Some of Our Favorite Picture and Board Books for Christmas

I clearly remember the excitement as a kid of my mom pulling out the Christmas decorations and our collection of Christmas books.  I looked through those books even as a teenager and have such special memories of them.  I am lucky enough to have those books now, plus be adding to them with wonderful reads my daughters and I have come across.  It’s absolutely a wonderful time of year and the stories that we read can add such rich, beautiful layers of memory and magic.

I’ve thanked the publishers who gave us some of these copies and the links are affiliate.  Thank you so much for using them or shopping small!

  • Maudie Powell Tuck’s and Karl James Mountford’s Last Stop on the Reindeer Express
    • A library find we stumbled upon and absolutely love. Die-cut, with lifting flaps, it’s such a beauty.  The story follows a girl trying to get a letter to her grandfather through a surprisingly magical route.  Love this one and hope to see it in more people’s hands.
  • Patricia Toht’s and Jarvis’s Pick a Pine Tree
    • This is a modern classic, for sure.  I love how this one embodies so much of the joy of picking out and decorating your tree.
  • Jan Brett’s Christmas Trolls
    • An all-time favorite of mine from an all-time favorite writer and illustrator (who is very lovely in person, I’m happy to report).  I’m very into the aesthetic of a Swedish Christmas and I think this book and my American Girl doll Kirsten are likely culprits.  The details in these illustrations make me so happy and the story, about learning to give, is very well told.
  • Mary Chalmer’s The Christmas Story
    • This one is sadly out of print, but you can still find copies.  I find this one so sweet and quirky with some Japanese Chirri & Chirra vibes of a little girl and animals decorating their Christmas tree.
  • Lisa Swerling’s and Ralph Lazar’s My Christmas Wish For You
    • Thank you, Chronicle!  This book is chockablock of all the best parts of Christmas, like candlelit windows and rosy cheeks and wonderful smells of baking.  It warms my heart every time we read it with sentiments like, “Friends joined together in goodwill and song, a welcome to others…the sense you belong” and the idea of all the joys of the season.
  • Connie Schofield-Morrison’s and Frank Morrison’s I Got the Christmas Spirit
    • This one just shines with happiness. A real feel-good gem.
  • James Lord Pierpont’s and Nicola Slater’s Jingle Bells: A Musical Instrument Song Book
    • Thank you, Candlewick!  I will fully admit that I used to not understand why someone would want a book with noise.  I now fully understand.  Our three year old flips through this book over and over and over again, happily singing along each time, and I have already handed it to her many times when I need to get something done.  She seemingly can’t get enough of it and our baby is very pleased to be a part of it whenever she’s around.  I definitely recommend this for a car ride or for moments when you want your child engrossed in something for a while.  It’s also just super cute.
  • Sherri Duskey Rinker’s and AG Ford’s Construction Site: Merry and Bright
    • Thank you, Chronicle! This beloved series always uses rhyme and meter in a way that make the books a real pleasure to read out loud.  I love that this one includes flaps and the message of the magic of being together and our toddler enjoys trying to read it along with us and will happily flip through it again and again.
  • Alice Schertle’s Little Blue Truck’s Christmas
    • Anything with lights in it is a big hit, right?  Both of our kids look at the Christmas tree on the last page of this one again and again.  If you love Little Blue (who doesn’t?), definitely add this one to the collection.
  • Clement C. Moore’s and P.J. Lynch’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
    • Thank you, Candlewick!  There are obviously hundreds of editions of this classic and this is an excellent one. The illustrations are richly atmospheric and almost moody. I haven’t seen many books in this style and I find it really beautiful.  One to pore over, for sure.
  • Margaret Wild’s Thank You, Santa
    • I have such distinct memories about this story, about a girl who continues to write letters to Santa throughout the year and I love how it encourages kids to think about Santa’s life beyond the delivery of toys and how to think beyond just the receiving of toys.
  • Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express
    • If you don’t already have this classic, do remedy that right away.
  • Holly Hobby’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas
    • Toot and Puddle are the cutest, right?  This one makes me smile.
  • Karma Wilson’s and Jane Chapman’s Bear Stays Up for Christmas
    • We really like the Bear series and this one is just as wonderful as the rest.
  • Ingela P. Arrhenius’ and Nosy Crow’s Where’s the Polar Bear?
    • Thank you, Candlewick! If you have a baby, you know flaps are a hit from the start and continue to be.  You also know that those can quickly break off, even with the most careful of kids.  I love that these are felt flaps and the pictures are so darn cute, plus there’s a mirror on the last page and, again, you all know a baby loves to look at themself for sure…and we don’t blame them.
  • Caralyn and Mark Buehner’s Snowmen at Christmas
    • Snowmen at Night is a household favorite, so when we saw this Christmas version we immediately purchased it.  Such a fun one.
  • Yolanda T. Marshall’s and Subi Bosa’s A Piece of Black Cake for Santa
    • Follow Femi and her sweet family through all the cozy fun Christmas traditions.  The black cake? A Caribbean tradition.
  • Jan Brett’s Wild Christmas Reindeer
    • Teeka is in charge of getting the reindeer ready for Christmas Eve this year and at first she cannot get it done.  This is a story that illustrates the idea of catching more flies with honey, but my favorite parts were always the detailed elf workshops on every page and a final page of Teeka sleeping in her loft that I used to obsess over as a kid.
  • Susan Wojciechowski’s and P.J. Lynch’s The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
    • I still remember receiving this one as a kid and being blown away by it.  It’s for slightly older kids and tells the story of a grumpy woodcarver whose life is changed when a widow and her child order a nativity scene from him.  Heartwarming and maybe even a bit of a tear-jerker for the adults.
  • Martin Handford’s Where’s Waldo? Santa Spotlight Search
    • Thank you, Candlewick! Our daughter loves these books with the spotlight wands and is so excited every time she gets to use it.  I think these books are so clever because it combines the classic Waldo that I think we all have so much fun with and the spotlight, plus there are ways that you can play with it that work for such a wide variety of ages.  I wouldn’t think of Waldo as a necessary Christmas book, but now I would definitely recommend making it a part of your collection because it’s so fun to snuggle and search together by the tree.
  • Lezlie Evans’ and Yee Von Chan’s Finding Christmas
    • I don’t like when selflessness goes perhaps too far (think The Giving Tree or the Marches not saving any of their food for themselves), but I think it works really well in this story and the illustrations are precious, plus it’s always nice to have conversations about giving this time of year in particular.

