Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmas Book Fest

Ok, ok, ok, geez, it seems like I talk about Christmas books every year. Can't really help it, though. It's not something that gets done and taken care of just once. The kids get older. The collection grows. Comprehension increases, as does selection, each year.

My friend told me about a tradition she read on some blogs, and wants to start this year - that of collecting 25 great children's Christmas books, wrapping them, and opening one each night with her kids, like a book advent. I followed the links she mentioned, which then led to hours and hours of browsing on Amazon, of course.

So a few months ago I started to collect - I bought one or two a week. Sometimes hardcover, sometimes used, sometimes soft. I got many from used sellers and many on 4-for-3 deals. Reading reviews helped me narrow my list. Including the books I already had, I do have twenty-five or more, but I'm not doing the one-a-day thing. As I looked through the stacks critically, I pulled out the books I think are too long or mature for my kids. At 2 and 4 this year they can sit through and understand more complex stories than last year, but we still have to keep the pages turning at a steady clip. So that leaves us with about 15, which I probably will wrap and open one each night until they are all open; then we can spend the rest of the month enjoying and re-reading them.

So here's the list so far. I have a "Still To Get" list that I'll work on over the year, or the next few years since some are for older readers. And as always, I welcome and encourage you to share your favorite Christmas reads so we can all spend more money at Amazon.

My Very Favorites for Kids age 2-6
The Christmas Alphabet by Robert Sabuda (eventually we will probably have to get every Christmas book by him - gorgeous - but we're starting with this one - small pop-ups mean less likely to rip, and each is behind a "door" - fun for kids to open!)
Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (kind of perfectly up my alley - baking and vocabulary combined in a children's book!)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess
The Little Shepherd Girl by Juliann Henry (I love, love, love this book, especially as a mother of daughters)
Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson (one of the few on my list you can get with the 4-for-3 promo as a hardback)
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
Night Tree by Eve Bunting (after reading this book, my sister in Vermont actually adopted this story as a family Christmas tradition - one of the best I've ever heard)
Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell

Others for age 2-6 that We Will Read This Year
B is for Bethlehem: A Christmas Alphabet Board Book by Bob Harman
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson (another one that is 4-for-3 eligible in hardback)
Fancy Nancy Spendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Connor (yes, I had to go there)
Humphrey's First Christmas by Carol Heyer
Jingle Bells by Isa Trapani
The Legend of the Poinsetta by Tomie dePaola
The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne
Santa's Favorite Story by Hisako Aoki
Snowmen at Christmas by Carolyn Buehner
A Wish to be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe
Who Is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate

My Other Personal Favs from our Collection
Father and Son: A Nativity Story by Geraldine McCaughrean
The Twelve Terrors of Christmas by John Updike and Edward Gorey (I just can't resist those cynical cold pricklies amongst all the sappy warm fuzzies of the other books!)

Good Ones I'm Saving Until They're a Little Older
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Tooney by Susan Wojciechowski
Christmas Oranges by Linda Bethers
The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown
The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston

"Still To Get"
A Christmas Bell for Anya by Christ Stewart
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl Buck
A Christmas Dress for Ellen by Thomas S. Monson
The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck
Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel by Shirley Climo
The Donkey's Dream by Barbar Berger
The Light of Christmas by Richard Paul Evans
The Miracle of the Wooden Shoes by Deborah Pace Rowley
Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect by Dick Schneider


Anonymous said...

We do the book advent. I go to the bookstores in January and pick up a few on clearance every year to build up our collection over years.

I also rely on our local library. They have several hundred Christmas picture books, so it is pretty easy to find age--appropriate books. It is also a good way to test-run books, because there are LOTS of stinkers out there. I just note the ones I really like and keep an eye out for them at clearance time or used. (N/B--I wrap the library books in one specific paper so I can steer kids towards unwrapping those earlier in the month, before their due dates, and then the latter part of the month is our books, for the most part).

At this point, (kids ages 1-5), I also wrap up a few Christmas DVDs (usually open about one a week). So some nights, we sit down and enjoy some Christmas carols or Charlie Brown. My all-time favorite Christmas cartoon for kids is Disney's Small One, which focuses on the actual nativity story through an unexpected perspective.

Lindsay said...

Have you read "Olive the Other Reindeer" by Vivian Walsh? It's pretty cute, and I think your girls would like it.

A couple that I loved growing up are "Christmas" by Peter Spier. It's a wordless picture book. Another wordless one that I absolutely love is "The Snowman" by Raymond Briggs. The movie that is based on it is just as, if not more, beautiful. Also, for older children, I love love love "The Story of Holly and Ivy" by Rumer Godden. Definitely a girly book, but so sweet.

And why oh why is "The Polar Express" not on your list? Or "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"? Classics, Kari. Classics. :)

Anonymous said...

You come up with the best stuff. Seriously..thank you!! - Erin Hoadley Riutort

kat said...

i love the sabuda books. we have 'the 12 days of christmas' and it's a huge hit - although i wonder how long until it gets destroyed.

Bellablogger said...

As an ex teacher, one of my favorite Christmas books is "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson. It is a chapter book so you won't use it until your children are in upper elementary or middle school. The first time I read it I laughed until I cried.

Nells-Bells said...

i have never heard of the book advent. this sounds awesome! i will definitely have to try year....

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