While I love all things Christmas, I especially love Christmas music and Christmas books. I come by it honestly — my dad used to play Christmas music throughout the month of December, and my mom had, at one point, what might have been the largest collection of various versions of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. I remember spending hours as a child curled up on the couch, listening to Christmas music and reading Christmas books. So, of course, one of my favorite things once I became a parent myself was to build my Christmas book collection, as well as to find new titles from our local library. Publishing a Christmas booklist was one of the tasks I was most excited to complete when I started my Instagram account a little over a year ago. Last year, I made what I think is an amazing list of 25+ Christmas books to read… This year, I’ve got a completely new list of 25 Christmas books for you to enjoy with your little ones this season!
Below, you’ll find 25 Christmas books, some new in 2019, some very old (one even sent to me this year from my childhood collection and signed by the author!), mostly listed in random order (with one exception… Can you find it?). All links for purchase are Amazon Affiliate links, and most age ranges listed are publishers’ recommendations.
25 Christmas Books for 2019
- Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne — I saw this one floating around last year but couldn’t get my hands on a copy, so I was very quick to request it early from our library this year. And it definitely lived up to my expectations! The lyrics to the traditional hymn are set across a black background, while Hawthorne’s illustrations depict the story of Jesus’s birth. MAry and Joseph are appropriate dark-skinned, and the angels, shepherds, and other characters also have skin in various shades of brown. While most of my list is in random order, this is first on the list for a reason! Ages 3-7.
2. Oliver Elephant by Lou Peacock, illustrated by Helen Stephens — This may be one of the most fun books to read aloud on this list, as the rhythm and rhyme are bouncy and happy, perfect for the Christmas season! Mommy, Noah, and Evie-May Brown get up early one morning to head into town and finish up their Christmas shopping… So Noah, of course, has to take his stuffed elephant along with him. All goes well and the kids are troopers (even when accidents happen, which happens when children are Christmas shopping…), until Oliver Elephant goes missing. What I appreciate most about this one is the reality of a less-fun side of the Christmas season — the Christmas shopping and the fact that children are often just along for the ride during those long days. This is a great book to read if you’re prepping your children for a long day of crossing things off the Christmas to-do list! Ages 2-5.
3. I Got the Christmas Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison, illustrated by Frank Morrison — The main character of this story is just so likeable and relatable! We walk with her through an exciting day in the city, a day of Christmas shopping and festivities, and watch her recognize the various ways the Christmas spirit follows her through the day. You’ll be deeply touched by her reaction to seeing a mother, son, and baby asking for money/food on the street. Ages 3-6.
4. The Waltz of the Snowflakes by Elly Mackay — The first of two wordless books on this list, a grandmother gives her granddaughter tickets (at first we don’t know what the tickets are for), which the girl begrudgingly accepts. They dress for the occasion and trek through a cold, rainy day to arrive at the ballet theater to watch The Nutcracker. Mackay illustrates the story of The Nutcracker ballet for most of the book, but on each page, we get a glimpse of the girl’s reactions to and emotions through watching the show. I love that the other major character in the audience is a boy sitting next to the girl, as boys can enjoy ballets just as much as girls! Ages 4-7.
5. Last Stop on the Reindeer Express by Maudie Powell-Tuck, illustrated by Karl James Mountford — Full of cut-outs and lift-the-flaps, this book is just fun! Each page is brightly colored and invites readers into Mia’s story, a story of wishing she could spend the holiday with a loved one who is far away. This is a fun read for anyone, but especially for those who miss their loved ones during the holiday season. Ages 3-7.
6. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by P. J. Lynch — Jonathan Toomey, local woodcarver, isn’t rejoicing as many are during the holiday season… Until he is asked to carve a nativity scene for a widow and her son. Toomey’s heart is softened through the story, and I’m guessing yours will be, too. And, as I was writing this, I noticed that James Earl Jones has narrated the audiobook, so you can bet we’ll be listening to that this holiday season! Ages 6-9.