A Few Additional New Releases (Great Gifts!)

  • David Atherton’s and Rachel Stubbs’ Bake, Make, and Learn to Cook: Fun and Healthy Recipes for Young Cooks
    • Thank you, Candlewick!  When I found out that a winner of the Great British Bake Off, David Atherton, and a favorite illustrator, Rachel Stubbs, were working on a children’s cookbook, I was so excited.  It’s such a cozy charmer.  We are eagerly making plans to work through many of the recipes in this book and I think this would be such a special present, particularly paired with some kitchen tools for your kiddo.
  • Atinuke’s and Mouni Feddag’s Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country
    • Thank you, Candlewick! This book is amazing.  It’s full of fantastic fun facts and the kind of book you can spend so much time poring over again and again.  Pair with a globe and help foster curiosity.
  • Atinuke’s and Angela Brooksbank’s Baby, Sleepy Baby
    • Thank you, Candlewick! I love a book that helps everyone feel extra sleepy at bedtime and this one is so sweet and tender with images that will make you feel brimming with love.
  • Sherri Duskey Rinker’s and AG Ford’s Construction Site: Road Crew, Coming Through
    • Thank you, Chronicle!  I think this is my favorite in the series.  It not only has the usual charm of the other books, but it made me really think about all that goes into the making of a road and led to such interesting conversations with our daughter.  Pair with some toy vehicles!
  • Sam McBratney’s and Anite Jeram’s To the Moon and Back and Guess How Much I Love You and Will You Be My Friend? Slipcase
    • Thank you, Candlewick!  A classic for a reason.  This is a great gift for any new parents and I especially like that it comes together in this slipcase.  Pair it with a sweet rabbit stuffed animal or rattle or burp cloth!
  • Leda Schubert’s and Paul Meisel’s Dogs Love Cars
    • Thank you, Candlewick! Such a joyful read.  This book goes through all the things that dogs love in a way that’s sure to make you smile.  This would be such a cute gift if you do presents for your dog or paired with a stuffed animal for your kid.
  • Leah H. Rogers’ and Barry Root’s The Barn
    • Thank you, Candlewick! This one feels timeless and gentle and would be so lovely paired with some wooden toy barn animals.
  • Sam Usher’s Wild
    • Thank you,  Candlewick! These books are delightful and this one is no exception.  Pair it with some story cards so that your child can use their imagination and learn about storytelling.

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