New and Old Favourites: Children’s Books for Christmas

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2017 is a year I am keen to see end for obvious reasons. And yet STILL I cannot believe that it is time to start the whole Christmas thing – which is going to be majorly low key in this family this year. If you’ve been reading my blog for a few years now you’ll be aware that I’m not a massive fan of Christmas hype and Christmas trees at the best of times! It’s not that I’m a Christmas scrooge, I just don’t love all the hype and the plastic, and I’ve never understood why we insist on putting terrified toddlers on a strange red guys lap. Okay now I sound like a scrooge! I do like Christmas food and all the catch-ups with friends and family.

We’ve never had a big green tree in this house. Instead we’ve had ones made of books, palm frond thingos (thinking will do that again this year) and recycled card. Every year I ask the girls if they really want a tree and thus far they’ve been totally on board with my version of the tree – much to the horror of some of my friends who believe I really should do the whole LARGE GREEN TREE for the girls (you know who you are!). Anyways. On to books. I’ve added a few new books to our collection this year and we now have an insanely large collection of Christmas books, which I bring out mid November each year and pack away on the 26th December because no one should read Christmas books in March in my opinion. In the past we’ve done the advent book thing which the girls have loved, but this year we’re doing the ‘Christmas book on coffee table thing’ because #lowkey 🙂

To add any of these books to your home, school or library collection simply click and purchase and the free shipping code until the 8th November is SMART. Booktopia has an even more extensive list of Christmas books here.

Dottie is waiting for the Christmas feeling to arrive – that fizzy, excited feeling, where everything is a bit magical. But this year, Dottie, her brother, Jem, and their dog, Shortbread, are staying with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma and Grandpa are trying hard, but Christmas just isn’t the same…

A gorgeous, heart-warming story about misplacing the Christmas spirit, and finding it again. One of my must-haves for this Christmas.

This one for me epitomises everything that Christmas should be about and is just so beautifully Australian. Highly recommended for young readers from three years+ and the grown ups in their life. ‘All I Want for Christmas is Rain’ is about Christmas, the feeling of drought and the joy of giving. Told in verse, the story is of Jane, a young girl who lives on a farm badly affected by drought. She knows there is only one thing to ask for this Christmas…rain. The illustrations are sublime and Cori Brooke and Megan Forward have really just created something beautiful together. This is a must have Christmas book.  I prefer it in hardback (here) but it is now available in softcover (here).

It’s Christmas Eve and Theo – left at home with a babysitter – sees an odd-looking star out of his window and decides to make a wish. He wishes that he had some friends to keep him company. Moments later the Christmas decorations begin to disentangle themselves from the tree behind him, ready to wreak a little havoc …

Written with generous helpings of warmth and humour, this is a story about treasuring the people and values that really matter at this time of year from master storyteller and bestselling children’s author Katherine Rundell. Emily Sutton’s breathtaking illustrations perfectly capture the magic of Christmas in stunning detail. Have you ever wondered where Father Christmas came from? And how he ended up with a factory at the North Pole full of elves to help him make toys? A beautifully illustrated and timeless story about how a toy-maker and his wife became Mother and Father Christmas for children all over the world. Gorgeous silver embossing on the cover makes this a keepsake book.

From the wombat who creates a beautiful tree to the pony who finds a new home, from a bear with a delicious recipe to Santa’s unexpected helper and many more: meet the special animals who feature in these sparkling new stories for young readers, from both established and emerging authors, in a collection of entertaining illustrated tales for young readers, spiced with a touch of Christmas magic.

Edited by Beattie Alvarez, A Christmas Menagerie features original stories by popular authors Gabrielle Wang, Sherryl Clark, Michael Pryor, Janeen Brian and Sophie Masson, as well as several new and emerging writers, and is beautifully illustrated in full colour by David Allan, Kathy Creamer, Fiona McDonald, Ingrid Kallick, and Yvonne Low.

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‘Pig the Elf’  is just so darned funny and it seems that Aaron Blabey just cannot put a foot wrong. I still can’t read it to a class without cracking up and having to stop…and I’ve probably read it 30 times already!

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A very Australian take on the sleigh ride with a decorated trailer, an ice filled esky and a trip to the beach…much more what Australian children experience at Christmas! The CD featuring Jessica Mauboy and Human Nature is also pretty darned good!