7. I Spy Christmas: A Book of Picture Riddles by Jean Marzollo, photography by Walter Wick — I have such fond childhood memories of these I Spy books, but I don’t remember looking at the Christmas version until this year. It’s good to have a book that will occupy a solid amount of your children’s time during the holiday season, so this is a terrific one to pick up and give to your children when you need time to get stuff done! Ages 4-6.
8. Dasher by Matt Tavares — Tavares’s Red and Lulu (published 2017) was one of my favorites on my 2018 Christmas book list, and Dasher may be a favorite on this list. We all know and love Rudolph, but what about the other reindeer? What are their stories? Tavares will answer that nagging question for you here! As usual, Tavares’s illustrations are rich and detailed. Ages 4-8.
9. Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jane Dyer — A dear friend sent this to our girls last Christmas, but we didn’t open it until Christmas Day, so I’m really excited to enjoy this throughout the season this year. A sequel to the duo’s original Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons, Rosenthal uses making and enjoying Christmas cookies to teach children wonderful lessons about anticipation, perseverance, disappointment, and more. Ages 4-8.
10. Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Anna Dewdney — Somehow, I am just discovering all of these delightful books Margaret Wise Brown wrote, in addition to Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny! This one, illustrated by the late Anna Dewdney, of Llama Llama and more, is a sweet rhyming walk through that first Christmas night. Ages 4-8.
11. The Night of His Birth by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Lisa Aisato — Oh Katherine Paterson… Pretty much anything she writes is gold in my mind! This one, admittedly, may go over better with adults than with the target audience of children, but it is a stunning story of the nativity told from Mary’s perspective. And Aisato’s illustrations are just brimming with emotion. Ages 6-10, but likely to be more appreciated by adults.
12. Good News! It’s Christmas! by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Lizzie Walkley — Glenys Nellist has the sweetest series of faith-based board books sharing the good news of the gospel, and this new Christmas book in her series is just perfect for the youngest readers and listeners this holiday season. It walks you through all the typical characters in a nativity scene sharing the good news of Christ’s birth with those around them, in easy-to-read rhyme and rhythm. You can read my full review here. Ages 0-3.
13. Peter Spier’s Christmas! by Peter Spier — My parents moved this fall, and as a result of their big house clean-out, I was lucky enough to receive a box of Christmas books from my own childhood, including this signed gem! In Spier’s style, this intrinsically detailed worldess book follows a family through the Christmas season, through all the shopping, the gift wrapping, the decorating, the groceries, Christmas day, the clean-up after… It’s a wonderful way for children to rehearse all that comes with the month of December! Ages 4-8.
14. The Broken Ornament by Tony DiTerlizzi — How many of us have hopes and dreams of each Christmas being the best Christmas ever? Has that ever led you to make a mistake that not only keeps Christmas from being the best, but even makes it maybe… the worst? Jack experiences that, but comes up big to save the day and show his love! Ages 4-8.
15. ‘Twas Nochebuena: A Christmas Story in English and Spanish by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by Sara Palacios — As you all know, our younger daughter is on a big Spanish kick right now, so I’m guessing this will be one of her 2019 Christmas favorites! Almost every single line of this book has a word in Spanish (fortunately, Thong includes a glossary at the back, or I’d be lost!), and it tells of various Guatemalan and Mexican Christmastime traditions. Ages 3-5.
16. Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck, illustrated by Mark Buehner — Y’all, this book, first published in 1955, is an absolutely beautiful story with absolutely beautiful illustrations. If you only read one Christmas book with your children this year, you might consider making this the one. It’ll make everyone who hears it think hard about picking gifts for their loved ones that truly reflect their love. Ages 4-8.
