The Kid Approved, Most Wanted Books for Christmas

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Is it just me, or as a teacher do you feel obligated to give books as gifts, for EVERY occasion? Yes. OK, I'm glad I'm not alone. Even if you are not a teacher, books are the gift that keeps on giving. By presenting a child with a book, you are helping to share not only a story, but hopefully develop a family experience and memory.

In my family, for Christmas, we have started the tradition of giving something we want, something we need, something to wear, and something to READ. I hope this list of books will help you select a title to share with the little ones in your life. I should add that these books are not just great gifts for the kiddos in your family. They would make great additions to your classroom library. You could have a 12 days of Christmas Book Celebration by adding one new title to your classroom library each day leading up to your Holiday Break.
My students helped me pull this list of Holiday/Winter themed books together. Some of the books are their go to favorites, some were at the top of their wish list from the Scholastic Book Club flyers, and others are books that I just could not deny having a place on this list. 
I'll Love You Forever by Owen Hart
I have a very hard time passing up a book about Polar Bears (it is my school mascot). But, beyond that, this book is perfect for the child who has your heart forever and always. The Polar Bear reassures Cub that no matter what changes throughout the seasons, the love they have for each other will always stay the same. This book is currently in a Scholastic Book Club flyer. (Ages 2-5)

This is a New Release (released November 14)! If this book is anything like the first Hoot and Peep book, it will not disappoint. It is described as a story about sibling owls experiencing the first snowfall. When waiting for the snow to fall, Peep does not have patience like her older brother. However, Hoot knows that the snow is worth waiting for. This would be the perfect book to share with siblings. (Ages 3-5)

Maple and Willow's Christmas Tree by Lori Nichols
Here is another book about siblings! There is also a small collection of Maple and Willow stories, so these books may be great gifts throughout the year. In this story, Maple and Willow set out to find their first REAL Christmas Tree. They are so excited, until it is time to decorate the tree. When Maple gets close to the tree, she has an allergic reaction and the tree has to go outside. In typical sibling fashion, the girls have a falling out. But the story does have a happy ending, so don't worry. This book is currently in a Scholastic Book Club flyer. (Age 3-5)

The Mitten by Jan Brett
The book that needs no introduction! The Mitten is a classic winter tale, and loved by so many. Don't forget to share your favorite stories with the little ones in your life. My son loves this story, and it is one I shared with his pre-school class. Before reading to his class, I made felt board pieces with clipart images and transfer paper. Then I gifted his teacher the felt board pieces and a copy of the book. Boy was she thankful. This book is currently in a Scholastic Book Club flyer. (Age 3-7)

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
As a Caldecott Award winning book, it is no surprise the illustrations in this text are simply stunning. Here is another classic winter tale to share. This is the story of a father and his daughter who go "owling" and together enjoy the simple activity of a special night together. This book is currently in a Scholastic Book Club flyer. (Age 3-7)

The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert
This is the book to get for the child you are trying to restore "the magic" in. I remember being in first grade when "that kid" told me there was no Santa. I was a puddle of mess on the floor when I came home. My mom went through a very elaborate plan to get me to believe again. If only there was this book, it probably would have saved her a lot of time and scheming with my grandparents, aunts and uncles (bless my mother)! In this story, the little Nordic girl, Anja, wishes to be one of Santa's elves. You experience her journey and her encounters with Arctic animals along the way. (Age 3-7)

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Beuhner
These will be the "Frosty the Snowman" for the current generation of young believers. The young boy in the story wonders why his snowmen look droopy, so he imagines a night of fun and excitement for them. The rhyming story is great for the pre-school or young school aged child. The Buehner's have written more Snowmen books that will surely keep your kiddos laughing and enjoying the holiday spirit (Snowmen at Christmas, Snowmen at Play, Snowmen at Work, Snowmen All Year). This book is currently in a Scholastic Book Club flyer. (Age 4-7)

Immi's Gift by Karin Littlewood
This is a sweet story of an Inuit girl, Immi. When Immi goes ice fishing, hoping to catch even just one fish, she finds herself "catching" special treasures day after day. The Arctic animals are amazed with her finds, and come each day to share stories and befriend the young girl. But eventually, Immi's igloo starts to melt and it is time for her to move on. Before going, she drops a special treasure into her fishing hole, hoping that someone on the other end will find it. (Age 4-7)

'Twas Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
A classic Christmas story we are all familiar with... that shares Latino tradition. In this story your reader can follow a family through their night of celebrations. Spanish words are perfectly placed throughout this story, and it makes for a great tale you will want to read again and again. This book is currently in a Scholastic Book Club flyer. (Age 4-7)

