Our Favorite Holiday Book Picks
Spending quality family time during the holidays is a gift unto itself. You can make it even more special by setting aside some of that time to read with your children. There is no shortage of terrific holiday-themed books to choose from. We asked our Kiddie Academy family for some recommendations on their favorite holiday books so that we could share them with you. Some are familiar, some should be new to you and all are wonderful.
“This is one of my favorite books to read to preschool and prekindergarten classes during the holidays. Every time I read this book, the children are engaged in conversation as they ask questions about the story and are curious to learn more about the two holidays.
“The character in the story describes in detail the different ways she celebrates both holidays. She gives examples such as decorating her tree for Christmas, lighting candles for Hanukkah and the different foods her family makes for both holidays.
“This book also provides teachers opportunities to extend the learning in small groups. One activity that can be done is making latkes. They can also work together to decorate a Christmas tree and sing Hanukkah songs or Christmas carols.
“It is important to introduce children to different holidays so they can begin to appreciate the customs and traditions of other cultures.”
“I love this book because it takes me on a journey of the holiday season from a child’s perspective. The sights, smells and sounds we encounter reveal the spirit of the season through just a few words—and I love to invite little ones to repeat those words with me. And they do – with great enthusiasm!
“As this simple story progresses, it reveals to us how the spirit of the season lives in each of us whether we help the homeless in need, swirl around an ice rink or join in singing a holiday tune. The story is simple enough for 2-year-old little ones, yet meaningful enough for some older children.”
JR: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is my favorite holiday book because I remember my mom reading it to us as kids and then I in turn read it to my kids. I remember thinking from an early age how kindness and the holiday spirit can turn any Grinch into a Who.”
KR: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is one of my all-time favorites. I like the Christmas feeling it gives me, but isn’t it wonderful that every time we read this story is like the very first time? I love the rhyming that flows out of your mouth so smoothly when reading and how every time I read this book it takes me back to my kindergarten classroom.”
SS: “My absolute favorite holiday/seasonal book is “The Polar Express,” written by Chris Van Allsburg. It is genuinely my favorite book because of the format. The sense of imagination in the book is incredible. The pictures tell the story and that makes you feel alive with the book. The realistic illustrations create a warm environment every time you read the story, which makes you want to read it again and again.
“The theme of the story is the magic of the Christmas season. It is about a young boy who is questioning his belief in Santa Claus and goes on evening adventure and meets some extraordinary people. I won’t give away the end of the story because it is magical and is a real tearjerker for adults such as myself. The best way to explore this book is to cuddle up by the fire with some hot cocoa and truly enjoy these precious moments of life with your family.”
EW: “My favorite Christmas children’s book is “The Polar Express.” Since my oldest child was 1 year old he has had a love for trains. “Choo, Choo All Aboard,” is what you would often hear him say every time he saw or heard a train.
“My husband and I decided to make a tradition of reading “The Polar Express” book to our two young boys, Connor (4) and Gavin (2), as well as taking a ride on the magical Polar Express train each year. Our family looks forward to this special night as we come dressed in our pajamas and sip our hot cocoa on the train while we anticipate the long-awaited stop at the North Pole to see Santa and his reindeer. To see my boys’ faces light up during this journey is so worth it. When Santa gives them their silver sleigh to hold and shake, it reconfirms why we should all BELIEVE.”
“As a child, my grandmother would read me this story about three families who lived in a big fir tree. Every year the animals would wait for Santa, but he never would come. The animals invite their favorite aunt, Mim, to come and celebrate Christmas. However, once Aunt Mim comes and shows the animals the spirit of Christmas and how to decorate their big fir tree so Santa knows they are there, the animals are overjoyed and do get a visit from Santa.
“I really love how this story brings the animals together to help celebrate the season. As a little girl, I always looked forward to reading this story and looking at the pictures on how the animals decorated their big fir tree.”
“I first read this book while teaching kindergarten 15 years ago. It is a great story that captivates children of a variety of ages. The illustrations are my favorite part of the book. Each time you read the story you can see different details, even hidden illustrations, that make it exciting to read over and over. Since the children I taught loved it so much, I began reading it to my own children. We read the story each year during the winter holidays and it has quickly become a family favorite.”
“My favorite holiday book is “Snowmen at Night,” by Caralyn Buehner. I like this book because as a child I always looked forward to the cold weather, waiting for snow so I could build a snowman. And I loved the idea of them coming to life.”
“Meet the Latkes,” is written by Alan Silberberg, a cartoonist and former head writer for popular Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows. He tells the Hanukkah story in a way that will amuse and entertain even the youngest of readers.”
“I loved the bright illustrations and how the book introduced the different Kwanzaa-related items and their meanings (foods, customs, clothing) in simple easy-to-understand language. It shared one item for each letter of the alphabet, along with pronunciations of several unfamiliar words.”
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