As I have mentioned in previous posts, we love books here. We find great comfort in time reading together and love to escape into the wonderful world of a beautifully crafted book. We have quite a selection of Advent and Christmas books for children ; some we purchased after enjoying them from the library; some we found in charity shops and some we were given. The illustrations are so important to me; that they be beautiful and wholesome. Occasionally a book is such fun, that I let that go, but I do so prefer a picture book with wonderful cosy illustrations.
I will share the titles here, but unfortunately I don’t have enough time to go into great detail about them right now. More can be found in the reviews that you will find with the link. ( I do not have any affiliate links, but I find amazon reviews helpful for choosing books).
I will try to write a little about each one as we read them, so you might find more detail here as the days go by 🙂
There is still enough time to treat your loved ones to a nice picture book for Christmas:-)
These books are in English. We do have others in German, but will have to share them at some other point.
Stories for when you have half an hour or so to spend for some cosy reading:
The Story of Holly and Ivy – Rumer Godden – one of our favourite Christmas books. A story of a little orphan girl, Ivy, who doesn’t have a foster family for Christmas. She is sent by train to an orphanage for babies over the Christmas period, but on the way, she goes in search of her imaginary grandmother in Aylesbury. Meanwhile a little doll, Holly is standing on the shelf of a toy shop waiting to be brought alive by the love of a child. At the same time an older lady suddenly gets the Christmas spirit and starts decorating her home for Christmas and starts imagining how lovely it would be to have a child at home with her and her husband for Christmas….A heart warming story about wishes coming true and the magic of Christmas creating miracles. Truely heartwarming.
Papa Panov’s Special Day – Mig Holder – another favourite of ours. Papa Panov is an old shoemaker and well loved character in his village. He is on his own at home on Christmas Eve as his wife has died and his children have moved away. As he reads about the Nativity, he falls asleep and is woken by a voice he believes to be Jesus, telling him to look out for him on Christmas morn. He waits around all day, interrupted by various characters whom he helps in small but meaningful ways. At the end of the day he is disappointed not to have met Jesus, but then hears the voice again – telling him that his acts of kindness that day were noticed and appreciated. A really touching story with wonderful evocative pictures. It really warms my heart everytime I read it and brings a tear to my eye.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – Susan Wojciechowski – this book is so wonderful. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is heartwarming. There are two main characters: Jonathan Toomey, a carpenter who has suffered loss in his life and is living as a virtual recluse, making wooden items for the locals to pay his rent and a young boy, Thomas whose father has died in the war and who has had to move to the countryside with his mother to live with an aunt. On his journey to the country, he loses his wooden nativity set, something very precious to him. His mother asks Mr Toomey if he could make another and here starts the beginning of a new relationship between the rather gruff and cynical Toomey and the innocent and curious Thomas. His mother requests that Thomas watch Mr Toomey at work and after initially rejecting this, he decides to allow it and they both learn a lot in the process. A really lovely book with heart. There is also a film which I would highly recommend if you love the book.
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree – Gloria Houston – another heartwarming Christmas book. Set in the Appalachian mountains, it is spring and a little girl, Ruthie and her father go in search of a beautiful balsam tree that will take pride of place in their church at Christmastime. Soon after her father is called to war and Ruthie and her mother have to manage alone. Towards Christmas, it becomes clear that her father is not coming home yet, so Ruthie and her mother start their journey high up to the rocky crags to find and bring back the tree with the help of their faithful horse Piedy. Ruthie has also been chosen to be the heavenly angel in the Christmas Nativity, but she is doubtful that she will have anything to wear, times being hard. Her mother manages to recycle some of her clothes to surprise Ruthie with a dress and a matching doll as a Christmas present. This book is full of hope and wonder and has a lovely happy ending. Beautiful illustrations.
