Children's Christmas Books
Chris Van Allsburg (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Theme: Christmas
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is a wonderful classic children's book for the Christmas holiday. On Christmas Eve, a boy, narrator of the story, boards the Polar Express, a mysterious train that is headed for the North Pole. He finds the Polar Express is full of children who are having fun singing Christmas carols and eating candies. The children finally arrive at the North Pole, where Christmas toys are made. The boy is picked by Santa to receive the first gift of Christmas, and he asks for a silver bell from Santa's sleigh. Our narrator gets his wish and the Polar Express takes him home, but his bell is nowhere to be seen. To his great joy, the boy finds his lost bell under the tree on Christmas morning. Chris Van Allsburg's Caldecott Medal award-winning illustrations are soothing and enchanting; it gives a heart-warming feel to the Christmas tale. The Polar Express is a good picture book for children in kindergarten through third grade.
Mary Pope Osborne, Sal Murdocca (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Fantasy Books; Book Theme: Christmas
Christmas in Camelot by Mary Pope Osborne, the 29th book of the popular Magic Tree House series, is a fast-paced and easy-to-read early chapter book that can serve as a good introduction to the fantasy genre. Jack and Annie, the two characters familiar to the readers of the Magic Tree House series, receive an invitation to spend Christmas in Camelot. After they get there, Morgan le Fay tells the children that there are no Christmas celebrations this year, as Camelot is under the evil spell of Dark Wizard Mordred. The Christmas Knight arrives to inform King Arthur that he needs to send people to the Otherworld to bring back the Water of Memory and Imagination to restore joy to Camelot. Jack and Annie embark on a magical quest that includes three rhymes for clues, a white stag, winged dancers, and fire-breathing Keepers of the Cauldron. Christmas in Camelot appeals to children in second grade and third grade.
Charles Dickens (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction; Book Theme: Christmas
"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens is a great classic Christmas story that has delighted readers for generations. The main character of this holiday classic is Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold-hearted and mean-spirited old man. Scrooge is such a stingy miser that he demands his clerk come in early the next day after reluctantly granting him Christmas Day off. When his nephew Fred comes to say Merry Christmas and invite him to a Christmas dinner, Scrooge replies with "Bah Humbug". He has absolutely no Christmas spirit, and even scares away a boy who sings him a Christmas carol. After returning to his apartment on Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley, then by three Christmas spirits. The Ghost of Christmas Past leads Scrooge to revisit those Christmas days during his childhood and during his apprenticeship with Mr. Fezziwig. The Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to the homes of his clerk Bob Crotchets and his nephew where they are having jolly Christmas celebrations. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows him what a bleak future is in for him if he does not change his ways. By Christmas morning, Scrooge has undergone a dramatic change. He becomes kind, generous and eager to share his Christmas spirit with everyone, including Mr. Crotchets' disabled son Tiny Tim. Charles Dickens' Scrooge is one of the most memorable characters in English literature. "A Christmas Carol" appeals to teens and adults.
Lucy Cousins (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Themes: Animals, Christmas
"Maisy's Snowy Christmas Eve" is another delightful Maisy book by Lucy Cousins. It's snowing hard on Christmas Eve. Maisy the mouse invites her friends to come to her house for a Christmas celebration. Cyril comes on snowshoes, Charley and Tallulah by sled. Eddie the elephant walks and get stuck in the snow. Maisy and her friends go out to search for the elephant and pull him out of the snow. Then they sing Christmas carols and have a great Christmas Eve together. The bright illustrations by Lucy Cousins appeal to toddlers and preschoolers.
Barbara Robinson (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Humorous Stories; Book Theme: Christmas
"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson, one of the ALA notable Children's Books of 1971-75, is a humorous Christmas story. The six Herdman children, Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys, are the worst kids in town. They bully and they steal. The main characters never go to church until they are mistakenly told that the minister gives out treats in Sunday school. They have never heard the Christmas nativity story before. But when these six kids find out about the annual church Christmas pageant, they bully other children out of volunteering for lead roles in the play. The pageant rehearsals do not go smoothly. The pageant director has to explain the whole Christmas story and the Herdmans have a lot of questions. These children are very interested in the Christmas story; they even go to the library to read about King Herod. All the town people come out to see what the Herdmans will do in the Christmas pageant. They are surprised to find that it is the best Christmas pageant they have ever had. Children in third grade through 6th grade will enjoy this funny and engaging chapter book.