Inside: Discover some of the best Christmas and Advent books for kids! This Christmas book list has reviews for board books, picture books, and family read-louds that focus on Christmas wishes, sharing with others, the story of Jesus’ birth, Advent, family fun, and lots more. Karis kicks it off with a family favorite: A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree.
This time of year, wishes are all around us! A wish list for Santa, opportunities to “grant a wish” for a deserving family or cause, a wish to be together, or (for those of us in South Texas), a wish for cooler weather!
My gentlemen often share their “wishes” with me. They hold tight to dreams of new technology or impossible trips–because when we wish for something, it can be whatever our heart desires! Though their wishes are rarely grounded in reality, a small change in focus can fulfill even the wild wishes in their little hearts.
A Christmas Book for Kids: All About Wishes
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Here to help us exhausted parents trying desperately to ramp up our holiday cheer and teach this important lesson to our wish-filled children is the precious book, A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree, by Colleen Monroe.
A Wish to be a Christmas Tree
by Colleen Monroe and Michael Glenn Monroe
Find it: Bookshop (board book) | Amazon (hardcover picture book)
The main character of this book is a tree who desperately longs to be a Christmas tree. But no one ever picked her, and eventually, the tree grew too big for anyone’s home. The creatures of the woods rally around this heartbroken tree, showing the tree that she is important in their forest home, affirming her place among them, and secretly decorating her to become the Christmas tree of the forest.
this Special Christmas Book for Kids can Cultivate Joy in the Moment
I LOVE this gem of a book because the tree doesn’t get her wish: no one takes the tree home for a Christmas celebration. Instead, the tree is showered in kindness by the animals around her. She learns to see her value in the forest. And she finds joy right where she is rather than continually longing for something else.
If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know I’m a sucker for happy endings. I rarely recommend a book without one. I sometimes refuse to even finish a movie if I perceive that it’s not going to wrap up with a big happy bow. But this book stands out to me from so many other holiday classics. While it doesn’t have the happy ending I might cheer for, it beautifully reframes wishes, showing that joy and goodness can be found right where you are. It celebrates that wishes can be granted in unusual and meaningful ways if we open our eyes to new possibilities and leave a little wiggle room on our wish lists.
Surprising Answers to Christmas Wishes
As for my gentlemen, we can’t take a trip to explore the solar system, as Man of Joy wished for. But we CAN visit a planetarium! Topping the wish list for Man of Passion is a robot that does our chores for us. As amazing as that sounds, it’s not something Santa can deliver. BUT we can practice kindness, doing each other’s chores every once in a while! Sometimes the wishes our heart longs for are already a part of us, if we can only change the way we see the world around us.
More Christmas Books for Kids
I’ve teamed up with my fellow blog authors, Valerie Ellis, Kim Fernando, and Sarah Musselman to bring you more Christmas books kids will love. (And thanks to Karey Klemm for pointing us to some of these great reads!) With picture books about Jesus, families, and more, there is sure to be something on this list to brighten your Christmas reading time.
More Christmas Books about Wishing and Sharing
The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree
by David Rubel and Jim LaMarche
The fictional Christmas book shares the story of Henry, a little boy whose only Christmas wish during the Great Depression is a warm home. Henry’s wish is granted through the generosity of others, which is inspired by his own family’s generosity and hard work. You’ll love the magical way Henry gives back in the end and how the Rockefeller Center Tree is woven in throughout the narrative.
The back matter includes the history of the Rockefeller Center Tree and information about Habitat for Humanity, a home-building nonprofit organization that benefits from the tree’s abundant lumber after Christmas.
This book is truly heart warming. Even my sometimes-hard-to-impress tween son leaned forward with interest during several parts of the story and back matter. (Don’t tell him I noticed.) -VE
A Homemade Together Christmas
by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
When a pig family decides they will make Christmas gifts for each other this year, little Luca is at a loss. He writes down lots of ideas, but none of them pan out. Luca is pretty frustrated, but after his mom reminds him there is no better Christmas gift than spending time together, Luca knows just what to do. He decorates a jar and fills it with all the ideas he wrote down. All of these projects that he could not complete on his own become the family’s “Together To-Dos.” Each day, they can draw an idea from the jar and spend quality time together.
(A few years ago, this funny and meaningful Christmas book inspired my older son to make a jar filled with some “Together To-Dos”–so sweet!) -VE
Looking for a homespun Christmas tradition to remind kids they’re loved? Check out this article!
by Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline
Young Frances notices a homeless man and his pet monkey living on the street below her mid-century urban apartment. While her mother and neighbors walk by, Frances extends an invitation to experience the true meaning of Christmas. -KF
by Marsha Diane Arnold and Matthew Cordell
This nearly wordless book is both hilarious and packed with meaning. When a bear loses its scarf, it is found by several woodland creatures. Each one uses the scarf for their own purposes until–you guessed it–each one loses it.
