You better not pout, I’m telling you why: if you’ve been looking for the best children’s books to help you celebrate Christmas, your search is over! We made the ultimate list of the best-ever Christmas books for kids to help make your holiday season perfect. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and we’ve got the books to help make it even more special and festive!
We’ve combed through the many Christmas books to find you the best of the best—classics and hidden gems. Don’t just take our word for it (or do, because we’ve read, rated, and tested!); we’re sure you’re going to rediscover old favorites and find magical new favorites. Whatever your style, just make sure to not wait until the night before Christmas to get reading—there are just too many good ones to enjoy!
This list has books for children of every age. It automatically shows you the very best out of all the children’s books on the list, but you can filter the list to look just at board books, picture books, or chapter books and find the best in each of those categories. Simply select the type of book you’re looking for, and get ready to feel excited and nostalgic.
Board books are made of cardboard, and as such, are easier for little hands to turn and enjoy without being easily damaged. We recommend board books for ages 0-3.
Picture books are generally recommended for ages 2-6, though every age can—and will—enjoy them!
Chapter books are generally great for ages 8-12, though younger kids who are strong readers can try them out, as well as older teens and adults. These are also fun to read aloud to younger ones as you prepare for the holiday.
No matter what type of Christmas book you’re looking for, you’ll find all the best ones here. From newer titles, like the beautiful board book “All Is Merry and Bright” published in 2018, to favorite reads, like the classic “The Night Before Christmas,” you’re sure to find the best reads to cherish with your family this season.
We wish a “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good . . . “ holiday season full of reading!
1986 Caldecott Medal Winner
A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . .
Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.
For millions of readers worldwide, this mysterious journey to the North Pole has become a beloved classic. In this 30th anniversary edition, the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg is revealed in a never-before-seen fashion, with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout. Includes author’s note, downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson, and golden “All Aboard” ornament.
Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox, the duo behind Llama Destroys the World, take their trademark hijinks up to the North Pole in this laugh-out-loud, heartfelt Christmas-themed picture book. Santa is feeling old, and being in the business of Christmas for centuries is . . . well, it isn’t all milk and cookies. In hopes of regaining some of his pep, Santa asks the spirit of Christmas to give him something for a change: skim off a couple of years and make him younger. But Christmas magic is powerful, and Santa gets more than he wished for. Instead of a fresh new outlook and boundless energy, he needs diapers and a nap–stat. With Christmas only a few days away, the elves rush to teach Santa Baby the basics. But will there be enough time to prepare their new bundle of holiday joy for the job? Funny and spirited, bright and inspiring, and with an unforgettable title, Santa Baby is destined to be a yuletide read families revisit every year.
The Dr. Seuss holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas is now a major motion picture from Illumination Presents – Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch!
Grow your heart three sizes and get in on all of the Grinch excitement with the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas—the ultimate Dr. Seuss Christmas classic that no holiday season is complete without!
“Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot . . . but the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!” Not since “’Twas the night before Christmas” has the beginning of a Christmas tale been so instantly recognizable. This heartwarming story about the effects of the Christmas spirit will grow even the coldest and smallest of hearts. Like mistletoe, candy canes, and caroling, the Grinch is a mainstay of the holidays, and his story is the perfect gift for young and old.
And don’t forget to celebrate Grinch-mas this Christmas season, the annual holiday tradition inspired by How the Grinch Stole Christmas that encourages readers to grow their hearts three sizes by doing good deeds!
PS Who Stole Santa’s Mail? is a lightly illustrated, action-packed, comical Christmas mystery about disappearing mail, an evil elf, and questionable smells that rips along at the speed of a galloping reindeer, proving for once and for all that Christmas and Santa are really worth believing in and that the power of belief can allow you to achieve astounding things, no matter how old you are.
Bestselling author Glenys Nellist tells a Christmas tale of generosity and kindness. It was going to be the best Christmas ever because Little Mole had found the perfect gift for Mama: the biggest, most beautiful mushroom he had ever seen. But on his way home, Little Mole encounters other woodland friends in need. Though it pains him to do so, Little Mole shares pieces of his mushroom with each friend he meets until there’s not much left. Disappointed and anxious about what this means for Christmas, Little Mole wraps what’s left of the mushroom. He fears Christmas is ruined, but ultimately, Little Mole discovers that his gift was bigger than he ever imagined.Little Mole’s Christmas Gift is a companion to Nellist’s spring-themed picture book, Little Mole Finds Hope.