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This one will be a favourite in our school library this year as we had Matt Stanton visit us earlier in the year and he was a HUGE hit. Read more about Matt here…and be prepared for LOTS of fart-laughing if you purchase this one.  Pick a pine tree from the lot – slim and tall, or short and squat! Long straight limbs or branches bent… Mmm! Just smell that piney scent!

From Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth creator, Jarvis, and author Patricia Toht, comes a beautiful, irresistible Christmas gift book that all begins with … picking a pine tree! Brimming over with the excitement of being with family at the festive season, a gorgeously rhythmical, read-aloud narrative accompanied by warm, joyful art celebrates all the familiar rituals of decorating the tree – from digging out jam-packed boxes of trimmings, stringing tinsel, to, at last, turning on those twinkly fairy lights.twelve-days-of-christmas

The twelve days of Christmas have never looked so fun! Turn page after page of this innovative picture book based on the classic carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and watch as twelve days of gifts appear through clever peek-through holes on each page! Young children will especially love anticipating all the presents and seeing them arrive as if by magic.
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‘What Do You Wish For?’ has become one of my all-time favourite Christmas books. It’s a Jane Godwin and Anna Walker creation so it was always going to be a winner really. Jane Goodwin

All the children in the street are writing down a special Christmas wish. But what is Ruby’s wish? What does she wish for at Christmas time? Ruby thinks of all the things that make Christmas special …From this much-loved creative partnership comes a sparkling and beautiful story, full of the wonder of Christmas, the magic of wishing, and the timeless dreams of a child.

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Using text from the King James Bible and with illustrations that are enchanting and unexpected, Julie Vivas reveals the human side to Mary’s story, beautifully imagining the Angel Gabriel delivering the news to her, the exhausting journey with Joseph to Bethlehem, and at last the deliverance of the baby Jesus.family-4-copy-400x185

This is one of my favourite Nativity re-tellings – Mary looks EXHAUSTED (of course the poor woman would have been!) and the Angel Gabriel is wearing stomping boots. Winning!christmas-at-grandma-s-beach-housechristmas-at-grandad-s-farm

These two companion books are quintessentially Australian and I adore them both – Claire Saxby (here) and Janine Dawson have captured something magical in both of them.

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It’s Christmas time in Australia, and Reindeer has great fun giving presents to his friends Cat, Dog and Guinea Pig. But even when it’s warm and sunny outside, it’s hard to be far from home and family on Christmas Eve. Luckily, Christmas is a time for exciting surprises, and this year Reindeer might just get one of his very own.mr-darcy-and-the-christmas-pudding

I do so love a Peter Carnavas (here) creation and this one is no exception. Mr Darcy loves Christmas. A roaring fire, falling snow, friends, hot chocolate. But what happens when Mr Collins drops by unexpectedly?
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I’ve read this one with every class from Years Two to Six in the last week and I think I could read it many many more times yet before I need a break! For starters it is by Jane Jolly and Robert Ingpen…perfect combination of creators.  Main character,  Kathleen eagerly awaits the Christmas Tea and Sugar train. Will she meet Father Christmas? Will she receive a Christmas gift from him? A delightful, heart-warming story from the National Library of Australia that will intrigue, captivate and introduce readers to a slice of the past. Wonderful sensitive illustrations, including a beautiful double fold-out image showing the shops inside all the carriages.

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Read ‘The Perfect Present’ and hang the perfect Christmas stocking with this beautiful Billie B Brown Christmas pack. Perfect for little ones just starting out on their chapter book journey.

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It’s a Chrismtas ‘EJ’ title – if you have a little one who is reading Billie B Brown with confidence, these are your next step up in my opinion. More on EJ books here.

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PudStar is desperate to read this one – have to wait till December My Dear – those are the Christmas book reading rules in this house!!!

Can I trust you? OK then. I’m Ella, and this is my diary.

Ella can’t wait to have Christmas at Moonlight Gardens Caravan Park, right on the beach, with her best friend Zoe and her ‘SUMMER BEST FRIENDS FOREVER’ Jessi and Ana.

But when Ella’s SBFFs go missing, she’s dragged off to Krafty Kids Klass (bleuchhh!) and a HORRIFICALLY HORRIBLE thing happens, turning her perfect holiday into CHAOS!lulu-bell-and-the-christmas-elf

One of Pud’s favourites from last year! The Bell family are preparing for the best Christmas ever. There are presents to wrap, yummy food to cook and costumes to sew.

