Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent and Christmas Book List (for cozy December days and nights)

I've tried to hold off on doing this, but resistance is futile.  I'm jumping on the Catholic mom blog bandwagon and posting our favorite Advent/Christmastide picture books. If you're sick of these lists, feel free to move right along!  But if you're like me, and lists of any sort (especially ones that involve books) hold a mysterious sort of power over you, then welcome!  I suppose you never know, there may even be one or two items here that haven't already been mentioned on every other holiday book list!  I've already seen a few on other lists that I'm looking forward to checking out for next year!

In the past, we've used our Advent calendar as a vehicle for giving the kids clues as to where to search for a hidden book each day of December.  But in the spirit of just enjoying time with each other and not worrying about orchestrating elaborate scavenger hunts, this year I'm keeping most of the books in a big basket so that they're close at hand for cozy book time :)

I couldn't resist - the ** stars ** are for my very favorites!  One star (*) means it's a great book.  Two stars (**) means (in my humble opinion) you should do whatever it takes to get this book from the library or from this Amazon affiliate (I thank you in advance so very much if you order through here!)  

Happy Advent and happy reading!

Tomie DePaola Favorites

** The Clown of God 
** Joy to the World: Tomie's Christmas Stories (includes The Night of Las Posadas, the Miracle of the Poinsettia, and The Story of the Three Wise Kings)
** An Early American Christmas
Merry Christmas, Strega Nona
Strega Nona's Gift 
The Birds of Bethlehem
Jingle the Christmas Clown 
Country Angel Christmas
The First Christmas (Pop-Up Book) 

Books of Hymns and Carols

(We love to use these to learn new carols each year.  The kids call them singing books.)

* The Huron Carol, lyrics by St. Jean de Brebeuf  (we have versions illustrated by Ian Wallace  and Frances Tyrell)
We Three Kings, by Gennady Spirin  (with gorgeous illustrations)
Tomie dePaola's Book Of Christmas Carols
The Friendly Beasts: an old English Christmas Carol, by Tomie DePaola
Good King Wenceslas, illustrated by John Walner 
The Little Drummer Boy, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats

Other Stories

** The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, by Susan Wojciechowski 

Papa Panov's Special Day, story by Leo Tolstoy, retold by Mig Holder 
A Christmas Story  and The Road to Bethlehem, by Brian Wildsmitn  (if author/illustrators had "groupies" I'd be a Wildsmith groupie!  I LOVE his artwork!!)
Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey, by Robert Byrd (this is one that I don't love, love, love, but the kids seem to!)
Saint Francis Celebrates Christmas, by Mary Caswell Walsh
Silent Night: The Song and Its Story, by Margaret Hodges
Silent Night: A Christmas Carol Is Born, by Maureen Hooper
Silent Night: The Song from Heaven, Linda Granfield
The Stable Where Jesus Was Born, by Rhonda Gowler Greene
The Jesse Tree, by Geraldine McCaughrean 

A Few Secular Favorites

some of the books listed below are a little camera shy and thus do not appear here

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, by Dr. Seuss (more a favorite of Russ and the kids than me!)
The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs 
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, by Gloria Houston
My Wonderful Christmas Tree, by Dahlov Ipcar (I'm a big fan of Ipcar's illustrations.)

Books for December Saints

Saint Nicholas, by Ann Tompert

The Legend of Saint Nicholas, by Demi
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend, by Julie Stiegemeyer
* *The Lady of Guadalupe, by Tomie DePaola
Lucia: Saint of Light, by Katherine Bolger Hyde 

Books for Epiphany (these are some of my favorites!!)

** The Legend of Old Befana, by Tomie DePaola
Baboushka and the Three Kings, by Ruth Robbins
Babushka, by Charles Mikolaycak
Babushka, by Sandra Ann Horn
**The Greatest Gift: The Story of the Other Wise Man, by Susan Summers
Humphrey's First Christmas, by Carol Heyer
* The Last Straw, by Frederick Thury
Small Camel Follows the Star, by Rachel W. N. Brown 

(I love the legends of Befana and Baboushka.  I've just ordered La Befana: An Italian Night After Christmas and Baboushka: A Christmas Folktale from Russia.
 If you know of other picture books surrounding these legends, let me know!)  

Oh, and one other thing!  In addition to books, the kids enjoy these CD's this month too...

** Christmas Carol & Other Favorites (Jim Weiss recording) 

and ** Classical Kids Christmas :)  They're both great!  

*   *   *   *   *   * 

What are some of your favorite picture books for Advent and Christmas???


  1. Glad you couldn't resist, LOVE looking at book pics. and was most interested to note your stars, whilst I have lots of these books I don't have all, which means I should buy the star books first:)
    all my advent/Christmas books are listed at link above.

  2. I am so glad you posted a list, I love all your selections. We have a lot of these, but not all and I got some new ideas for next year!

  3. What a great list! I'm seeing a few that I'd like to add to our collection as well (and truth be told, I'm seeing some that I know I have, but have no idea where the are! :/ ) Blessed Advent to you and your family!

  4. What an extensive collection! I am bookmarking this for later. We just got Joy to the World as a gift and have read (and sung) it several times already. Happy Advent!


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