17. The Bearer of Gifts by Kenneth Steven, illustrated by Lily Moon — I tend to steer clear of most books about Santa Claus, as I prefer to keep my children’s focus on giving, love, and Jesus during Christmas. But, this is a delightful origin story of Santa Claus, connecting Santa’s first appearance and work to a visit a woodworker made to Jesus’s manger. Steven magically connects Santa Claus and Jesus, making an important bridge for young children at Christmas. Ages 4-8.
18. A Homemade Together Christmas by Maryann Cocca-Leffler — Have you ever made an agreement with friends or family members to exchange only homemade gifts for any given occasion? It can be very stressful! That’s exactly how Luca feels when his family decides to have a “homemade Christmas.” I absolutely LOVE the idea he ends up thinking of, enough that I just may copy him for our girls this year! Ages 4-8.
19. The Queen and the First Christmas Tree: Queen Charlotte’s Gift to England by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Luisa Uribe — A local bookseller encouraged (well, pushed…) me to buy this book last year… Which I did, as a gift for my mother, collector of Christmas books and lover of most things royal family. I reread it for myself this fall and fell in love with it myself… It’s a fascinating insight into the origin of Christmas trees, a central tradition of the holiday but one with a relatively unknown origin. Ages 4-8.
20. One Starry Night by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Jonathan Bean — A gentle story of parents’ love for children, shown through simple text and images of parent animals caring for their little ones one starry night. The last images show Mary and Joseph watching over their new baby. There is italicized text throughout the story, in addition to the regular words, that reminds us of God’s fatherly love for us all. Ages 4-8.
21. The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker, illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle — We gave this one to our girls last year the morning we took them to see The Nutcracker, and they loved it! It tells a short version of the story of the ballet, perfect for younger attention spans, and has buttons to press throughout the book to hear excerpts from the score. Ages 6-9, but perfect for younger Nutcracker fans too!
22. Dream Snow by Eric Carle — You likely know this one already, but it’s just too beautiful to be left off of a Christmas list. The board book version (which we have) has fun lift-the-flap and embossed features, and the larger picture book (which I’ve never actually seen in person) apparently lights up and plays music! Ages 0-3 for board book, 3-7 for picture book.
23. The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden, illustrated by Barbara Cooney — The longest book on this list, this actually reads more like a short chapter book than a picture book, but picture book it is! Children with longer attention spans will delight in the tale of Holly, a doll dressed in red; Ivy, an orphan at St. Agnes’s orphanage; Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the local policeman and his wife; the broader definition of family; and Christmas wishes come through. If you’re prone to crying when reading children’s books, have your tissues ready for this one! Ages 5 and up.
24. The Legend of the Poinsettia, retold by Tomie dePaola — dePaola has many wonderful Christmas books, but this is one of my favorites. Lucida’s village has a Christmas Eve tradition wherein each family processes through the town to the church to bring a gift to Baby Jesus. Unfortunately, Lucida ruins her family’s present, until an old woman encourages her to give whatever she can find, because all that matters is that it came from her in love. Ages 4-8.
25. Wombat Divine by Mem Fox, illustrated by Kerry Argent — A friend with wonderful taste in books, especially holiday books, recommended this one to me last year. By the time I got my hands on a copy, it was too late to share it with you all for the holiday, but it was the first book I put on this list this year! Mem Fox is pretty magical when it comes to children’s books, and this is a magical story of Wombat, who loves everything about Christmas and wants nothing more than to be a part of the Nativity play… But part after part after part is given to everyone but him… You’ll absolutely love how this one turns out! And, how often do you get to read a story about a wombat? Ages 4-7.
Do you have any traditions around Christmas books? Maybe you do a Christmas book advent calendar, wrapping up 25 books to be opened one at a time, each day (I did this one year, but decided I wanted all of our books to be enjoyed the whole month…). Do you have a December 1 present for your children that includes Christmas pajamas and a new holiday book? Comment below with your favorite Christmas book traditions!
If you liked this post, be sure to check out my list of 25+ Christmas books from 2018! Last year’s list includes many, many of my all-time favorites!