Unwrap the Magic: A 25-Day Christmas Reading Countdown
25 Days of Christmas Picture Books List
Unwrap the Magic: A 25-Day Christmas Reading Countdown
Welcome to a literary journey that captures the essence of the holiday season. As we countdown the days to Christmas, let each story transport you to festive realms, evoke cherished traditions, and sprinkle a bit of seasonal enchantment into your home.
From timeless classics to modern treasures, this curated collection promises something special for everyone. Join us in celebrating the joy of reading with a new tale each day — a literary advent calendar filled with warmth, wonder, and the spirit of Christmas.
So, gather around, snuggle up with a cozy blanket, and let the magic of storytelling add an extra touch of holiday cheer to your December. Happy reading and Merry Christmas!
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Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border by Mitali Perkins
I had the delightful experience of listening to Mitali read "Between Us and Abuela" aloud at a bookstore, and it moved me to tears. This heartfelt narrative provides a non-politically charged exploration of a family divided by a barrier, as they discover inventive ways to connect during the holidays, thanks to the kindness of those who facilitate these moments. It's a touching story that beautifully captures the essence of love and creativity.
The Broken Ornament by Tony DiTerlizzi
A heartwarming tale that follows the story of a young boy that bursts with enthusiasm for the Christmas season. His joy takes an unexpected turn when he accidentally breaks his mom's cherished ornament, unleashing a wave of guilt. As Jack grapples with his feelings, the narrative delves into themes of forgiveness, redemption, and the true spirit of Christmas.
A Calf for Christmas by Astrid Lindgren
In the wake of a tragic loss, a struggling family mourns the passing of their cherished cow. During a moment of frustration expressed to the heavens, a young boy stumbles upon a calf, interpreting it as a miraculous gift. Despite his father's caution that the calf isn't theirs, this touching Christmas tale unfolds, highlighting the enduring themes of love, family, and the unwavering faith in miracles.
The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher by Robert Kraus
In a snowy village, as children sleep, the mischievous Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher arrives, seizing all the sprinkles for his festive fun. Without them, baking is in jeopardy! Little Nat steps up, determined to track down the Snitcher. Will Nat succeed, or will the Snitcher relent, allowing the village to bake its cookies? The unfolding tale answers these questions, revealing whether Nat can follow the trail, avoid icy pitfalls, and ultimately, if the Sprinkle Snitcher has a change of heart. Enjoy the delightful resolution!
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck
On Christmas Eve, a man fondly recalls a holiday from years past, where the perfect gift wasn't wrapped but was embodied in simple yet profound act of love and sacrifice. In a touching gesture, he had risen extra early to undertake his father's most significant chore—the morning milking—as a heartfelt offering. Buck's narrative, complemented by Buehner's evocative illustrations, transports readers to a serene winter night, emphasizing the essence of the season's true magic.
Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray
This enchanting book, adorned with delightful illustrations, unfolds a heartwarming tale of a multigenerational friendship. Through the changing seasons, the story captures the gradual growth of a tree farm as one year after another passes.
Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
Jonathan and his pastor father discover a beautiful tapestry and use it to adorn a wall in the church with festive cheer. The plot takes a surprising turn when an elderly Jewish woman recognizes the tapestry and a heartwarming tale unfolds. This richly illustrated picture book, perfect for the whole family, draws inspiration from a potentially true story of a Jewish couple separated by the Holocaust, who are connected through the years by a tapestry. Beyond its historical roots, this story from Polacco underscores themes of family, love, and mutual respect across religions.
The Christmas We Moved to the Barn by Alexander Day
Taffy and her family find themselves with an unexpected eviction notice on Christmas Eve. Rallying, they gather themselves and their twelve animals and, with stout hearts, trek their way across the snow to a barn and set up house. This tale captures the essence of family, resilience, and the magic that can emerge from unexpected challenges during the holiday season.
Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever by Matt Tavares
"Dasher" unfolds the heartwarming story of a young deer with a dream. Tired of the too hot circus life, Dasher embarks on a quest for a snowy home. Along the way, she encounters Santa and, with the magic of a Christmas wish, finds her life forever changed. This enchanting tale captures the essence of dreams, perseverance, and the holiday magic that can shape destinies.
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
A poignant story that delves into the sacrificial love between a young couple. In a selfless gesture of affection, each partner decides to part with their most cherished possession to buy a gift for the other. Their actions, revealed on Christmas Day, illuminate the depth of their love and the true spirit of giving, showcasing the profound sacrifices made for the sake of the other's happiness.
