Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, neither, or both, there’s no better gift for kids than the gift of reading. If you don’t need a fourth copy of the Velveteen Rabbit to make you cry on your toddler’s footy pajamas, try one of these awesomely cool holiday books which get my whole-hearted thumbs up. – Delilah
1. A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas by Philip Yates
your family is as wacky as mine, you want more YARR than the calm and
old-fashioned versions of the classic holiday poem can provide. This
book’s got laughs, clever rhymes, and adorable illustrations for a
rollicking and piratical good time.
2. Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh
modishly cool illustrations by J. Otto Seibold have become a TV
special, CD, and Valentine’s book, but this is the story that started
them all. Follow a spunky dog all the way to the North Pole, where she
3. Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney
like a preschooler on my list, Llama Llama doesn’t want to wait for the
holidays. Luckily, his mama is there with hugs, kisses, and fun rhymes.
I’m a big fan of llamas, and I love the expressive paintings.
4. Yes, Virginia: There Is a Santa Claus by Chris Plehal
little girl wrote a letter in 1897 asking if Santa Claus really
existed. The answer, beginning with, “Yes, Virginia,” has become part of
holiday lore and popular culture. Find out why as you enjoy hip,
Etsy-type artwork that brings the past to life.
5. Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah by Tilda Balsey
you want to get through to little boys, try this comic-book style,
action-packed retelling of Hanukkah. Probably best for ages 4-8.
6. My Two Holidays: A Hanukkah and Christmas Story by Danielle Novack
story of a boy with a Christian father and Jewish mother is a nice
choice for interfaith families. Written by a child psychologist, it has
received great reviews.
7. Silent Night by Julie Groom, illustrated by Tim Warnes
mother bear and her cub explore the natural beauty of the winter world
through lush illustrations and verse. This one got a starred review from
Kirkus, but the paintings are what sold me.
8. The Night Before Christmas by Peter, Paul, and Mary
classic poem by Clement C. Moore gets colorful new illustrations by
renowned painter Eric Puybaret, plus a 3-track CD with narration and
musical performances. The gorgeous illustration on the cover includes spiffy top hats and bowlers on the
reindeer, which makes me ridiculously happy.
9. It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon
ones struggle to be good at Christmas. Compared to David’s shenanigans,
your kids will feel like angels. David is truly naughty, and this book
can give your kids new ideas for troublemaking. I guess it depends
whether your family considers writing your name in the snow with pee to
be vulgar, or a great show of literacy and creativity.
10. Richard Scarry’s Best Christmas Book Ever! by Richard Scarry
Scarry is at it again, bringing stories, songs, and games to yet
another generation of kids with his well-loved characters and bright,
cheerful illustrations. The guy’s sold over 200 million books, so he’s
definitely onto something special.
11. I Spy a Christmas Tree by Jean Marzollo
like cold hot dogs, the I Spy books don’t do much for me, but my kids
go crazy for them. Little ones will enjoy hunting through sparkling
holiday photos in relative quiet. Right?
12. Duck & Goose, It’s Time for Christmas by Tad Hills
a fan of Duck & Goose, thanks to the bright and simple paintings by
author/illustrator Tad Hills. This one has their usual playful
bickering, not to mention glitter on the cover of a highly chewable
board book. Time to introduce my baby to some family favorites!
All these holiday books for kids are available from our affiliate, Amazon.
We’d love to hear your favorite books, too!