Hanukkah Bear by Eric Kimmel
Eric Kimmel, has recreated his famous story of The Hanukkah Guest into a more kid friendly version. Bubba Brayna is known for making the best potato latkes, but she is nearly blind. So it is quite understandable when she mistakes a bear for her rabbi. She tries to take his coat, and attributes the bear's growls as a blessing over the Hanukkah candles. This is a funny story to be enjoyed by all. (Age 4-7)

The Christmas Truck by J.B. Blankenship
I was very excited to come across this book because it shares a beautiful story about what the Holidays are truly all about, selflessness and family. As a family, (Dad, Papa, and their son - yes, there are two dads) sets out to to celebrate their own family tradition, things don't go quite as planned. So, they make a new plan to help out someone they have never met, and save Christmas for them. This book is the perfect blend of a great message and a little humor.  (Age 4-8)

Mooseltoe byMargie Palatini
This is another story that is good for a laugh. Moose wants Christmas to be perfect, but in all of his preparations, he forgets to get a Christmas tree. As a result, he allows his family to decorate him by hanging decorations from his antlers and his moosetache. This book is currently in a Scholastic Book Club flyer. (Age 5-7)

Here is another Caldecott Award winning book, so you know you could buy this book based on the pictures alone. It is also another title written by Eric Kimmel, who seems to really understand the slightly twisted-traditional Hanukkah stories that are perfect for kids. However, that is not all this book has to offer. Each year, holiday-hating goblins come to ruin Hanukkah by breaking dreidels, throwing latkes, and ruining the menorah. But this year, Hershel (a traveler) comes to town and devises a plan to break the spell and save Hanukkah forever. This is a great story that parallels the ancient Hanukkah story, with a warm and humorous twist. (Age 5-8)

Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright
The laughs just keep coming with these great titles. Sneezy is a snowman with a cold. He makes several attempts to warm up, but we all know what happens when snow gets warm... Thankfully he has the help of three children (and two cardinals) who rebuild him and attempt to make him comfortable. (Age 6-8)

Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou first read this poem at the White House tree lighting ceremony in 2005. In this story, a family comes together with their diverse community to celebrate the promise of peace during the holidays. The illustrations in this book are just beautiful! If you are looking to add this book to your classroom library, you may find that this book is more on the religious side, which I know is OK for some, but not for all. Use your judgement about what is best for your class. (Age 6-10)

I told you I could not resist a book about Polar Bears, and my students beg for any Magic Tree House story. In this story, Jack and Annie are sent to the Arctic to solve the final riddle to become master librarians. They encounter cracking ice, a seal hunter and a polar bear, but will they solve the riddle to make it home? 
AND...if one Magic Tree House story isn't enough, the Fact Tracker companion text is a must. Many of my students love non-fiction and these fact trackers are a great way to motivate them to read. If using them in the classroom, they could serve as kid friendly research texts. (Ages 7-10)

Magic Tree House: Merlin Missions by Mary Pope Osborne
As the Magic Tree House series celebrates 25 years, they have started to reorganize the series. The "new" Merlin Mission texts are geared for more experienced readers. In this first book, Christmas in Camelot, Jack and Annie receive an invitation to spend Christmas Eve in Camelot. However, their invitation turns into an adventure to save Camelot. 
AND...there are a few other Merlin Mission titles for your older readers that would look great wrapped up with a bow this holiday season. Some of these books have a companion Fact Tracker too, so your non-fiction fanatic can enjoy learning more details about Jack and Annie's adventures. (Age 7-10)

As the children in our life get older, it can be hard to motivate them to read. Many of my boys had this book at the top of top of their wish list. So, if you have a reluctant reader, or an older elementary boy you are shopping for, this book is sure to keep the stressful holidays fun and full of laughter! This book is currently in a Scholastic Book Club flyer. (Age 7-11)

Ellray Jakes is a series about an African-American boy struggling to fit in. In this holiday book, Ellray is faced with the struggle of being proud of his community and being the center of attention. He is challenged with a few dares from his friend, but then attention is turned on him for all the wrong reasons. This book is currently in a Scholastic Book Club flyer. (Age 8-10)

Weird but True Christmas by National Geographic Kids
Here is another title for an older more reluctant reader, or for the fact finder in your life. Even Christmas has some weird but true "secrets" that could make family time around the fireplace a little more interesting. This book is on the small side,  so it could even make a great stocking stuffer. This book is currently in a Scholastic Book Club flyer. (Age 8-12)
Compiling this list, with the help of my students, has been a lot of fun! In the process, I have added many new titles to my classroom and home libraries. I have also gotten some early Christmas shopping done for my niece and some of our close friends' children. I hope they like the stories as much as I do, but more importantly, I hope they enjoy reading together. If you have more holiday titles that you love, please share them in the comments!
Before you go, here is a FREE printable holiday book wish list. You can have your students fill out the wish list while looking at the Book Club flyers. Or, your children could write in their most wished for titles while searching online or at your local book store. Either way it will help to encourage the gift of reading this holiday season.
Happy Holidays!


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