Counting down to Christmas: Christmas Eve is now 2 weeks away! Here are some books to boost your Christmas spirit!
This is a basic telling of the birth of Jesus. It is simply told with child-like drawings. I like how it ties the birth of Jesus with getting presents today.
The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree by David Rubel, illustrated by Jim LaMarche
Henry lives with his out-of-work parents in a drafty shack. It is the day before Christmas, 1931, during the Great Depression. Henry and his father cut some trees and take them into New York City to sell as Christmas trees. While there, they make friends with some people. These new friends come the next day and build Henry’s family a new house. Much later, when Henry is an old man, he gets a chance to return the blessing. In the last pages, there is more information about the Rockefeller Center tree and Habitat for Humanity.
Tomtes are the Swedish version of elves. All year, this tomte family has worked hard on a human family’s farm. All they want for thanks is their bowl of Christmas Eve porridge. Mama tomte knows they will forget this year and so comes up with a plan to get the bowl of porridge to Papa tomte without him finding out. The story and illustrations are full of magic.
Katie has an unusual talent. Sometimes a magic wind comes along and she is transformed into someone else. There are 3 stories in this book, all happening in the week before Christmas. Katie gets to see Christmas through the eyes of one of Santa’s elves, her neighbor and a department store gift-wrapper.
Anna Hibiscus has a very interesting life. She lives in Africa with her huge family. In this story (part of the Anna Hibiscus series) she goes to visit her grandmother in Canada for Christmas. It’s the first time Anna sees snow. She also meets a friendly dog (first one in her life) and some kids who aren't so friendly at first. I really enjoy this series.
And the Soldiers Sang by J. Patrick Lewis and Gary Kelley
As I’ve said so many times, picture books are not just for little ones. This book is a perfect example of this. It tells of life in the trenches during World War I at Christmastime, 1914. It tells of the difficulties and horrors of war and the illustrations are as grim as the words. In 1914, all along the frontlines, both sides stopped fighting for a Christmas truce, with enemies singing carols and sharing food (this really happened that year). This is a difficult and moving story.
Fifth-grader Don and his family live in a coal mining town in the 1950s. The story is about trouble at the mine, getting ready for Christmas, and trying to figure out what Don’s little sister wants for Christmas. The story is told in alternating chapters by Don and his dog Frank. This is a really good Christmas middle grade novel.
Do you know this song? This book tells all the lyrics and matches them with fun illustrations. If you don’t know or can’t remember the tune, you can Google the title.
All the toys in the museum gather around the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. But there are no presents. No matter, Bunting the stuffed cat has an idea – they can give themselves to one another as gifts. A good idea except… The illustrations give lots of details to look at over and over.
There’s nothing like a Sandra Boynton book. The text and illustrations in this one are so wonderful, you are going to want to read this one aloud – many times.
A happy thing: there are more Christmas books next week!