The Nativity - The biblical story of the Nativity is one about faith, love–and a miracle. 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.
Christmas Day in the Morning - From Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning author Pearl S. Buck and acclaimed artist Mark Buehner comes a heartwarming story that illustrates the true meaning of Christmas.Rob wants to get his father something special for Christmas this year–something that shows how much he really loves him. But it’s Christmas Eve, and he doesn’t have much money to spend. What could he possibly get? Suddenly, Rob thinks of the best gift of all…The acclaimed author of nearly a hundred books for children and adults, Pearl S. Buck captures the spirit of Christmas in this elegant, heartening story about a boy’s gift of love. Originally published in 1955, this timeless story with glorious full-color art by Mark Buehner will be a welcome addition to your holiday collection.
The Night Before Christmas - #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long presents a fresh, modern take on the classic Christmas poem about a visit from Santa Claus in this gorgeous new edition. Cozy up with the timeless tale that’s been reimagined for the twenty-first century by acclaimed artist Loren Long. Featuring four different homes that reflect the diverse world we live in, Long’s lush landscapes and charming scenes capture the wonder and magic of Christmas. This gorgeous, modern edition of The Night Before Christmas will delight readers old and new and is a must-have for every family library. An illustrator’s note is included that gives further context to Long’s approach for retelling this classic.
Snowmen at Night shared with us the magical, slip-sliding adventures of snowmen after dark . . . but have you ever wondered what snowmen do for Christmas? Well, now’s your chance to find out! The snowmen are back, and this time they’re celebrating Christmas—the snowman way! This snappy and entertaining companion to the New York Times bestseller Snowmen at Night depicts all the best parts of the holiday, replete with icy treats and a snowman Kris Kringle. Told in the same bouncy verse as the original, Snowmen at Christmas is perfect for a snowy evening read-aloud.
A timely rendition of the nativity follows Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus as they travel in a strange land, hoping to find refuge in the kindness of strangers. $1 from the sale of each print book sold until October 2017 will go to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Everyone knows the story of how Jesus was humbly born in a manger when was no room at the inn. But here is a lyrical depiction of what came next: the new family’s travels through the desert, fleeing Herod’s soldiers in order to find a safe place to welcome their son into the world. A refreshing look at the classic Christmas story that’s never been more relevant, Refuge asks readers to consider the modern day implications of being forced to flee your home country.
Santa has a problem. This kid? Harold? Santa doesn’t think he’s real. He WANTS to believe in Harold–after all, Harold is one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Getting Harold’s letters, eating the cookies he leaves out, feeding his carrots to the reindeer… what would Christmas be without that? But Santa’s just not sure. Some of his friends are telling him they think Harold’s not real. And the Harold that sat on his knee last Christmas looked AWFULLY different. Santa comes up with a plan to find out once and for all if Harold really exists… with hilarious consequences.
Award-winning author Sally Gardner delivers a whimsical tale about the daughter of a mermaid and an ice cream maker, a mysterious talking tiger, and a challenge as big as the moon.
From a magical world of well-dressed animals, talking toads, and bossy princesses comes a timeless story about Mr. Tiger and his troupe of acrobats, and Betsy K. Glory, the daughter of a mermaid and an ice cream maker. Together they must figure out how to turn the moon blue, appease a grumpy giant, and make the best-tasting and rarest ice cream in the world–Gongalong Berry Ice Cream. Told with beautiful one-color illustrations throughout, this modern fairy tale teaches us that happiness is sometimes big enough to solve even the toughest problems.
When a leak ruins the sacristy wall in his father’s church, Jonathan Jefferson Weeks thinks Christmas Eve service will be ruined. Luckily he and his father find a beautiful tapestry, perfect for covering the damaged wall and giving the church a festive look! But then, an old Jewish woman recognizes the beautiful cloth. Her discovery leads to a real miracle on Christmas Eve.
Nutcracker - “A classic, new and complete. One of the ten best illustrated children’s books of the year.” — New York Times Book Review The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share. Maurice Sendak designed brilliant sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Christmas production of Nutcracker and created even more magnificent pictures especially for this book. He joined with the eminent translator Ralph Manheim to produce this illustrated edition of Hoffmann’s wonderful tale, destined to become a classic for all ages. The world of Nutcracker is a world of pleasures. Maurice Sendak’s art illuminates the delights of Hoffmann’s story in this rich and tantalizing treasure.
