Though Christmas decorations have looming over us in stores and on shelves for weeks (though it feels like months), the day after Thanksgiving seems to mark the real start of the countdown to Christmas. Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers are out in full force and bright, festive, lights are being hung as we speak. And the kids? They are more than ready to get the Christmas countdown underway.
Below are some of my favorite new children's books to celebrate the season. Whimsical, funny, touching, and beautiful, there's a wonderful selection of fresh holiday books this year, including a delightful novel for middle-grade readers about Santa's dog, Peppermint Bark. Each of these books has something special to offer, and there are some classics in the making among them, stories to return to again and again in the years to come.
How Winston Delivered Christmas by Alex T. Smith
A fun and creative way to count the days, the story of a mouse named Winston who sets off on a journey to deliver a lost letter to Santa takes place over 24 and a half chapters. If they like, kids or families can read a chapter each day, starting on December 1st and ending on Christmas Day, or read it all at once. Each chapter also includes a fun, Christmas themed-activity, such as making paper snowflakes and writing a letter to Santa. With thick paper and stylish illustrations, How Winston Delivered Christmas is a holiday book to keep and share, year after year.
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The Crayons’ Christmas by Drew Daywalt
The crayons are back in a special holiday-themed, interactive, picture book. Duncan and his crayons are getting ready for Christmas and letters start arriving. Beige crayon gets a set of punch-out clothes from his mom and grey crayon sends the crew a Hanukkah card with a dreidel to put together. Each envelope has something special inside for little ones to discover, along with the spirit of the season.
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Teeny Tiny Santa by Rachel Matson
Big things come in small packages with this adorable little board book. A teeny tiny fox dreams of Christmas but worries that he might be too small for Santa's sleigh to reach him. But lo-and-behold, a teeny tiny Santa arrives to deliver a special treat before he flies off again into the moonlit Christmas night. A sweet holiday story illustrated with bright, geometric shape illustrations that's perfect for teeny tiny babies and toddlers.
Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever by Matt Tavares
The author of holiday favorite Red and Lulu has created a brand new heartwarming picture book for the holidays. Dasher is the beautifully illustrated story of how Santa’s team of reindeer came to be, and it all started with one brave little doe. Dasher runs away from the circus and meets Santa, but she misses her family terribly and wishes they were with her. Santa delivers her Christmas wish and soon the whole family is pulling the sleigh together, high above the treetops, in a bright celebration of love and family.
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All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle
The author of Little Blue Truck serves up a delightful winter treat with All You Need is a Snowman. A fun, rhyming, story of a group of children bundled up in the snow, counting up all the snowflakes it takes to build a snowman...or maybe two. This seasonal favorite is now in a board book format, just right for sharing with little ones.
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Little Robin's Christmas by Jan Fearnley
A small brown bird named Little Robin is all set for the cold winter days leading up to Christmas with seven brightly colored knit vests to keep him warm. Each day, as Robin heads outdoors, he comes upon another animal who is cold and has nothing to keep them warm. One-by-one, Little Robin gives his vests to those in need. The night before Christmas, Little Robin gives away his last vest and finds himself cold and alone, lost on a rooftop. Santa comes to the rescue, and rewards this kind and generous little bird with a very special vest that will always keep him warm, and bring warm feelings to all who see him. A picture book to warm your heart.
Santa's Puppy by Catherine Hapka
Little known fact: Santa has a big, fluffy dog named Peppermint Bark, who helps with the reindeer and double-checking Santa's list, but he never gets to ride in the sleigh! When Peppermint Bark decides to stow away, he accidentally gets left behind and ends up in the chimney of a brother and sister who must figure out how to get Santa's pet home before the magic portal to the North Pole closes... A lively holiday story for middle grade readers or a fun family read.
The Great Santa Stakeou by Betsy Bird
Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’s illustrations add an extra element of comedy to Bird’s story about a boy determined to catch Santa at work. Freddie Melcher has spent all year on Operation Santa Selfie, and this delightful picture book takes young readers step-by-step through his elaborate plans. Things don’t go quite as expected but Freddie decides that’s okay—there’s always next year! Perfect for the days leading up to Christmas Eve.
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