This story was provided by The Local Moms Network Contributor Rosemary D’Urso, aka LibraryMom.

 December is here and that means it’s time to break out the holiday books! Whether filled with a heartwarming storyline, engaging characters, or gorgeous illustrations, each of the stories below capture the essence of the holiday season, making them worthy of withstanding the test of time. Sit back and enjoy some extra cuddles this month as you settle by the fire with a loved one and read these outstanding seasonal stories!

Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht; illustrated by Jarvis
(Ages 3 and up)
This beautifully illustrated story follows a family as they pick a pine tree from a lot and transform it into a Christmas tree. Bouncy rhymes and dazzling illustrations highlight each step of the process building on children’s excitement for this beloved holiday tradition.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson; illustrated by Jane Chapman
(Ages 3 – 6)
It’s the day before Christmas, and a hibernating bear is woken by his woodland friends to share in the holiday festivities. The playful rhymes are paired with charming illustrations highlighting the sweet friendship among the animals. Each time Bear begins to drift off to sleep, the friends arouse him until it is finally Christmas morning and thoughtful gifts are exchanged. This delightful book is an excellent holiday read aloud and is part of one of our favorite series.

Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne
(Ages 3 and up)
This stunning book pairs the familiar lyrics of Silent Night with striking illustrations that follow the Nativity scene. Whether you sing or read this book, it is a lovely story to share during the holidays. Information on the song’s origin is also included, giving a bit of history to the time-honored carol.

This Is Christmas by Tom Booth
(Ages 3 – 8)
In this tender story, a curious young Chipmunk tours a picturesque forest setting with his mother to gain a better understanding of what it means to celebrate Christmas. While he discovers that decorations, cards, carols, and presents are all part of the holiday, one of the most important aspects of Christmas is enjoying time with friends and family. The eye-catching illustrations paired with a touching secular storyline make this holiday read a standout.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
(Ages 4 and up)
There is a reason this book is considered a classic and has been made into several movies. With Dr. Seuss’ signature illustrations, clever rhymes, and feel-good ending, it is a holiday must-have. The Grinch is that evil villain you love to hate and it is almost impossible not to smile when he finally understands that Christmas is not about possessions, but so much more.

The Broken Ornament by Tony DiTerlizzi
(Ages 4 – 8)
In this enchanting holiday story, Jack vigorously decorates his house in an effort to have the best Christmas ever. When he accidentally breaks one of his mom’s ornaments, however, he fears he may have ruined the holiday. Christmas Eve can be a magical night and when Jack is visited by a fairy named Tinsel, she teaches him the true power of the Christmas spirit. Filled with caroling elves, an army of nutcrackers, a rowdy bunch of snowmen, and a heartwarming storyline, this Christmas book has tons of kid appeal!

Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares
(Ages 4 – 8)
Red and Lulu are two cardinals who have found the perfect home in a large evergreen. Their tree is so beautiful, it is chosen to be the tree displayed in Rockefeller Center. When it is cut down, Lulu becomes stuck in the branches and transported to New York City. Red follows and glimpses several NYC icons during his search for his friend. In a joyous scene they are reunited and make a new home together in Central Park. With its stunning illustrations, dramatic story, and information about Rockefeller Center, this book is perfect for the holidays.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore; illustrated by Charles Santore
(Ages 4 and up)
No holiday list is complete without this timeless poem. The Night Before Christmas has been a holiday tradition for almost two hundred years. There are countless editions of this memorable tale and all of them offer their own charm. I personally love the Charles Santore version because of its elegant illustrations that bring this beloved story to life.

Little Robin’s Christmas by Jan Fearnley
(Ages 3 – 7)
It’s the week before Christmas and Robin is excited to wear his seven new vests each day before the big celebration. During the week, he encounters several shivering animals and shares his warm vests with them. On Christmas Eve, Robin is left standing in the cold himself until Santa presents a little red vest knitted from the thread of Santa’s own red coat. A book that promotes kindness and the spirit of giving can never go out of style.