The Nutcracker : A Pop-Up Book for Christmas - Explore the world of the Nutcracker through five spectacular pop-up scenes full of lift-the-flap surprises. Children can open the pop-up presents, watch the midnight battle between the mice and the toy soldiers (with the tallest pop-up Christmas tree youve ever seen) then join Clara on her sleigh ride to the Land of Sweets. Sue Scullards astonishingly detailed illustration, combined with Nick Denchfield`s miraculous pop-up scenes, make this the most magical NUTCRACKER ever.
Great Joy - It is just before Christmas when an organ grinder and monkey appear on the street outside Frances’s apartment. When it’s quiet she can hear their music, and when she looks out her window at midnight, she sees them sleeping outside. Finally the day of the Christmas pageant arrives, but when it’s Frances’s turn to speak, all she can think about is the organ grinder’s sad eyes—until a door opens just in time, and she finds the perfect words to share. With this luminous tale, Kate DiCamillo pairs with Bagram Ibatoulline to offer a timeless holiday gift.
The Legend of the Poinsettia - In Mexico, the poinsettia is called flor de la Nochebuenao flower of the Holy Night. At Christmastime, the flower blooms and flourishes, the quite exquisite red stars lighting up the countryside. This Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl’s unselfish gift to the Christ Child. Beloved Newbery honor-winning author and Caldecott honor-winning illustrator Tomie dePaola has embraced the legend using his own special feeling for Christmas. His glorious paintings capture not only the brilliant colors of Mexico and its art, but also the excitement of the children preparing for Christmas and the hope of Lucida, who comes to see what makes a gift truly beautiful.
Sing out, my soul, the wonder . . .
Mary’s baby has arrived, and she can’t contain her joy! As Joseph sleeps, she examines her newborn’s tiny mouth, his wild hair, his little hands. Yet what’s most wondrous is that this child is not just Mary’s own but a gift that God has shared with everyone.
Poetic text by Newbery Medalist Katherine Paterson and striking images by Lisa Aisato reveal the intimacy of that unforgettable night long ago, when the mother of Jesus was the first to welcome him into a world he would change forever.
The Night of His Birth is a Junior Library Guild Selection.
Once upon a mountaintop, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. Each of their dreams come true in an unexpected way in this lovely retelling of an old folk tale. This Lion classic, beloved by young and old, is now retold in simpler text for younger readers.
In her fresh imagining of Clement C. Moore’s timeless classic, acclaimed watercolorist Holly Hobbie introduces an entirely new character to capture the magic and heighten the wonder of this exciting, mysterious time. Her inimitable illustrations glow with warmth and feeling and will transport you to a place where anything can happen.
With breathtaking painterly illustrations, a deeply enchanting story, and a foreword written by celebrated dancer Misty Copeland, this picture book brings The Nutcracker and the Four Realms to life in a brand-new way. As the adventure from the film jumps off of the screen and onto the page, a new generation of readers and fans will be drawn in and enchanted by the holiday spirit, the beauty of dance, and the magic of storytelling.
A deluxe gift edition of the modern Christmas classic, featuring an access code to a printable Christmas party kit, plus downloadable audio read by Academy Award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn!
Auntie Claus is just another eccentric New Yorker—or is she? Young Sophie has often wondered about her unusual great-aunt, Auntie Claus. She lives in penthouse 25C at the Bing Cherry Hotel and is so curioso! After all, Auntie Claus serves Christmas cookies all year long and her tree is always the best-decorated in the city. And then there’s her annual “business trip,” right around the holidays. This year Sophie is determined to get to the bottom of Auntie Claus’s mysterious ways. Put on your mittens and bundle up for an adventure beyond your wildest dreams. Ho, ho, ho!
Wombat Divine - Wombat loves everything about Christmas–especially the Nativity play. He’s wanted to be in it for as long as he can remember. At last he’s old enough to try out. But at the auditions, the first part goes to someone else. So does the next. And the next . . . Will there be a part left for Wombat?
