The Nadel family- Enjoy reading our everyday adventures!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

15 Favorite Christmas Books

Recently, I saw a post on Pinterest where a blogger posted about her family's 20 favorite Christmas books. It got me thinking, and I decided to post my own list of our 15 favorite Christmas books too. These books are primarily Christian books, that we have gathered in our home. Since Christmas is about Jesus' birthday to us, our books are centered around celebrating the religious side of Christmas. I hope you may find some new reading for a child in your life, young or old!

Here is my list, in no particular order:

A Shepherd's Gift- by Mary Calhoun (ours is paperback) - When a boy named Matthew sets out to find his lost sheep on a quiet evening in Bethlehem, he could not have known that the search would lead him to something so special. In what seems to be an ordinary stable, he finds a young couple with a newborn baby. There, among the dozing animals, Matthew discovers where true gifts come from.

This is the Star- by Joyce Dunbar - This is a repetitive book where each line builds upon the last. What makes this book one of our favorites is the illustrations by Gary Blythe. They are so realistic, they almost look like pictures! I love the illustration of the three kings... you could almost reach out and touch them!

Tale of Three Trees- by Angela Elwell Hunt- This is a book that we read at Easter too! It follows the story of three trees and how they are each a different part of the life of one very special baby/ man...

One Wintry Night- by Ruth Bell Graham - This beautifully written story is about a boy who is caught alone in a sudden snowstorm, and the woman in the cabin where he finds refuge tells him the Christmas story, beginning with creation and concluding with the resurrection. We love the amazing illustrations by Richard Jesse Watson. My parents gave me this book for Christmas before we had children, and I am glad they can read it now too!

The Pine Tree Parable- by Liz Curtis Higgs- A heartwarming tale of a farmer and his family who raise tiny seedlings into Christmas trees and discover the true meaning of Christmas on their pine tree farm one snowy December night.

King of the Stable- by Melody Carlson - The story of Matthew, a young boy taken to live with relatives in Bethlehem, was made to work in the stable and meets a new baby who Matthew discovers will be the King of Kings!

The Crippled Lamb- by Max Lucado - A sweet story for younger kids about Joshua the lamb, who often felt left out, but God has a special plan for his life. Ours is a board book, but the paper edition would be nice. The illustrations by Liz Bonham are beautiful and lifelike.

One Baby Jesus- by Patricia A. Pingry (A new Twelve Days of Christmas) - A twist on the familiar song, filled with delightful watercolors of children and animals in a live nativity. This is a board book for younger children, and we like the focus on Jesus in this new song version!

The Twenty-Four Days before Christmas- by Madeline L'Engle - An Austin family chapter book in which  seven-year-old Vicky Austin is escited for the twenty-four days before Christmas and all that they will hold. A new baby creates a bump in Vicky's plans ... another great family read-aloud!

A Midnight Clear: Selected Family Christmas Stories- by Katherine Paterson- Each Christmas, Katherine Paterson wrote a story for her pastor husband's congregation to illuminate the true meaning of the holiday season. The twelve included here present a vision of hope and peace calling the readers back to that first Christmas over two thousand years ago.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever- by Barbara Robinson- This is a great family read-aloud, with lots of humor and silly situations that are created by a family named the Herdman's, who take over the sunday school Christmas pageant.

B is for Bethlehem-by Isabel Wilner - This book was originally written for second graders to perform, and is now a colorful picture book filled with rhyming couplets for each letter of the alphabet. My favorite page is the last... "Z is for Zeeland and Zurich and Zanzibar. You'll be lighting the candles wherever you are."

The Story of Holly and Ivy- by Rumer Godden/ Pictures by Barbara Cooney - "This is a story about wishing. It also is about a doll and a little girl. It begins with the doll." So begins this lengthy story of Ivy who wishes for a home and a doll, and Holly who is a little doll that wishes for a little girl. The illustrator also authored one of my favorite children's books, Miss Rumphius.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey-by Susan Wojciechowski- Jonathan Toomey is a wood-carver with a cold heart, which changes slowly after being asked to carve a special piece for a widow and her son.

Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift- Max Lucado - With Maker-Day approaching, the Wemmicks and Punchinello try to do something really big for Eli, their Maker. Clumsy Punchinello ends up creating quite a disaster, and the Wemmicks realize what Maker-Day is all about.

I hope you will enjoy these stories which are written to point you to the true reason for the season, JESUS! May you take time to read one of these books with a child that you love this Christmas and enjoy some quiet time remembering Christ and His birth.

Matthew 2:1-3, 7-11

 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi  from the east came to Jerusalem  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

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