How Winston Delivered Christmas: A Christmas Story in Twenty-Four-And-A-Half Chapters by Alex T. Smith
(Ages 4 and up)
Children will love counting down to Christmas with this brilliant new advent book that presents a short chapter and activity to be read on each day of December. The story follows a small mouse who finds a lost letter to Santa and embarks upon an epic adventure to the North Pole. The suggested tasks range from creating wrapping paper and gift tags to baking and making other crafts. Whether you choose to do the activities or not, this is an exciting new read aloud for December.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
(Ages 4 and up)
This classic story about a boy traveling to the North Pole on a magical train has remained a Christmas favorite for over thirty years. The award-winning illustrations draw the reader in as the boy journeys across mysterious landscapes to meet Santa and receive a special gift. Because the text is a bit lengthy, this is a story that is best enjoyed one-on-one over a cup of hot chocolate.

The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup ; illustrated by Matt Tavares
(Ages 4 – 8)
When a boy and his mother bake gingerbread men and decorate them to look like pirates, a little Christmas magic brings the crew to life. With a mix of humor, delightful illustrations, and an astonishing story about Christmas wishes coming true, this is a holiday book that children will beg to read over and over.

A World of Cookies for Santa: Follow Santa’s Tasty Trip Around the World by M.E. Furman; illustrated by Susan Gal
Leaving cookies for Santa is a cherished tradition celebrated around the world. A World of Cookies for Santapresents a short paragraph describing the variety of sweet treats left for Jolly old Kris Kringle in several different countries. This fascinating book also includes other customs practiced on Christmas Eve and delicious recipes.

Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift by Dara Goldman
(Ages 5 and up)
In this adorable retelling of The Gift of the Magi, Boris and Stella are two bears preparing for the holidays. While Boris celebrates Hanukkah and Stella observes Christmas, both friends sell a treasured item to buy the other a generous present. Once the gifts are exchanged, the bears realize that the gift of friendship is much more valuable than any possession. It is difficult to find a story that represents both Christian and Jewish traditions, and this one is a gem.

Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel; illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
(Ages 4 – 8)
During a comical case of mixed-up identity, an elderly woman mistakes a bear for a rabbi and serves him latkes and plays dreidel with him on the first night of Hanukkah. It is hard not to smile at this amusing and sweet story.

Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale by Gloria Koster; illustrated by Sue Eastland
(Ages 4 – 8)
In this Hanukkah-themed reimaging of Little Red Riding Hood, Ruthie is a clever girl who outsmarts a hungry wolf by feeding him platefuls of latkes. Aspects of the holiday are skillfully woven throughout the story culminating in Ruthie sharing the victory of the Maccabees and the importance of the oil. This entertaining book even comes with a potato latke recipe in the back!

Hanukkah Cookies With Sprinkles by David Adler
(Ages 5 and up)
This touching story focuses on the Jewish custom of tzedakah (giving to the poor). When Sara notices a man taking a bruised apple from a bin, she begins leaving food for him and ultimately invites him to her family’s Hanukkah celebration. With a message of compassion, engaging illustrations, and additional notes on the traditions of Hanukkah, this is an excellent read aloud choice.

All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
(Ages 4 and up)
Based on the classic book series by Sydney Taylor, this story follows a large family as they prepare latkes together during the first night of Hanukkah in 1912. Gertie, the youngest, feels left out until her Papa allows her the honor of lighting the first candle on the menorah. An author’s note gives the history behind the original series starring an immigrant family as they settle into life in New York City in the early 1900’s.

The Story of Hanukkah by David A. Adler; illustrated by Jill Weber
(Ages 5 and up)
This is an excellent book for teaching children the history of Hanukkah. It should be noted that since the holiday is based on a military victory, many scenes depict weapons and fighting. The story ends by demonstrating how the traditions of Hanukkah are kept alive today and includes a recipe for latkes and instructions on how to play dreidel.

The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes by Linda Glaser; illustrated by Nancy Cote
(Ages 5 and up)
Each year Rachel’s mother invites their lonely neighbor, Mrs. Greenberg, into their home to celebrate Hanukkah with them and every year she refuses. When Rachel’s family receives word that they will have eight additional guests, Rachel borrows ingredients from Mrs. Greenberg until she cleverly finds a way to include the elderly women in their celebration. Cheerful illustrations fill the pages of this uplifting tale about family and friends.

 

 

Want more suggestions for books your kids will love? Follow Rosemary on instagram @librarymombooks!

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