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Fresh and Festive:
Brand-New Kids’ Books to Celebrate the Christmas Season

by Denise Schipani

Image credit: enjoynz, DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

With the holiday season comes opportunities for families to enjoy more time — and books — together. For those who celebrate on December 25, the days leading up to Christmas are an ideal time to share inspirational stories featuring themes of love, tradition, and the meaning of the holiday. This year has seen a slew of fresh-as-the-fallen-snow additions to an already rich oeuvre that we just couldn’t resist. (Not unlike the way we keep eyeing that shiny, beribboned, book-shaped present waiting for us under the tree…)

From lovely read-alouds for the youngest kids to fun and festive middle grade options, these brand-new and freshly packaged Christmas stories are the perfect way to enjoy the holiday season.

  • For middle grade readers:

  • Christmas Stories

    by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Ji-Hyuk Kim

    Among the best parts of the Little House books, featuring the pioneering Ingalls family, are the descriptions of holiday celebrations. In this book — not new, but freshly illustrated for this edition — the stories of Pa whittling toys for his girls from wood and playing his fiddle to entertain the family in their log home in the Big Woods of Wisconsin are adapted for younger readers. The book, which includes games and activities, makes a great gift for a budding Laura fan.

  • The Girl Who Saved Christmas

    by Matt Haig, illustrated by Chris Mould

    Got a fan of Roald Dahl on your hands? Want to introduce your young reader to Dickens but not quite sure how? Put this on your to-buy list. The girl in the story is Amelia, the first child ever to have received a Christmas present. She is — or was, before family misfortune landed her in a Dickensian workhouse — the very nexus of the holiday spirit. When things go wrong, that spirit starts to fade the world over. Can it be salvaged?

  • A Christmas for Bear

    by Bonnie Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

    For an illustrated Christmas story your big kids will love, look no further than A Christmas for Bear. The interplay between persnickety Bear and holiday-happy Mouse is wry, smart, and ultimately heartwarming. As the two tango over differing ideas of holiday traditions, the common theme that emerges is one of friendship, affection, and the value of being together.

  • Weird But True Christmas

    by National Geographic Kids

    Filled with fabulous, fun, and festive facts and figures, this gift book should be high on the list for the kid who loves to regale everyone with offbeat-but-true tidbits. For example, you can make fake snow out of seaweed.

  • Nutcracked

    by Susan Adrian

    Ballet-obsessed Georgie has dreamed of dancing Clara in the Nutcracker forever. And when that dream finally comes true that one holiday season, well, it literally does become a dream. As in, every time she dances, she enters a fantastical dream world. Which is great until things go awry… The enchanting story is a blend of magic and realism, including a behind-the-scenes look at a ballet company, and an exploration of typical middle-school angst.

Are there any other Christmas-inspired books you’re looking forward to reading as a family? Let us know in the comments below!

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