Almost all families develop traditions for the holidays, whether it be Christmas or Hanukkah. I always advocate for reading together.
It can be one night a week you set aside to read from favorite books or it could be short nightly sessions before the kids go to bed. Or just pick a cold night after a busy day of holiday preparations when the family huddles together in front of the fireplace and shares a favorite book or two.
Being a helpful book writer, I’m going to do my part to promote the idea by suggesting some children’s books that could get you started or would be great additions to your family library.
I chose books that were published this year, and while they are clearly children’s books, I’m sure adults will enjoy reading them with the kids in their lives.
“A Woodland Christmas Tale” by Hannah Whitty (Barron’s, $8.99) This board book tells the story of a holiday celebration for all the animals of the forest and includes an Advent calendar.
“Happy Hanukkah, Curious George” by Emily Flaschner Meyer, illustrated by Mary O’Keefe Young (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $7.99) Clever rhymes illuminate the ways the Jewish holiday is observed in this board book.
“The Friendly Beasts” illustrated by Anna Vojtech (Zonderkidz, $16.99) Wonderful artwork puts pictures to the words of the old English carol about the animals associated with the Nativity. Includes a CD.
“How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?” and “How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?” by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, $16.99 each) This series of books has been delighting little readers for several years, and these two additions will, too.
“Ella Bella Ballerina and the Nutcracker” by James Mayhew (Barron’s, $14.99) This one probably will appeal more to little girls than boys, but it’s a sweet, delicately illustrated story about a ballet student who is transported into “The Nutcracker” during her teacher’s Christmas party.
“My Christmas Treasury” (Cartwheel/Scholastic, $8.99) A collection of three fun holiday stories: “The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever” by Steven Kroll, “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell” by Lucille Santarelli and “Christmas Morning” by Cheryl Ryan.
“The Legend of the Candy Cane” by Lori Walburg, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey (Zonderkidz, $15.99) A man comes to a prairie town and begins to build a store — a candy store. He tells an inquisitive little girl about the sacred meaning of his candy canes. There is another section at the back of the book that gives the history of the candy cane.
“Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama” by Selina Alko (Knopf, $16.99) Sadie’s family is a blended one where each parent contributes different traditions for a combined Christmas-Hanukkah holiday — something that occurs more often than we think. For Sadie, it works just fine.
“Christmas Wombat” by Jackie French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99) My vote for cutest holiday book this season. Follow the little Australian wombat’s Christmas night adventure with Santa’s reindeer as it searches for more delicious carrots.
“The Christmas Quiet Book” by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $12.99) Among all the bustle of holiday shopping, baking, visiting and decorating come moments of quiet — some good, some not so good. This is a simple but beautiful book.
“The Littlest Elf” by Brandi Dougherty, illustrated by Kirsten Richards (Cartwheel/Scholastic, $4.99) A misfit elf and misfit reindeer find friendship and a purpose together. A charming story.
Contact the writer: