Picture Books for Advent and Christmas

Here are some of our favorite books to read together during the month of December.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, pictures by P.J. Lynch

(my absolute favorite for this time of year – also listen to the audio narration by James Earl Jones)

Poppa’s Itchy Christmas by Angela Shelf Medearis, pictures by John Ward

(A heart-warming, funny story about a boy who learns that things are not always what they seem)

A Baby Born in Bethlehem by Martha Whitmore Hickman, pictures by Giuliano Ferri

(Not easy to find, but a good retelling of the biblical Christmas account)

Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne

(The first verse of the well-known carol accompanied with vibrant illustrations)

Christmas for Ten by Cathryn Falwell

(A counting book that shows a family preparing for the Christmas holiday together. I love the pages with the family playing Christmas music together)

The Nutcracker in Harlem by T. E. McMorrow, pictures by James Ransome

(A retelling of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Ballet, set in Harlem and featuring an African-American family)

The Baker’s Dozen: A Colonial American Tale by Heather Forest, pictures by Susan Gaber

(A folktale showing the origin of the “baker’s dozen”, reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast)

Mi Feliz Navidad by Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley

(A short, bilingual book showing a joyful collection of animals preparing for a Christmas celebration)

Mim’s Christmas Jam by Andrea Davis Pinkney, pictures by Brian Pinkney

(A story set in 1915. A father works to build a New York subway and misses out on his family’s Christmas celebration. His wife sends him some of her traditional jam. The story hows the values of family cohesion and generosity)

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Hurd, pictures by Loren Long

(The book shows four different families preparing for Christmas morning

– an engaging version of the classic poem by Hurd)

The Mitten by Jan Brett

(A Norwegian tale with beautiful illustrations that show foreshadowing throughout)

The Night Tree by Eve Bunting, pictures by Ted Rand

(Shows a family enjoying their yearly tradition of adorning a forest tree with edible ornaments for the forest creatures)

Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Grimes, pictures by Kadir Nelson

(A collection of poems both heartfelt and light-hearted, accompanied by luminous illustrations)

The Night of His Birth by Katherine Paterson, pictures by Lisa Aisato

(A beautiful rendering of Mary’s experience of welcoming Christ as a baby)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, retold by Adam McKeown, pictures by Gerald Kelley

(A simple retelling of the classical Christmas play)

The Great Spruce by John Duvall, pictures by Rebecca Gibbon

(The story of a tree-loving boy who transplants a towering tree in a city square for Christmas

– the illustrations remind me of a blend of the styles of Virginia Lee Burton and Christian Robinson)

Follow the Star by Rachel W. N. Brown, pictures by Giuliano Ferri

(The story of a young camel who accompanies the wise men on their journey towards the star in Bethlehem. The storyline is touching and the illustrations are evocative. Look for it at used bookstores.)

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