Thematic Reading List: December Celebrations Around the World
In this issue, we will introduce you to books that represent the many holiday stories, customs and celebrations that are held around the world during December. As you read these books with your children, place a special emphasis on traditions that we share with other countries.
|The Eight Nights of Chanukah
By: Leslea Newman
The wondrous days of Chanukah come to life through the eyes of a young child, whose family gathering grows bigger and bigger as the holiday progresses.
|The Hanukkah Mice
By: Steven Kroll
A family of mice enjoys the doll house and furnishings that Rachel receives as gifts on the eight nights of Hanukkah.
|Eight Winter Nights: a family Hanukkah book
By: Laura Krauss Melmed
Short verses describe symbols, foods, and family fun associated with the festival of Hanukkah. Includes facts about the history and traditions.
|Four Sides, Eight Nights: a new spin on Hanukkah
By: Rebecca Tova Ben-Zvi
A guidebook for Hanukkah, including information about the dreidel, goodies and gelt.
|This First Christmas Night
By: Laura Godwin
The story of the birth of Jesus.
|Voices of Christmas
By: Nikki Grimes
A retelling of the Nativity story, told by various Biblical characters.
|A Child is Born From the Gospel According to St. Luke
By: Schulze, Marc-Alexander
Oil paintings illustrate the Nativity story, as told through the words of the second chapter of the gospel of Luke in the King James Bible, in a holiday book for parents and children to share during the Christmas season.
|How Many Miles to Bethlehem?
By: Kevin Crossley-Holland
Mary and Joseph. An innkeeper. A donkey and an ox. Wandering shepherds, and a lamb. A bright star that says, ‘Follow me.’ Three wise men. A cruel king. A host of angels. And a newborn child who is the light of the world.
|The Gifts of Kwanzaa
By: Synthia Saint James
Introduces the seven principles of Kwanzaa–unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith–and describes how African Americans celebrate the holiday.
|Kwanzaa: why we celebrate it the way we do
By: Martin Hintz
Discusses the origins and symbols of Kwanzaa, the holiday that focuses on African American history, culture, and experiences, and offers suggestions for ways to celebrate this holiday.
|Together for Kwanzaa
By: Juwanda G. Ford
While celebrating Kwanzaa and its many traditions with her parents, Kayla hopes that her big brother Khari will get home from college before the holiday is over.
|Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa
By: L. Washington
L’il Rabbit searches for a gift for his grandmother when she is sick during Kwanzaa, and surprises her with the best gift of all. Includes “The Nguzo Saba – The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa.”
|The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale
Retold By: Aaron Shepard
While selling dozens of cookies on Saint Nicholas Eve, Van Amsterdam is chastised by a woman who insists that a dozen should really be thirteen for generous bakers.
|Baboushka : A Christmas folktale from Russia
By: Scholey, Arthur
An old woman who was too busy to travel with the Wise Men to find the Child now searches endlessly for Him each Christmas season.
|The Legend of The Poinsettia
By: Tomie de Paola
When Lucida is unable to finish her gift for the Baby Jesus in time for the Christmas procession, a miracle enables her to offer the beautiful flower we now call the poinsettia.
|Grandma Lale’s Tamales: a Christmas Story
By: Nasario Garcia
In the Rio Puerco valley of New Mexico, Grandma Lale teaches her grandson how to make her famous Christmas tamales. Includes recipe.
By: Iza Trapani
Presents the words of the familiar Christmas song, plus extra verses and brief descriptions of the Christmas traditions of Mexico, Sweden, the Philippines, Poland, Italy, and Kenya.
By: Joanna Ponto
Discusses the meaning of Christmas, the holiday we know today, gift giving, and a Christmas craft.
Christmas in Germany
By: Jack Manning
Describes the many ways Germans celebrate Christmas, which are similar to those in the United States. This book is part of the Christmas Around the World series, which includes books about Italy, France, and Norway.