Eventually, the scarf is ruined. But as the animals come together to remake the cozy item, they find much more than a just scarf. -VE
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
by Susan Wojciechowski and P.J. Lynch
Find it: Amazon
Jonathan Toomey is a reclusive woodworker known for being unkind. Until a widow and her young son arrive in town and ask him to recreate a beloved nativity set. As he painstakingly carves the nativity scene, we learn Mr. Toomey’s backstory and watch the miracle of a second chance unfold. -KF
Christmas Books for Kids about the Story of Jesus
Each of the following Christmas children’s books about Jesus has a unique way of sharing the Christmas story with kids.
Good News! It’s Christmas!
by Glenys Nellist and Lizzie Walkley
Each book in this series makes me want to celebrate, and Good News! It’s Christmas! is no exception. This joyous Christmas book for kids celebrates each part of the Christmas story with rhyming exclamations and gorgeous illustrations. -VE
Happy Birthday, Christmas Child!
by Laura Sassi and Gabi Murphy
I love how this rhyming Christmas counting book tells the story of Jesus’ birth and includes the numbers organically as part of the story. The numbers are written as numerals, spelled out, and portrayed in the adorable illustrations! For even more fun, you can go to the book’s website to get free resources for a birthday party for Jesus. To learn more about the book and author Laura Sassi, check out our three-author interview party!
Kids will love counting through the story of Christmas, and the ending is just the sweetest: “As Mary counts ten tiny toes, all feel the love that overflows.” What a good reason to playfully tickle your little ones toes as you celebrate the joy of Jesus! -VE
M is for Manger
by Crystal Bowman, Teri McKinley, and Claire Keay
Perfect for babies and toddlers, this rhyming board book tells the Christmas story in both alphabetical AND chronological order. Each page also shares a Bible verse and the sweetest illustrations. -VE
Mouse’s Christmas Gift
by Mindy Baker and Dow Phumiruk
This Christmas picture book brings the message of Christmas home in a new way. Mouse wants to save the Christmas Eve service from being cancelled. And his small, faithful act leads to a cascade of caring and sharing.
My son loved how mouse changed Christmas for the better…and how he did it all without any applause or attention. This and many other beautiful moments make great launch points for after-reading chats. -VE
Song of the Stars
by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Alison Jay
Imagine nature’s response when God came to Earth. Not just the animals in the stable, but the animals around the world. This poetic book does just that, providing a beautiful, creative introduction to the Prince of Peace. -VE
Silent Noisy Night
by Jill Roman Lord and Kelly Breemer
This fun Christmas board book asks kids to imagine that the stable where Jesus was born may not have been silent. (Gasp.) It may have been filled with noisy animals all giving him praise!
At the end (my favorite part), the book asks how we praise Jesus. Is it with neighs and chirps and moos? No! It’s with our “actions, songs, and words!” Great for creating some really silly, but meaningful moments with your littles in front of your tree or manger scene! -VE
Did you know you can get The
Silent Noisy Night and other great books at a discount when you order a Christmas Gift Box from FaithLit? They also have book subscription boxes coming December 1st–a wonderful present for your little bookworms.
by Ellie Holcomb and Laura Ramos
This Christmas children’s book is based on Ellie Holcomb’s song with the same name. I love how it asks what joy sounds like, giving all kinds of sweet examples: “Is it quiet like snow? Does it sound like the laughter of friends that you know?”
I highly recommend watching Ellie’s acoustic performance of the song. It shows off all the excitement and sweetness in the lyrics and may help you to read—or even sing—it in rhythm with your kids. This is one of the books in FaithLit’s 2022 Christmas Book Box. -VE
Saint Nicholas: The Giftgiver
by Ned Bustard
The story of Jesus’ birth is beautifully nestled inside this kid-friendly history of Saint Nicholas. This 2021 release also references present-day descriptions of Santa Claus, using the familiar to introduce kids to the unfamiliar. (Check out this short video of the author making the hand-carved block print illustrations as he talks about the book.) -VE
The Mouse in the Manger
by Eric and Meredith Schrotenboer
Find it: Fresh Wind Studios
A delightful story of a small mouse and the first Christmas. The Mouse in the Manger takes families into a true reading of the biblical text, as we follow little mouse into a first century Bethlehem stable and welcome Jesus, our Living Water, into the world. Includes exciting details and facts about first century life in Israel in the back. -KF
The Wise Men Who Found Christmas
by Raymond Arroyo and Diane Le Feyer
This beautifully-illustrated Christmas picture book focuses on the Wise Men and their search for the newborn king, as seen through the eyes of…well, I don’t want to spoil it.
