Brighten dark days with holiday stories for sharing like these recent titles.
These talented illustrators make classic songs and stories new again: Bagram Ibatoullines version of The Snow Queen (HarperCollins, ages 6 and up); Susan Jeffers The Twelve Days of Christmas (HarperCollins, all ages); Holly Hobbies The Night Before Christmas (Little Brown, all ages) and Bemma Correll illustrates Laurie Loughlins silly, singable HanuKCats and Catmas Carols (Chronicle, ages 8 and up).
Childrens favorite characters celebrating this year include Loren Longs tractor in An Otis Christmas (Philomel, ages 5-8) and Stephanie Greenes exuberant chapter book heroine, Princess Posey and the Christmas Magic. (Puffin, ages 5-7).
View a new Santa in Jon Agees Little Santa (Dial, ages 4-6), a smiling North Pole boy who refuses to be influenced by his crabby Claus parents and six grouchy siblings. During a winter blizzard, he discovers a flying reindeer, fast-working elves and his future career. For Santa in action, theres Rufus Butler Seders Santa! A Scanimation (Workman, ages 3-6).
To accent giving, enjoy:
Lauren Wohls The Eight Menorah (Whitman, ages 4-6) shows Sam gifting his homemade menorah, redundant at home, to people seeking traditions in his grandmothers new retirement home.
Peter H. Reynolds The Smallest Gift of Christmas (Candlewick, ages 4 and up) tracks Rolands search for a big present. He even travels into space where he sees Earth as a speck growing smaller. When he wishes for this small gift, he lands happily at home.
Lori Everts The Christmas Wish (Random House, ages 4-6) has a Norweigan photographers beautiful illustrations that capture the journey of generous Anja who travels to become one of Santas elves in lands so far north that mothers never pack away the wool hats or mittens.
Patricia Polaccos Gifts of the Heart (Putnam, ages 6-8) mixes family history and magic. Patricia and her brother mourn their grandmother, selling the farm and lack of money. Holiday redemption comes as Kay Lamity, who loves word play and children, teaches that openin your heart and givin whats inside. Thats the greatest gift of all.
December hosts many holidays and traditions; my favorites unite cultures.
Uri Shulevitzs Dusk (FSG, ages 5-8) describes a grandfather and grandson lost in the mood of a quiet wintery dusk in the country. Everything changes as they approach a city of stressed, frenetic shoppers. The two retain their good spirits by observing how the combination of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa lights make the city as light as day.
Gretchen Griffiths When Christmas Feels Like Home (Albert Whitman, ages 5-7) opens with Eduardos sadness at leaving his village. His aunt and uncle tell him that he will feel at home when mountains turn the color of the sun, pumpkins smile, trees become like standing skeletons, words float like clouds from your mouth and trees ride on cars. Eduardo answers no se puedo (not possible) to lyrically put situations. Then he sees each occur and finally feels at home opening the Nativity scene, El Nacimiento, he made with his Abuelo.