Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Christmas Countdown, Picture-Book Style!

I’ll have a newborn this holiday season so I’m taking it easy on myself and our advent calendar each morning will just tell the kids where to look for that day’s “new” book, starting December 1st. Between library books (which I have requested and am HOPIING we will get in time, hence there being more than 24 just in case!) and the books we own, it should be a piece of cake to read a new spiritually-focused Christmas book each day in December. (Plus lots of secular favorites thrown in for fun!)

I will be tackling library books first because I like to get holiday books read and returned very quickly so more people get a chance to enjoy them throughout the season, so these are not in any special order, but here ya go…

1. Mary Engelbreit’s A Night of Great Joy… the story of the first Christmas, except the illustrations are precious and make it a group of small children putting on a Christmas pageant. I think this one is my kids’ favorite first-Christmas book and there is no extra story to it so the illustrations are clearly the reason =]
2. Christmas is Here… This is the first Christmas story, told via words from the King James Bible, and the illustrations show a family enjoying a live nativity performance.
3. Itsy Bitsy Christmas… this one is new to my family this year, a sweet Max Lucado story about two little mice discovering through Jesus’ birth that sometimes even the small are special and important.
4. The Legend of the Candy Cane… This is a cute story that turns the candy cane into a spiritual symbol, and we’ll definitely be enjoying candy canes when we read it! I found some great junk & dye-free candy canes last Christmas and I’m planning to get the same ones this year.
5. The Crippled Lamb… Another Max Lucado story and such a sweet one, about a little lamb who isn’t able to go with the others because of his crippled leg, but is therefore present when Jesus is born.
6. The Christmas Donkey… A sweet little Golden Book about that first Christmas from the perspective of the donkey Mary rode to the stable.
7. The Christmas Cat … Also about the first Christmas from the perspective of the animals- in this case, a stable cat baby Jesus was extra fond of.
8. What is Christmas?... I like that this simple rhyming book brings all of the fun secular traditions in Christmas back around to the ultimate reminder that Jesus is still the most important part of Christmas.
9. God Gave Us Christmas … One of my absolute favorites. I love all of Lisa Tawn Bergren’s books and this one is another sweet explanation of the importance of Christmas mixed in with beautiful illustrations of Little Cub and her family in their beautiful arctic home.
10.Who Built the Stable? … My kids loved this fun rhyming book last year so I will definitely be borrowing it again this year.
11. Christmas from Heaven… We haven’t actually read this one before but I’m looking forward to trying out something new!
12. Room for a Little One… Again, the first Christmas from the perspective of the animals in the stable. Everybody liked this one last year so it’ll be fun to read it again.
13. Wombat Divine … Wombat is having trouble figuring out what part he should play in the Christmas play… a simple reminder of the story of the first Christmas.
14. Mortimer’s Christmas Manger… We haven’t read this one yet but it sounds great!
15. On This Special Night… We haven’t read this one either…
16. A Christmas Goodnight…or this one.
17. Listen to the Silent Night… or this one.
18. Miracle in a Shoe Box… This one is a little long for the girls but A enjoyed it last year. It’s a precious story about Operation Christmas Child boxes, which our family is especially fond of.
19. M is for Manger... This is a cute alphabet book with a different aspect of the first Christmas for each letter.
20. B is for Bethlehem… Same premise as the book above, but slightly different! =]
21. The Berenstain Bears and the Christmas Angel… My kids are big fans of the Berenstain Bears books so this one of course had to make the list!
22. Penny’s Christmas Jar Miracle… This is another one we haven’t read yet but it sounds great and I’ve heard great things about it!
23. The Best Christmas Gift EVER!... This is a very simple rhyming book in which some favorite Veggietales characters remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.
24. The Donkey’s Christmas Song… Another fictionalized first Christmas tale from the perspective of the animals. The kids loved this one last year but Ryan grumbled about it and said “This is quite a stretch” ha ha.
25. Goodnight Manger… A cutesy rhyming board book saying goodnight to each of the wild and crazy animals present at that first Christmas.
26. Christmas in the Barn… Another one that’s new-to-us and sounds great! Plus, Margaret Wise Brown’s books are almost always a hit.
27. Baby’s First Christmas… This one was really fun last year, comparing a baby’s first Christmas to Jesus’ first Christmas… definitely seems pretty fitting for our own family this year!
28. The Tale of the Three Trees… This is not technically a Christmas book but since one tree is made into the manger, I like to read it in December. I also think it makes for a truly excellent reminder that Christmas lead to Easter, and just why both are so important.
29. There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve… Eve Bunting is another whose books rarely disappoint. We all read this one earlier this month and it was very short and sweet (Ryan’s favorite kind of children’s book) with nice prose (my favorite kind) and great illustrations of baby Jesus that very much captivated our baby-on-the-brain kiddos.

And just for fun, a few of our secular favorites (and new picks, too!):  Mary Engelbreit’s Nutcracker // Llama Llama Jingle Bells // The Night Before Christmas // Christmas Cookies // A Homemade Together Christmas // Christmas in the Big Woods // The Spirit of Christmas
Any children’s Christmas favorites you recommend?

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