10 Picture Books for the Holidays
10 Holiday Stories For Your Family To Enjoy
by Western MA mom, Lisa Woods
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
The story of Mr. Willowby’s Christmas tree has been around since 1963 and is one of my all-time favorite books. The story follows Mr. Willowby’s tree as it arrives at his vast mansion. There is a portion of the tree that must be cut since it won’t fit. That piece is put out for the trash, but it ends up being passed from one family to the next. Each family takes a portion of the tree to decorate their home with, all the way down to a tiny mouse. My kids loved watching the tree go to each family and seeing how it looked decorated in their home. I loved that each family only took what they needed, and there was plenty left over for more families to enjoy. It also brings home the message that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera
Sophie’s great aunt is very unusual and mysterious. She lives in a hotel, keeps her Christmas tree up all year and always serves Christmas cookies. Auntie Claus always takes a business trip right around the holidays, and this year Sophie stows away to find out where she goes. What she finds out along the way is more fantastical than she could have imagined, and she learns a great lesson, it is better to give than receive. Auntie Claus is part of a three-book series about Sophie and her family.
Christmas Farm by Mary Lyn Ray (Author), Barry Root (Illustrator)
Christmas Farm is a lovely tale celebrating the friendship between two neighbors. Wilma decides to start a Christmas tree farm and enlists the help of her curious 5-year-old neighbor, Parker. Year after year, Wilma and Parker nurture their trees, keeping count of how many they plant, how many were lost to the weather or animals, and how many grow to become beautiful Christmas trees. I had no idea how a Christmas tree farm worked until I read this book. It takes years of work and careful planning to make sure you end up with a good crop every year. I love the beautiful illustrations and the wonderfully kind friendship the two of them have.
The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes by Linda Glaser and Nancy Cote
Racheal and her family are planning their holiday dinner. When it looks like more people are coming than prepared for, they decide to ask an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Greenburg, for some extra potatoes as well as invite her to dinner. Mrs. Greenburg happily gives them potatoes but is very proud and declines their invitations, as she always does. Racheal decides to try again and goes to talk to her. After many attempts at trying to convince her to come for dinner, something unexpected happens. I love this kind of story; it includes thoughtfulness, kindness, and looking out for others, especially the elderly.
Little Robins Christmas by Jan Fearnley
Little Robins Christmas is a beautiful story about sharing and how good it feels to help others. Little Robin is an adorable little bird who is preparing for winter by washing his warm vests. He starts with seven vests, but as the days go by, he comes across several poor cold animals, and he gives them all away. After he gives away the last one, he finds himself cold and alone, but then Santa arrives! Because he was so kind, Santa’s lets him ride in his sleigh, and he gets a special gift.
The Elves and the Shoemaker by Jacob Grimm and Jim Lamarche
The Elves and the Shoemaker is a newer version of a lovely story about generosity. Two elves help a poor shoemaker by crafting shoes during the night. Every morning beautiful shoes are left on the table for him to sell. Eventually, the shoemaker and wife see the elves and notice they are wearing rags, so they make them some clothes and shoes. When the elves see this, they are overjoyed. They quickly get dressed and dance right out the door. I love how the shoemaker and his wife want to help the elves and that they aren’t bothered when the elves never return. They are thankful for their good fortune, and they don’t try to trap the elves into staying in an attempt to become richer.
Captain Sky Blue by Richard Egielski
On Christmas morning, a boy named Jack opens what turns out to be his favorite toy, Captain Sky Blue, and his plane. Captain Sky Blue is told through the boy’s vivid imagination, so it seems like the toy is a real character. They play together every day until his plane is struck by lightning during a storm. Captain Sky Blue has to parachute out and lands in the ocean. After a perilous journey to find Jack, Sky Blue finds himself back at Santa’s factory. After helping Santa steer his sleigh during a storm, he is delivered back to his friend. — There are a lot of phrases that pilots use in this book. My son loved learning what each one meant from the first page of the book and then applying all the jargon to his toys.
The Legend of Mistletoe and the Kittens by Joe Troiamno (Author), Lydia Halverson (illustrator)
This heartwarming story about an unusual kitten is one of our favorites. A kitten is born with unusual coloring (red and green), and all the other kittens are afraid of him and run away. He grows up hiding from everyone and is used to being chased away. One Christmas eve he finds three young kittens lost in a snow storm. He saves them and himself by bringing them to a cabin and hiding among the presents under the tree. The Legend of Mistletoe and the Kittens is an excellent story about being different, being kind, and the power of love.
How Winston Delivered Christmas by Alex T. Smith
How Winston Delivered Christmas is a wonderfully illustrated advent calendar book with a story about a mouse named Winston. He finds someone’s letter to Santa, and he decides he must deliver it so the child will not be disappointed on Christmas morning. This book is written in twenty-four-and-a-half chapters so that you can read one a day right up till Christmas. Each chapter has an activity to do along with the story. How Winston Delivered Christmas is an enjoyable, interactive book that can be brought out year after year.
Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever by Matt Tavares
Dashier is an origin story for one of Santa’s reindeer. Dasher is a young reindeer who longs for a different life; she’s part of a traveling circus and spends all day in the hot sun. Her mother always told her stories about a magical place where there is snow, and the air is clear and cold. She longs to find this place and one day seizes an opportunity to run away. On her journey, she meets Santa who is having trouble with his sleigh. With Dasher’s help, they solve Santa’s problem, and Dasher finds the life for which she was looking. The illustrations in this book are beautiful and help draw you into the story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa spent a decade traveling the world for her work before realizing her dream was to create art and write. She now lives in Chicopee, MA with her husband and two children where she homeschooled her kids for the early grades. Lisa has a real passion for books, especially children’s literature, collecting children’s books since the age of fifteen. She is now working on her first children’s book.