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I have quite the collection of children’s books and one of the largest categories within this collection are my Christmas books. I love Christmas books! I have strict criteria on my Christmas books. This is my personal choice but I tend to stick to religious books. I will only purchase books that stick to the true story of Christmas – about Jesus’ birth. I’ve read a lot so here are my ten favorite Christmas picture books that do so. I love to read these with children as we prepare for and celebrate Christmas!
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This is a very simple repetitive story with animals asking one another “Who is coming to our house?” After lots of animals asking, we see Mary and Joseph arriving at the stable. I like to use this book with my 3s preschool class. Joseph Slate (of Miss Bindergarten fame) did a great job with this book.
This book is exactly what the title says – a basic first nativity book. The pictures are simply drawn with only a few words on each page. This makes it ideal for the youngest of children to help them visually see the story of the first nativity.
Have you heard the legend of the candy cane? It’s a beautiful story of a candy maker who created a special candy to remind children of Jesus at Christmas. There is significance to all parts of this classic candy – and you’ll never look at a candy cane in the same way! If you like this book, I also recommend The Legend of the Christmas Tree.
I don’t know where or when I found this book, but I’m so glad I did! It is a repetitive story told with picture clues so the children can read along with you. It is no longer in print but if you can track down a used copy, do so! My preschoolers love reading this book with me.
This book is a beautiful large board book. It tells the Christmas story straight from the Bible – with a very slight paraphrase. The pictures are realistic and the sturdy board book format makes it perfect for little hands and little children!
This book is a newer one that I have enjoyed using in the classroom. It’s the story of a little mouse, Mortimer, who wants a bigger home than his little hole. He spies a nativity scene and drags the characters out of the way to make room a home for himself. After hearing the Christmas story, he realizes that the nativity is all about – and for – Jesus.
This is another book that I don’t know where or when I discovered it. The story has been told in various formats. I like this version by Moira Butterfield because of the illustrations. The illustrations are pictures of her beautiful fabric creations. Also, it’s one of the few Christmas books that shows Jesus as a little child when the wise men arrive at his house. I’m always glad to find picture books that really and truly follow the Bible!
This is my all-time favorite book by talented writer Max Lucado. It is the story of a little (crippled) lamb, Joshua, who gets left behind when the shepherds take the other sheep to the pasture. Joshua is left behind with his friend the cow, Abigail. Because Joshua is left behind, he is the first to welcome Jesus in the stable. I also like how this book reminds us that “God has a special place for those who feel left out.”
I don’t do Santa books. That’s simply how I was raised. My husband did do Santa, so he and I are still having discussions of whether or not we will do so with our children. However, in the past several years, I have celebrated Saint Nicholas Day (December 6th) with my elementary students. This book is a beautiful and historic retelling of the true story of Saint Nicholas. Whether you talk about Santa or not, this book is very appropriate to use at Christmas.
The final picture book is one that I recommending for children of older ages. I have used it with my third and fourth graders, but it is just as meaningful for adults. This book tells the story of the first Christmas from Mary’s perspective. Mary is looking back and telling a bedtime story to five-year old Jesus (Yeshi) about his birth. It is a longer picture book that I read over several days to my students. I also read it every year as a personal reflection on the Christmas story. Walt Wangerin has a beautiful way with words. The pictures are also stunning! The pictures are so stunning that I actually display this book as part of my Christmas decor.
These are some of my favorite Christmas books to read, and I look forward to reading them with our baby next Christmas – and for many Christmases to come! Do you have any favorite Christmas books to add to this list?