The most exciting part about this book to me is the theme woven throughout: “Follow the light, go to the King, and make haste to discover the truth.” This exhortation is seen as the men wonder about the star, prepare for their journey, overcome obstacles, and finally, encounter Jesus. And this wisdom is something for us to practice today.
Of course, since not much is known about the Wise Men, any story that portrays a deeper look at these events ends up “filling in the blanks” somewhat. What I love about this Wise Men book is the author shares the reasons behind his storytelling decisions in a few paragraphs at the back of the book. The different approaches taken are great for pondering this story and talking about it with your kids in a whole new way. -VE
The Christmas Promise
by Alison Mitchell and Catalina Echeverri
Part of the critically acclaimed Tales that Tell the Truth series, The Christmas Promise helps children make the connection between God’s promise to send a forever king and the birth of Jesus Christ. Available in both board book (tailored for toddlers) or picture book (full text) format. -KF
Mortimer’s Christmas Manger
by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Mortimer is a lovable mouse just looking for a home. That’s how a family’s manger scene statues end up displaced night after night. When Mortimer overhears the Christmas story–especially the part about how there was no room for Jesus in the inn–he decides to give up his home to make room for Jesus. Don’t worry! Mortimer still ends up with a cozy place all his own. -VE
The Christmas Story: The Brick Bible for Kids
by Brendan Powell Smith
Find it: Amazon
The Christmas story told with LEGO. Need I say more?
This is the Stable
by Cynthia Cotten and Delana Bettoli
Stunning illustrations, lyrical rhyme, and just the right amount of repetition make this an engaging way to celebrate the story of Jesus. -VE
Advent Books and Activities for Kids
My Advent Nativity: A Press-Out-and-Play Book
by Tama Fortner and Keith Allen
Your little one will be begging to read the story of Jesus during Advent and Christmas with this awesome board book. Each day, there is a short reading and a play piece to punch out. The character and scenery pieces have stands so kids can re-enact the Christmas story. Love!
The devotional thoughts are just one to three sentences–so short that you’ll have time to ask your young child a question or review the story so far, while still keeping their interest. Some questions you could ask are:
- How do you think [the character] feels?
- What do you think will happen next?
- What is your favorite part of the story so far?
- Why do you think [the character] did that?
- [This part of the story] reminds me of God’s goodness? What reminds you of God’s goodness [in the story or in your life]?
Just picking one question every couple days can go a long way in sparking rich conversations with your littles. Keep in mind, a correct answer is not really the point (though gently shedding light on misunderstandings can be a good fruit of faith conversations). Asking questions and listening with interest shows our kids we care and helps us learn about their inner world. And more often than not, I learn a lot from what they have to say.
For more details and to see this fun book in action, check out our interview with author Tama Fortner on Instagram. -VE
Thank you to Tommy Nelson for sending us this really special Advent book. (No review required | All opinions our own)
Jesus is Born: Nativity Ornament Book
This adorable Advent board book has ornaments you can remove and hang on the tree. But it’s value goes way beyond the fun novelty. Each page has a two- to three-sentence retelling of part of the Christmas story, a scripture, and some really great questions for families to explore. Bonus: You can replace the ornaments in the book when you take down the tree and do it all again next year. It’s perfect for creating a simple Advent rhythm for the littlest ones. This Christmas board book is another one from FaithLit’s 2022 Christmas Book Box. -VE
The Wandering Wise Men
by Eric and Meredith Schrotenboer and Joel Schoon Tanis
Find it: Fresh Wind Studios
Engage the entire family in the Christmas story with The Wandering Wise Men activity set, which includes a picture book, daily devotional, and three plush wise men figures. Parents can move the figures throughout the home as they wander to find the baby Jesus, while enjoying the fun rhyming text of the included picture book, and learning new facts about 1st century Israel and the Christmas story in the daily devotional. -KF
Jesus Calling: The Story of Christmas
by Sarah Young and Katya Longhi
This is an excellent resource to help families connect the dots! Many times, we focus only on the birth of Jesus during the Christmas season. But this beautiful Christmas book for children shows us how Jesus is tied to the entire Big God Story. The Story of Christmas puts Jesus’ birth in context within the rest of scripture, weaving together a helpful understanding of how Jesus was, is and will always be the hope of every season we journey through.
