we’re missing!

What we’re reading this year:

Board Books:

Christmastime Is HereChristmastime Is Here (Little people books) by Ellen Weiss by Ellen Weiss
One I’d like to retire because of the Santa emphasis (we don’t do Santa in our family), but they like lifting the flaps so much I haven’t done so yet.

Baby’s First NativityBaby's First Nativity (The First Bible Collection) by Muff Singer, illustrated by Peter Stevenson by Muff Singer, illustrated by Peter Stevenson
Will probably be retired at some point once my baby is older, but it’s fine for now.

The Little Drummer BoyThe Little Drummer Boy illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
I’d also like to retire this one from the rotation once I get additional books. It’s not my favorite, although I do really like the illustrations.

BobBob by Sandra Boynton by Sandra Boynton
Totally silly, but in a way that makes us all laugh. While I wouldn’t want all of our books to be like this, I don’t mind a few completely secular ones.

Who is Coming to Our House?Who is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate, illustrated by Ashley Wolff by Joseph Slate & illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Still another one that I don’t see lasting that many more years, but it’s cute for now. Some of the rhymes are clunkier than I’d like which is why it’s not one of my favorites.

Tell Me the Christmas StoryTell Me the Christmas Story by Joni Walker by Joni Walker
I think it’s cute, but the kids do not find it that interesting.

Jesus, Me, and My Christmas TreeJesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry, A Star for JesusA Star for Jesus by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry and J Is for Jesus: The Sweetest Story Ever ToldJ Is for Jesus: The Sweetest Story Ever Told by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry by Crystal Bowman, illustrated by Claudine Gévry
I like her books and their focus on Christ, and the kids like them too. A few of her rhymes are more forced than I’d prefer, but not so much that I look forward to retiring the books.

My Nativity Jigsaw BookMy Nativity Jigsaw Book by Christina Goodings, illustrated by Rebecca Elliott by Christina Goodings, illustrated by Rebecca Elliott
Awesome book for puzzle fans, but not always the easiest one when you have more than one puzzle fan, if you get what I’m saying. Also, the puzzle pieces can be hard to put together, and yet hard to keep together at the same time, so the idea works better than the execution at times. It’s still a huge hit this year. My biggest complaint is that the wise men are shown arriving to see Jesus while he’s still in the manger. That’s so common, but it annoys me.

The Night Before ChristmasThe Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by  Christian Birmingham by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham
Our other Santa book, but this is such a classic story I don’t mind it as much.

Picture Books

The Christmas StoryThe Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin by Jane Werner Watson, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
Eloise Wilkin illustrations remind me of my own childhood, so even though I never had this book while growing up, the book still makes me somewhat nostalgic thanks to her familiar artwork.

Christmas in the BarnChristmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Diane Goode by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Diane Goode
Sweet illustrations.

Christmas in the Big WoodsChristmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Renee Graef by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Renee Graef
Hopefully whetting my children’s appetites for the full Little House series. :)

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian StoryThe Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Barbara Cooney by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Barbara Cooney
So far this one doesn’t do much for my kids, but maybe they’ll appreciate it more next year.

The NativityThe Nativity illustrated by Julie Vivas illustrated by Julie Vivas
Love the text – excerpts from the King James Version, but I’m not crazy about the illustrations, specifically how she depicts the angels.

Chapter Books (that we’re reading):

The Jesse TreeThe Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by Bee Willey
We’re not actually doing a Jesse Tree this year, but I think we’ll try it next year. I think this book will work well as a part of it if we decide to attempt it.

Chapter Books (waiting to be introduced):

The Best Christmas Pageant EverThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson by Barbara Robinson
I debated reading it to my children this year, but decided that they were more likely to get inspired by the bad example set by the Herdmans, rather than catch the bigger picture message conveyed by the story.

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for AdventJotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide, Bartholomew’s Passage: A Family Story for AdventBartholomew's Passage: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide, and Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for AdventTabitha's Travels: A Family Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide by Arnold Ytreeide
Had read some good reviews on these, and found a great deal on them, so figured they were worth a shot.

A Christmas Carol A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens by Charles Dickens
This is probably the one that’ll be waiting the longest to get into our reading routine.

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Comments

  1. The Night Before Christmas is a classic tale. I read it every year on Christmas Eve to whoever is at my house that year. :)

    • I’m going to try and read it this Christmas Eve. Don’t know if my kids will listen to it yet, or if I’ll end up putting it aside to try again next year. :) I love that you read it to whoever is at your house!

      • I can’t always get back home to my Mom for Christmas, so wherever I am, I read the Night Before Christmas and anyone else that I am celebrating with. Last year, I read it to my husband and our cat. Lunabelle wasn’t too impressed. ;)

        I can’t remember not reading this poem or someone in my family reading it. The copy I have has lots of pictures in it, so I am sure that is what kept my brother and me interested in the story when we were little. :)

  2. Awesome list! I actually like Who is Coming to Our House?, but maybe it’s just the novelty of hearing a 3 yr old say “eider”! I would like to weed out some of the Santa books at our house too, but I’m losing that battle, it seems. We got A Charlie Brown Xmas book (one of those $5 Kohls books) that is nearly word for word from the TV special, so that’s got a good message.

    • That would be fun – my kids have never repeated that word when I’ve read it. They generally don’t even look at the pictures for that book – for whatever reason it does not interest them.

      And you reminded me that I wanted to see when the Charlie Brown special was airing this year, to record it for the kids, so I looked it up and discovered it aired last week. Rats. :( Really wish I’d remembered that earlier.

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