Monday, December 5, 2011

More Christmas Books for the Family

Choosing books for Christmas has been a joyful and difficult task. How was I ever going to narrow down my list? Well, I decided to keep to picture books (not just for little kids!). I have 3 reasons for this. One, this tends to be a really busy time of year and picture books are just quicker than chapter books. 

Two, picture books have pictures and I love the look of Christmas. Three, picture books are just so much fun to share and enjoy together.

So... it was hard, but I managed to choose 10 books for this week’s post and 10 for next week. Enjoy!

December by Eve Bunting, illustrated by David Diaz
A boy and his mother are homeless and live in a cardboard box. On Christmas Eve, they let an old woman share their box to keep warm. This book is a wonderful discovery for me. When I first got this book, I read it over and over and will read it again Christmas Eve.

A Kenya Christmas by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Leonard Jenkins
How can an aunt who arrives with 2 pet cheetahs fulfill a boy’s dream to see Father Christmas? Not only that, how will she find a sleigh and snow for their African town? You’ll have to read this book to find out how she does it. Or does she?

The Story of Christmas words from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, illustrated by Jane Ray
The illustrations make the scripture come alive. This is a beautiful book.

The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers
There are many versions of this story. I like this one because the story is simply told and the illustrations perfectly show the magic. It would be a great introduction to the story if you are attending the ballet.

The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist
Lemony Snicket may be an unlikely author of a heart-warming Christmas story but he’s written one this time. Of course, it’s also odd and funny.

Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
Right before the Christmas Eve service, a tapestry is hung to cover an ugly hole in a church wall. This tapestry joins 2 families, 2 faiths and 2 lonely persons.

Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
Strega Nona prepares for her annual Christmas Eve feast for her town. Her helper, Big Anthony, seems to not to be helping at all. This is one of my favorite Christmas books.

The Farolitos of Christmas by Rudolfo Anaya, illustrated by Edward Gonzales
Luz’s father is away, fighting in World War II. Her grandfather is too sick to create the traditional luminaria (small bonfires made of stacked wood), so Luz helps create farolitos (paper bag lanterns), for their Christmas celebration instead. Inspired by this story, I’m planning to have my own paper bag lanterns this year.

 The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
A mail carrier delivers Christmas cards to several famous fairy-tale characters, such as Humpty Dumpty, the Big Bad Wolf, and the Gingerbread Boy. Each very clever card can be removed from its envelope page and read separately.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
The Polar Express train picks up a boy and other young passengers and takes them to the North Pole. While there, the children find out what the first gift of the season is going to be from Santa Claus. I’ve loved this book for years and always read it with my students. If you’ve only seen the movie, you must read this book. It is FAR BETTER than the movie.

Next Monday, I'll have more Christmas books. Check out Christmas Books: Part 1 The 12 Days of Christmas: Books for the Whole Family if you missed it last week.
What Christmas books have you enjoyed this year? Write them in the Comments box!

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