But Lulu’s friends Olivia and Jo are too sad to sing in the school concert because their little cat Bonnie is missing. Can Lulu cheer them up and help find Bonnie before Christmas Eve? Maybe a special letter to Santa will help.santa-claus-is-coming-to-town

‘You’d better watch out. You’d better not cry. You’d better not pout. I’m telling you why… Santa Claus is coming to town!’ Sing along to bonus CD recording by Human Nature.

What does Santa get up to after all the presents have been delivered? An adorable Christmas picture book with a cheeky Australian twist.

santa-s-secretThe Christmas presents have all been delivered, but Santa is back on his sleigh.

What is he up to? Where is he going? Quick … hop on board. Let’s find out.

we-re-going-on-a-santa-hunt‘We’re going on a Santa hunt. We’re going to find the jolly one! I can’t wait. Presents for you and me!’ Race with the animals as they try to deliver their letters to Santa before it’s too late! But look out for chugging trains, running reindeer, busy elves and more obstacles in their way! Sing along to the bonus CD by favourite children’s entertainer Jay Laga’aia too!

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A charming and nostalgic Christmas story about a much loved Little Dog who finds his way home for Christmas. Little Dog and Jonathan are best friends. They do everything together. But on Christmas Eve Little Dog finds himself lost and alone in a busy city. How will he find his way home? Can Christmas wishes come true?john-williamson-s-christmas-in-australia

From Australian icon and singer–songwriter, John Williamson, comes this hugely popular family song, brought to life by talented artist, Mitch Vane.
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Love this series of books with their accompanying CDs…it’s on high rotation already!
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Gorgeous GORGEOUS. Have purchased a few of this one as gifts for toddlers.

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Home decor and art and book – I’ve loved this ‘book’ since I was a child and may or may not have stolen my childhood copy of it.
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Likewise…I may or may not have stolen my childhood copy of this. LOVE LOVE LOVE.olivia-helps-with-christmasIt’s Olivia. No more need be said. Perfection in a book.
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For some reason this book makes me all teary every time I read it – it is just SOOOOOOOOOO beautiful.  Oh my GLORY Mem Fox and Kerry Argent you did a good job with this one all those years ago!
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Have purchased this one for some babies that are hopefully going to make their entrance just before Christmas!

If you’re keen to start planning Christmas holiday activities here are some ideas from the last few years!

Christmas Reading Tent

Book Advent Tree

Christmas (scented) playdough

Christmas Story Stones

Christmas Gingerbread

Pud’s DIY Literary Decoration

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The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.

3 COMMENTS

  1. What a great list. What do you wish for? makes me cry and The Christmas wish of Jonathon Toomey by Susan Wijciechowski. I’ve read them both to my classes, the second one over many years, I still can’t do it without tears.

  2. Hi Megan,
    Although you don’t know me from a bar of soap, I’ve enjoyed your blog immensely. I am retiring after 37 years as a teacher-librarian at the end of the year, and want to say a big thank you for all I have gleaned from your blog.
    I cannot ignore the elephant in the room, and have been supporting my oldest and best friend in her grief this year, so I have a vague idea of what you are facing with all the firsts you are experiencing since your beloved Dan died. You have kept him real in your writing, and honoured the fine man he was, and I have tremendous admiration for the way you have shared with your followers, both close and dear friends and then we of cyber-space.
    Your girls will grow to be wise, strong women, of this I have no doubt. Your unique magic will envelop them forever, as will Dan’s.
    A low-key Christmas filled love and family and books to release wonder and tears sounds like just the right type of Christmas to me Megan. Green trees and bauble do not a Christmas make.
    Let yourself be wrapped in the love of family and friends and most importantly be kind to yourself.
    I will continue to read your blog, what would Friday be if I didn’t open your writings?
    Bless you.

  3. I’ve got a handful of Christmas books on my to-read list, but I haven’t gotten to them yet. Has anyone read “The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas”, by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter, or “The Jolly Christmas Postman”, by Allan Ahlberg? Those are the ones I’m looking forward to the most. Most of the Christmas books I’ve read so far have been pretty mediocre at best. I liked the message of “The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll” by Patricia C. McKissack but it was a little bit heavy-handed. “Growing Up with Tamales = Los tamales de Ana” by Gwendolyn Zepeda also wasn’t bad.

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