Little Grey Rabbit’s Christmas – Margaret Tempest – we have lots of books in this series – there is one for every season and occasion! The illustrations are sweet and old fashioned and the story is always wholesome. Little Grey Rabbit and her friends celebrate Christmas with fun in the snow, carolling and time spent with good friends.
Shorter stories for younger children :
Dear Santa – Kathryn White – a very sweet story about a young bear who finds a lost letter addressed to Father Christmas and decides to take it upon himself to hand deliver the letter so the boy will not be disappointed. With the help of his dear friend rabbit, they travel to the North Pole to meet Father Christmas and even take a ride in his magical sleigh. The boy receives his presents of course 🙂 The book comes with a couple of letters and envelopes so a child can write his/her own letter to Father Christmas. The illustrations are gorgeous.
Little Fairy’s Christmas – Daniela Drescher
Ferdie’s Christmas – Julia Rawlinson – this is one in a series of seasonal books about the sweet little innocent fox cub, Ferdie (there is an autumn and a spring one – we have them all!) Ferdie is worried that Father Christmas won’t find his friends’, the rabbits, house on Christmas Eve as they have moved. He works hard to lay down stick arrows to show the way, only to have his efforts foiled by a snowstorm. Of course it all ends well and the final illustration in these books is always a treat. Gorgeous watercolour style illustrations – a visual treat.
The Tomten and the Fox – Astrid Lindgren
Bear Stays Up for Christmas – Karma Wilson
Tales from Christmas Wood – Suzy Senior – this book is made up of several short chapters telling about different animal characters in Christmas Wood. The illustrations are just wonderful and the stories are sweet and simple. All the different stories and characters come together in the final chapter when the animals discover a Nativity scene inside a barn and celebrate Christmas together. Lovely!
Little Duck’s First Christmas – Dawn Richards
Christmas in the Big Woods – Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Nutcracker – Gaby Goldsack
The Christmas Eve tree – Delia Huddy – set in London, a little crooked tree remains unsold on Christmas Eve. A young homeless boy asks if he can have it and sets it up in a cardboard box near the arches where the homeless spend the night. He buys candles for it and the tree and the homeless folk celebrate Christmas together with singing and lots of laughter and people gather round on their way back home from shopping or work. The pictures are very evocative of London life. After a while, the tree wilts and is taken away by a road sweeper, only to be secretly planted in a quiet corner of a park where the tree grows to be tall and strong. Heartwarming story.
Fun stories that my children like about when things don’t turn out as expected at Christmas:
Santa’s Littlest Helper Travels the World – Anu Stohner
Christmas in Exeter Street – Diana Hendry – not my favourite pictures, but very funny and very English! A large family home soon fills up with relatives, friends, neighbours and some very unexpected visitors. After all the beds and sofas are occupied, the others find all sorts of unusual places to sleep; the bath, dresser shelves and the mantelpiece to mention a few! They all spend a very jolly Christmas together. A really quirky, fun book. My children love it! 🙂
Russell’s Christmas Magic – Rob Scotton
Simple picture books of the First Christmas:
The First Christmas – Gaby Goldsack
The Nativity – May Eliot
Room for a Little One – Martin Waddell – this is a story about the stable in which Jesus was born from the point of view of the ox. Before Mary and Joseph arrive, the ox invites an old dog, a cat and a mouse in to shelter from the cold. They all welcome each other, appreciating their need to shelter from the cold and to feel safe. When the donkey arrives with Mary and Joseph, they too are invited to take shelter in the stable, before their little one enters the world. Realistic style pictures accompany this short story.
We read this on Christmas Eve night:
The Night Before Christmas – Clement C Moore
Maria’s Kleiner Esel und die Flucht nach Ägypten – Gunhild Sehlin
Behold the Star – J B Phillips
Tumtum and Nutmeg’s Christmas Adventure – Emily Bearn
I think we have a few more that I haven’t mentioned. Will update if I find any more, but as you can imagine, life is full of activity right now!
I hope you are enjoying cosy reading sessions with your own children.