The colorful illustrations will capture younger audiences, and the brief Bible summary and devotional thought is doable, even in the busiest of seasons. (Note: This book comes in picture book or board book formats.) -KM
‘Twas the Season of Advent
by Glenys Nellist and Elena Selivanova
This Christmas picture book devotional is a meaningful, kid-friendly way to get ready for Christmas. Each of the 25 days has:
- a poem (in the cadence of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas)
- a story surrounding Jesus’ birth
- a Bible verse
- beautiful illustrations
- a prayer
More than a retelling, it shares God’s invitation of love during this special season. Be sure to catch our Christmassy interview with author Glenys Nellist, and check out discussion questions and more goodies at the author’s website. -VE
Look! A Child’s Guide to Advent and Christmas
by Laura Alary and Ann Boyajian
Enrich your Advent practices this season with this lovely picture book guide. Look! encourages children and families to:
- Look back at biblical characters that who waiting for Jesus and at God’s work in our own lives so far
- Look around for what needs to change, how we can be part of God’s very good work in our world, and how we can worship Him as we love others
- Look ahead to what God may be asking us to say yes to
- Look at the wonder of Christmas!
Within this helpful framework, families get contextually-rich portrayals of John the Baptist preparing people’s hearts for the change Jesus would bring, Mary looking ahead and bravely saying yes to God’s plan, and many other people from the Bible who were waiting for Jesus. The book also does a beautiful job of helping kids better understand Advent in general, including why we practice waiting for someone born so long ago.
For me, the most wonderful thing about this Advent book for kids is how it does not “preach” to kids, but instead very effectively uses “I wonder” questions to open kids’ hearts, help them consider how God is speaking to them, and encourage them to say yes to God’s invitation to grow and change and celebrate Jesus. -VE
The Wonder of the Greatest Gift
by Ann Voskamp
Delight your kids with this gorgeous rendition of a Jesse Tree, which is an advent tradition that uses ornaments and accompanying devotions to tell God’s big story from Creation to Christmas Day. Ann Voskamp’s poetic writing will breathe fresh meaning into your family’s Advent and Christmas, and the beautiful pop-up tree is a decoration in and of itself. (See the book’s pop-up tree here.) As the devotions are a bit longer than the other books we’ve highlighted in this post, I recommend it for elementary age kids and beyond. Even with all the flaps and paper cut design, it is very sturdy and can be used year after year. -VE
Check out our simple, meaningful (free) Jesus-focused Christmas activities and printables for lots more family fun!
Christmas Family Read Alouds
Relish your family time together this season. Purposefully reading together for longer stretches, slowing down, and laughing together resets the family connections.
Worst Best Christmas Pageant Ever
by Barbara Robinson
What happens when the meanest kids in the neighborhood infiltrate the church’s annual Christmas pageant? Beneath this unassuming premise lies an engagingly relatable story, brilliantly laced with humor and heart.
In this short Christmas novel for kids, the Herdman children have never heard the story of Jesus’ birth, but after showing up to the church (thinking there would be snacks), they hear it for the first time. As the family discovers the Christmas story, the narrator, and thus, the reader considers the true significance of the events.
As the characters learn to see the beauty of the overwhelming love of God, they experience a change. Depending on your kids’ ages, this could produce a deep discussion. Share some of your testimony and where you’ve experienced God’s grace and mercy in your life, inviting your children to do the same.
Additionally, you can talk about how God calls each one of us to repentance. Kids have a developmental tendency to view the characters as the “bad kids” and “the good kids,” but obviously, all hearts contain a proclivity for both, which is why we need Jesus. The bullies (the Herdmans) and the sticky-sweet Alice Wendleken character both show confusion about the true message of Christmas. The exaggerated examples in this tale can remind us that we all fall short of God’s standard, and the condition of our own heart is most important to Him. And as we hear the Christmas story anew–through the eyes of the Herdmans–we can experience the beauty, redemption, and glory of Christ in fresh ways this Christmas. -SM
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
by Karina Yan Glaser
Though this is not a book about Christmas, the Christmastime setting and themes of family and love make it an excellent family read aloud for the holiday season. The Vanderbeekers are a family of five kids, two parents, and three pets living in a brownstone in diverse and lively Harlem. But at the start of the book they receive an eviction notice…effective New Year’s Eve! Can the kids convince their curmudgeonly landlord to let them stay in the only home they’ve ever known?
This charming family is full of relatable personalities, and there are plenty of warm and funny moments in this novel to keep everyone engaged.
At Our Everyday Parables, we love to look for God in everyday moments and many types of books. For fun, authentic ways to bring God into any book, check out this post. – VE
Tell US YOur THoughts
There are so many amazing Christmas books. Tell us one (or two or five) of your favorites in the comments. We’ll keep updating our list, too.
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