Good King Wenceslas by John M. Neale
In the city of Prague, in the Czech Republic, there is a square, and in the square is a statue of the country's patron saint. So begins this winning tribute to the tenth-century Bohemian King Wenceslas and the popular Christmastime song bearing his name. Ladwig's oversize double-page spreads are engaging and expressive, illustrating and enlivening this slightly adapted story-song from the moment when the king and his page spot the poor man gathering wood in the cold to their dangerous, icy trek to his house through the snow. "Page and monarch forth they went, / forth they went together, / through the rude wind's wild lament / and the bitter weather." A historical note and the musical notation for the song (plus Neale's five original verses) are appended. A holiday treat. Synopsis by Karin Snelson- from the American Library Association
The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rumer Godden
In this touching narrative, a child, a doll, and a couple find themselves bound by Christmas wishes. As the story unfolds, it beautifully explores the themes of love, generosity, and the hope of family. Will their three Christmas wishes be granted? A perfect counterbalance to the sadness of The Little Match Girl.
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola beautifully narrates and illustrates the Mexican legend of the poinsettia, creating a captivating tale that unfolds with artistic grace and cultural richness.
The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats
"The Little Drummer Boy" by Ezra Jack Keats is a classic picture book that retells the beloved Christmas song of the same name. In this story, a young boy with no gift to bring to the newborn Jesus at the manger discovers that the gift of his music is more meaningful than any material possession. The heartwarming tale emphasizes the power of simple gestures and the joy that comes from giving from the heart. Keats' signature illustrations bring the story to life with warmth and charm, making it a timeless holiday favorite for readers of all ages.
Little Red Sleigh by Erin Guendelsberger
Come on a charming journey with an overlooked sleigh as it becomes the star of a snowy Christmas adventure. In this endearing tale, the lesson of embracing individuality and finding purpose unfolds, creating a heartwarming narrative filled with festive magic and discovery.
Merry Christmas, Anne by Kallie George
A festive picture book that invites readers to the enchanting world of Anne of Green Gables during the holiday season. In this heartwarming tale, Anne Shirley, the beloved character created by Lucy Maud Montgomery, is ready to celebrate Christmas in Avonlea. With the picturesque setting of Green Gables, this Christmas-themed picture book is a delightful addition to the Anne series, offering fans a cozy and nostalgic holiday experience in picture book form.
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
In this heartwarming story, Mr. Willowby receives a grand Christmas tree but finds it's too tall. Not wanting any of it to go to waste, he trims what he needs and generously shares the remaining parts with a delightful array of animals. This endearing tale unfolds with joy and generosity, highlighting the spirit of giving and community during the holiday season.
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
In the heartwarming tale of Mortimer, a clever mouse mosies off on a quest for a cozy home and unexpectedly discovers the true meaning of Christmas. The narrative unfolds with charm as Mortimer finds an ingenious use for a miniature nativity scene, and ultimately learns who the baby is that he keeps removing from the manger.
The Nativity Illustrated by Julie Vivas
This book is not for everyone. It has a nude baby Jesus, Gabriel drinking coffee with Mary while giving his message, and other non-historically accurate illustrations with other incredibly accurate illustrations such as a very pregnant Mary trying to mount a donkey. It’s delightful, but probably not a great choice for literal kiddos.
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore- a board book
This is my favorite Christmas board book. It’s nice and tall, just like a chimney, and full of Duvoisin’s excellent illustrations.
Shooting at the Stars: the Christmas Truce by John Hendrix
In this remarkable picture book, the incredible illustrator John Hendrix brings to life an amazing and true story from World War I. The narrative unfolds against the backdrop of the war, revealing an extraordinary event where soldiers from both sides laid down their arms for a day. Between the trenches, they shared the joy and cheer of the holiday season before inevitably returning to the harsh reality of war. Hendrix skillfully captures the humanity, hope, and the brief respite from conflict, making this a powerful and moving tribute to the Christmas Truce of 1914.
A beautifully illustrated book that presents the cherished hymn's timeless lyrics alongside illustrations that predominantly feature characters with darker skin tones. The book invites readers to immerse themselves in the classic Christmas carol, capturing the serene and reverent atmosphere of that holy night in Bethlehem.
That’s Not Santa by Leonard Kessler
In this whimsical and lighthearted tale, Santa finds himself in a merry mix-up when he misplaces his iconic red suit. In a humorous quest for an alternative outfit, he rummages through a chest of costumes, leading to a series of playful and amusing encounters. This silly escapade showcases Santa's festive sense of humor and adds a touch of whimsy to the holiday season as he navigates the unexpected challenges of dressing for Christmas.
The Twelve Days of Christmas Illustrated by Anna Wright
With the lyrics of the classic song and the stunning illustrations of Anna Wright, this book is a beautiful gift option for someone you love. (Like me. This book is on my list!)
A World of Cookies for Santa by M.E. Furman
Embark on a delightful around-the-world journey in this enchanting book that explores the diverse traditions of children and the cookies they leave out for Santa. This immersive experience is not only a visual feast but also a culinary adventure, as the book includes mouthwatering recipes for each unique cookie, allowing readers to recreate the global sweetness in their own homes. Join this heartwarming celebration of diversity, holiday spirit, and the joy of sharing delicious traditions.
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