Thematic Reading List: New Christmas Classics
Classic Christmas books like The Christmas Carol, The Polar Express, Elf on a Shelf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas adorn home bookshelves and library book displays throughout December. But have you checked out the newer Christmas titles? We are sharing 12 titles, all published within the last few years, that you may want to add to your treasury of Christmas stories. Maybe they will become a Christmas classic for you and your family. Be sure to use our comment box for your own Christmas book recommendations.
|Santa and the Goodnight Train
By: June Sobel
Illustrated by: Laura Huliska-Beith
Illustrations and easy-to-read, rhyming text welcome riders onto the Goodnight Train as it follows Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve.
|Pick a Pine Tree
By: Patricia Toht
Illustrated by: Jarvis
Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings, putting lights in the windows, and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. This story evokes all the rituals of decorating the tree — digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights.
|Last Stop on the Reindeer Express
By: Maudie Powell-Tuck
Illustrated by: Karl James Mountford
Christmas is coming, but Mia has no time to send the card she made to Grandpa, who lives far away. But when she stumbles across a magical mailbox, Mia finds herself inside the Reindeer Express and is whisked away on an exciting voyage over many exotic lands, reaching Grandpa just in time. Young readers will love opening doors that lead into the next page, peeking through holes into the next scene, and opening the card that Mia made for Grandpa. It’s an interactive holiday story that will be especially appreciated by families that can’t all be together for Christmas.
|The Broken Ornament
Written and Illustrated by: Tony DiTerlizzi
In his attempt to make this the best Christmas ever, Jack accidentally breaks a very old ornament, releasing a tiny fairy who teaches him something about the true Christmas spirit.
|Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever
Written and Illustrated by: Matt Tavares
Dasher is a brave little doe with a wish in her heart. She spends her days with her family under the hot sun in a traveling circus, but she longs for a different life – one in which her hooves tread in soft, cold snow under the glow of the North Star. And one day, when the opportunity arises, Dasher seizes her destiny and takes off in pursuit of the life she wants to live. It’s not too long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a horse-drawn sleigh. And soon, with the help of a powerful wish, Christmas will never be the same.
|La Noche Buena: A Christmas Story
By: Antonio Sacre
Illustrated by: Angela Dominguez
While spending Christmas with her Cuban American grandmother in Miami, Florida, young Nina misses her usual New England holiday but enjoys learning about the foods and other traditions her father knew as a child.
|Miracle on 133rd Street
By: Sonia Manzano
Illustrated by: Margorie Priceman
The day before Christmas everyone in Jose’s neighborhood seems grumpy, including his mother who is homesick for Puerto Rico, but when he and his parents return from the pizzeria where they borrowed an oven to cook their roast, the heavenly aroma reminds those they pass of all they have to celebrate.
By: Lezlie Evans
Illustrated by: Lee Von Chan
Squirrel and Hare are finishing preparations on Christmas Eve when Mouse, seeking a last-minute gift, finds a sick swallow, and by helping her, the friends find the true spirit of Christmas.
|I Got the Christmas Spirit
By: Connie Schofield-Morrison
Illustrated by: Frank Morrison
As she and her mother enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season, a young girl feels the Christmas spirit in every jingle, yum, and ho ho ho.
|If Animals Celebrated Christmas
By: Ann Whitford Paul
Illustrated by: David Walker
A story about what would happen if animals celebrated Christmas like humans do, from a penguin and chick writing letters to Santa to a koala and her parents sharing a holiday cuddle. Perfect for little animal lovers.
|The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
By: Karina Yan Glaser
Told that they will have to move out of their Harlem brownstone just after Christmas, the five Vanderbeeker children, ages four to twelve, decide to change their reclusive landlord’s mind.
|The Girl Who Saved Christmas
By: Matt Haig
Amelia Wishart was the first child ever to receive a Christmas present. It was her Christmas spirit that gave Santa the extra boost of magic he needed to make his first trip around the world. But now Amelia is in trouble. When her mother falls ill, she is sent to the workhouse to toil under cruel Mr. Creeper. For a whole year, Amelia scrubs the floors and eats watery gruel, without a whiff of kindness to keep her going. It’s not long before her hope begins to drain away. Meanwhile, up at the North Pole, magic levels dip dangerously low as Christmas approaches, and Santa knows that something is gravely wrong. With the help of his trusty reindeer, a curious cat, and Charles Dickens, he sets out to find Amelia, the only girl who might be able to save Christmas. But first, Amelia must learn to believe again.