Santa Calls - Three kids venture to the North Pole to help Santa defeat an army of evil elves in this holiday classic from the brilliant mind that brought you The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Art Atchinson Aimesworth—inventor, crime fighters, and all-around whiz kid—journeys north with his sister, Esther, and his pal Spaulding, by special invitation from Santa himself. Why did Santa call them to the North Pole? Art wants to know. But when Esther is taken by the Queen of the Dark Elves, Art must put his questions aside and save his sister. This reissue of William Joyce’s epic Christmas adventure now comes complete with lift-the-flap letters from Santa himself!
Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family’s preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha’s family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won’t be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, “But what can we decorate them with?” Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa’s carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees — but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season. Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.
Spin like a snowflake, swoosh like the wind, and shuffle like a snowman in this interactive board book. The rhyming text and fun instruction will delight both adults and children and chase away any winter blues!
-If someone asked you to paint a snowman, you would probably start with three white circles stacked one upon another. Then you would add black dots for eyes, an orange triangle for a nose, and a black dotted smile. But if Picasso painted a snowman….-
Nicholas Duck loves Christmas, and he is happy to try on the new Santa hat that’s mysteriously delivered to his house. But when his friends see him and immediately launch into their Christmas lists, he doesn’t know what to do . . . until he runs into Santa himself.
A classic picture book celebrating all the joy a Christmas tree can bring.
Christmas is here and Mr. Willowby’s tree has arrived. There’s just one big problem: The tree is too tall for his parlor. He cuts off the top so it will fit, and soon the top of that tree is passed along again and again to bring holiday cheer to all the animals in the forest.
Kids will love watching the tree move from home to home, and families will appreciate the subtle message of conservation and recycling, as the tree top spreads joy to so many of the forest dwellers.
This heartwarming story is the perfect way to start your yuletide season, and a warm addition to your family’s festive holiday traditions.
All Is Merry and Bright - A gorgeous keepsake book that shines with holiday cheer and foil on every spread, All Is Merry and Bright is full of illumination and hope—perfect for the youngest readers in your life
Dasher - From the celebrated creator of Red and Lulu comes the story of a brave little doe who meets Santa and changes Christmas forever. Dasher is an adventurous young reindeer 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 where there is snow beneath her hooves and the North Star above her head. 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 long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a horse-drawn sleigh — a man named Santa. And soon, with the help of a powerful Christmas wish, nothing will be the same.
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale - That cold winter’s night, beneath the star’s light… …a Little One came for the world.
The Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker - It’s Christmas morning, and Santa has left the Berenstain Bears a special gift—a nutcracker! At first the cubs are more interested in their new video game, electronic toy, and Bearbie movie. But when they put the presents away and put their imaginations to use, the fun really starts. Join the Bears as they act out their own version of The Nutcracker!
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle now Sony’s highest grossing film of all time!
Over thirty years ago, Peter and Judy first found the game—Jumanji—with the instructions that once the game is started, it must be finished or it will go on forever—and it was then, with this same wonderment, readers found Jumanji, too. Since its original publication, Jumanji has been honored with many awards, including the Caldecott Medal, and in 1996, the surreal story was adapted to fit the big screen for the first time.
Bells jingle, sleds dash through the snow, trees are topped with sparkling stars, and children everywhere dream of candy canes and presents. But the best gift of all-the most magical gift of the season-is when we spend Christmas with those we love. Once again, this New York Times-bestselling author and artist has created a special, beautiful book that families will want to share year after year. (And readers will want to look for the Spirit of Christmas image that Nancy Tillman has hidden on every page!)
From bestselling author Angela DiTerlizzi comes a lighthearted and sweet Christmas board book perfect for little elves and Santa fans everywhere! I’m seeking a Santa And everyone knows… Your eyes must be bright With red cheeks and red nose Should have a fur hat Wear a warm, woolen suit Bring a big bag For all of the loot The search for Santa is on at the North Pole as elves, reindeer, and more share their Christmas spirit before finding the perfect St. Nick.
Separation and miles cannot keep a determined cardinal from his loved one in this heart-tugging story combining the cheer of Christmas, the magic of New York City, and the real meaning of the holiday season: how important it is to be surrounded by love. Full color.
Illustrated throughout with stunning watercolor nightscapes of snowy winter scenes, Santa’s Book of Names depicts all the warmth and spirit of this special time of year in a story about a young boy who learns to read with Santa’s help. David McPhail’s inspirational holiday story emphasizes the importance of literacy while reminding readers that with patience and practice, you can achieve just about anything.
Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas - Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, Christmas cookies with sprinkles – and who could forget the tree? After all, there is no such thing as too much tinsel. Ooh la la! This year, Nancy is especially excited about decorating the Christmas tree. She bought a brand-new sparkly tree topper with her own money and has been waiting for Christmas to come. But when things don’t turn out the way Nancy planned, will Christmas still be splendiferous? In this merriest of stories from bestselling duo Jane O’Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser, Nanyc proves once again that a little fancying up can go a long, festive way!
A Christmas Carol - Geronimo Stilton retells famouse classic stories we know and love!Geronimo retells the classic tale of the old cranky mouse, Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge has no Christmas spirit, that is until he is visited by 3 ghosts on the night of Christmas Eve.
Deck the Halls, We're Off the Walls! - With more than 12 million books sold, the My Weird School series really gets kids reading!It’s Christmas, and you know what that means! Santa Claus is coming to town! Or at least to the local mall. But what happens when kid rapper Cray-Z gives a Christmas concert at the same mall and all his fans go bananas? One thing’s for sure–if A.J. and the gang from Ella Mentry School want to save the day, they will need a Christmas miracle.Bestselling author Dan Gutman brings his kid-friendly sense of humor to this special series of after-school, holiday-themed chapter books featuring hilarious stories and thirty-two pages of games, puzzles, and more. This is one weird Christmas special you won’t want to miss!
Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher - In a snow covered village, while children all sleep, the Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher, lands with a leap! All the sprinkles he snitches, it’s his Christmas fun, but without sprinkles the baking cannot be done! The villagers panic, but says Little Nat, “I’ll track down the Snitcher wherever he’s at!” Will Nat find the Snitcher? Will the Snitcher relent? Will the cookies be baked? Will the Snitcher repent? Will Nat lose the trail? We he fall through the ice? If Nat finds the Snitcher, will the Snitcher be nice? These questions are answered for all to enjoy!
Amy comes up with the perfect Christmas present for Ms. Sullivan in the ninth book of the Critter Club series. It’s holiday time in Santa Vista, and Amy is especially excited for Christmas. Her dad and soon-to-be stepmom and stepsister are visiting, plus, there are some adorable guinea pigs at the Critter Club. But amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations, Amy notices that Ms. Sullivan seems a little lonely. Though Ms. Sullivan assures Amy that she will have a lovely holiday with her dog Rufus, Amy begins to wonder if there’s something she can do to cheer up Ms. Sullivan. As Christmas Eve nears, the Critter Club girls still have not found families to adopt the guinea pigs. But then, in a Christmas miracle, each guinea pig gets a home. And come Christmas Day, Amy has devised a great plan to give Ms. Sullivan some cheer–and some company–on Christmas! With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, The Critter Club chapter books are perfect for beginning readers!
Zack wants to go back to Earth for a white Christmas–but it turns out a green Christmas is just as cool! Christmas is just a few days away and Zack Nelson can’t wait to get back to Earth and spend it with his relatives in Vermont. He’s looking forward to sledding and having a white Christmas! But when a cosmic storm hits Nebulon, the Nelsons have to cancel their travel plans and spend Christmas on their new home planet. Zack is distraught….until the storm hits. What are those green flakes falling from the sky? Could they be…snow? A white Christmas would have been nice, but maybe a green one is even better! With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Galaxy Zack chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.
Ivy, Holly, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones all have one Christmas wish. Ivy, an orphan, wishes for a real home and sets out in search of the grandmother she’s sure she can find. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child to bring her to life. And the Joneses wish more than anything for a son or daughter to share their holiday. Can all three wishes come true? This festive tale is perfectly complemented by beloved Barbara Cooney’s luminous illustrations, filled with the warm glow of the Christmas spirit.
From award-winning author Mitali Perkins and illustrator Sara Palacios comes Between Us and Abuela, a timely debut picture book about love overcoming the border fences between Mexico and the United States. It’s almost time for Christmas, and Maria is traveling with her mother and younger brother, Juan, to visit their grandmother on the border of California and Mexico. For the few minutes they can share together along the fence, Maria and her brother plan to exchange stories and Christmas gifts with the grandmother they haven’t seen in years. But when Juan’s gift is too big to fit through the slats in the fence, Maria has a brilliant idea. She makes it into a kite that soars over the top of the iron bars. Here is a heartwarming tale of multi-cultural families, and the miracle of love.
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