When my kids were really little, I used to pull out our Advent (and Christmas) book collection on the first Sunday of Advent. I kept the books stored to protect them and to emphasize to the kids the movement from Ordinary time to Advent and preparation for the birth of Jesus.
Now that my kids are older, and less likely to damage books, I keep the Advent and Christmas books out year-round in our small home library on the second floor landing. I still find myself drawn to pull out the books to read with the younger kids when the Advent season starts. This year, I’m looking forward to sharing the books again with my last beginning reader.
The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi
One of my children’s favorite traditions at their Catholic school is the visit from St. Nicholas. On or near December 6th, my children and their classmates take off their shoes and leave them outside the classroom. A few jingles in the hallway and candy canes tucked in the shoes mark St. Nicholas’ passing. At home, we leave our shoes out the night before and wake up to gold-covered chocolate coins in the shoes.
The illustrations in Demi’s book bring to life this patron saint of seafarers, children, and prisoners born in Turkey. The tradition of setting out shoes comes from a tale of a poor man with 3 daughters and no money for a dowry. Mysteriously, bags of gold were left for the daughters at various times to help them marry and stay out of slavery.
Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide
Paralleling the Holy Family’s journey across Israel to Jesus’s birthplace in Bethlehem, Jotham makes his own journey to meet the Savior. With 24 chapters, this is the perfect Read-Aloud for First Grade through Tweens. We love to read Jotham’s Journey after lighting the Advent candles in the evening.
Be aware there are some scary and violent parts to the story and the story begins with Jotham running away from his father because he is angry at his father. In the end, the family is re-united.
The Nativity: Six Glorious Pop-Up Scenes by Francesca Crespi
With its lushly illustrated pop-up scenes, this picture book is the perfect book to read as Advent winds down. Since the details are few, use this book as a supplement to reading the story of the Nativity from the Bible.
We Three Kings by Gennady Spirin
Gennady Spirin’s illustrations bring to life one of our favorite Christmas carols. With the chorus being repeated throughout the book, this is a fantastic book to read along with a beginning reader. I like to have my beginning reader read the chorus while I read the verses.
The basis for this Christmas carol written in 1857 is the story in the Gospel of Matthew. No details are given in the New Testament; only the number of gifts and what they are is identified. The names of the 3 kings comes from legends that grew up around the gospel story.
There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve by Pamela Munoz Ryan
As you count down the hours on Christmas Eve, read this book and talk about the differences between then (the birth of Christ) and now. The simple illustrations of the desert town show children the true story of Christmas.
Find More Holiday Books to Treasure with Your Kids
More than 30 amazing bloggers have gotten together to create winter and holiday-themed books lists that your child is sure to love. You can jump from list to list or bookmark this page and come back every week for a new theme to read in the house. Plus, all of these books would make wonderful gifts for the little one in your home.