With all the technology available to us, it can sometimes be difficult for kids to want to read. Video games, iPads and TV are often the preferred options for fun—and dominate the Christmas wish lists little ones have—but we want to give you some good holiday book options for kids.
We asked librarians from around Dallas-Fort Worth what kids gravitate toward in the library, and they directed us to some of the following books to help your family celebrate the season.
Community librarian suggestions:
Sharon Martin, Director, University Park Public Library said the following four books are great for teaching, gifting or reading on a cold winter day.
“How Santa Got His Job” by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by S. D. Schindler – This is a great story about how one of the world’s most beloved characters wasn’t perfect but kept trying until he found the perfect job for himself.
“Olive, the Other Reindeer” by Vivian Walsh and illustrated by J.Otto Siebold – A cute story about how the littlest and most unlikely member of a team can contribute. Plus, if you’re a dog lover, this is a fun story.
“Auntie Claus” written and illustrated by Elise Primavera – This is an Auntie-Mame-meets-Santa-Claus story that engages the imagination, and the illustrations are beautiful.
“An Angel Just Like Me” by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu – I discovered this story when I was a children’s librarian in South Dallas. It’s a great story about how society and its traditions should be a reflection of all of us. It’s a great book to teach how Christmas is about all of us.
Cynthia Pfledderer, Librarian, Southlake Public Library recommended three books, the first two of which “have seen a lot of use in our library and are considered classics. The third is a new book but a very well-received story,” she said.
“Madeline’s Christmas” by Ludwig Bemelmans
“The Snowman” by Raymond Briggs
“Christmas Wish” by Lori Evert (this is a new book that has received many fine reviews from critics and readers, Pfledderer notes.)
Erin Spicer, Youth Services Manager, Allen Public Library said her three favorites are:
“Claude the Dog: A Christmas Story” by Dick Gackenbach – This book is so simple but really captures the giving spirit of Christmas, especially for young children.
“Pete the Cat Saves Christmas” by Eric Litwin – This is a fun spin on “’Twas The Night Before Christmas” starring Pete the Cat, a very popular picture book character.
“The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg – This is a great book for older children (elementary age). The artwork is gorgeous and I love the story.
Nora Nagel, Manager, Bookmarks at NorthPark Center suggests the following three children’s books for the holidays.
“Pete the Cat Saves Christmas” by Eric Litwin
“Bear Stays Up for Christmas” by Karma Wilson
“Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” by Eric Kimmel
Teri Nelson, Children’s Service Coordinator, Zula B. Wylie Public Library, City of Cedar Hill said the following books are favorites at their community library:
“’Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Clement Moore
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson
“The Legend of Old Befana” by Tomie DePaola
“Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa” by Donna L. Washington
“Eight Winter Nights, A Family Hanukkah Book” by Laura Krauss Melmed
Pam Hatcher, Children’s Assistant, Highland Park Library offered the following suggestions:
"Red Ranger Came Calling" by Berkeley Breathed - This is a great holiday group read that will inspire whether you believe in Santa or not. The photo at the end (no peeking!) will leave you wondering!
"Dream Snow" by Eric Carle - Carle’s beautiful collage artwork provides young children to participate throughout the story by guessing the farmer’s animals, and then pushing a magic button.
"Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story" by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Alison Jay - As it “rustled with a rumor” of the event that would change the world forever, creation sings a lively and moving hymn of anticipation.
Tamara Golubski, Librarian III, Youth Services Supervisor, Richardson Public Library said that based upon patron requests, the following three picture books are the most popular at Christmas time:
“The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg
Various versions of “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” based on the poem by Clement C. Moore
Various versions of “The Nutcracker” based on the original story by E. T. A. Hoffmann
Mignon Morse, Library Manager, Sachse Public Library said “my choice would be the “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” classic!”
And, a few BubbleLife suggestions for you…
“Fancy Nancy: Spendiferous Christmas” by Jane O’Connor – I got this one for my niece last year and confess to having read the whole thing at Barnes and Noble before purchasing it. I thought it was precious. Obviously, this one isn’t good for boys, but it has all the elements of a typical Fancy Nancy book—flair, sparkle and girliness—with a holiday twist.
“Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy” by Don Freeman – Even if your family doesn’t celebrate Hanukkah, this is a cute, simple way to teach your kids basic Hanukkah traditions like lighting the menorah, playing driedel and eating latkes.
“Junie B., First Grader: Jingle Bell, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May)” by Barbara Park – This one is good for kids who are a bit older and starting to read sentences on their own. Literary favorite Junie B. has to be the class tattletale’s secret Santa, and she’s not too happy about it. But, the first grader must find the holiday spirit within her!
What suggestions would you add? Feel free to comment below.