The Holiday Bookshelf

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I have mentioned before in this column my affinity for children’s books.  Our family has a large collection composed partly of my own childhood volumes, partly of the many that we have collected along the way, and even contains some old favorites that I have tracked down via hours on the internet to add back into the collection.

As much as I love each of these books, however, the ones we tuck away to pull out each December hold an even more special place in my heart.  I love sharing a good Christmas story with my boys, and hope they never grow out of wanting to hear them.

Our family has found several favorites over the years, and it is my hope that your family will find a favorite or two on this list as well, and enjoy them as much as we have.  Here are a few of our picks:

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss

Long before Jim Carrey became green and furry, this was a beloved holiday tale.  The Christmas-hating Grinch learns that the holiday is about more than just gifts and fluff, and ends up sharing in the holiday spirit with the citizens of Who-ville.

“The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg

Another book that has been made into a movie, this one tells the story of children who get to travel on a magical train ride to the North Pole.

Too Many Toys, A Christmas Story” by Betty Clark

A boy with too many things discovers the joy of sharing what he has with others.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Robert L. May

Originally written as a story for Montgomery Wards to give as a gift to their customers at Christmas-time, this rhyming tale tells how Rudolph came to guide Santa’s sleigh.

“Olive, the Other Reindeer” by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh

A loveable dog named Olive mistakes the lyrics “All of the other reindeer” for “Olive, the other reindeer,” and, heeding the call, reports for duty to the North Pole.

“Santa Kid” by Michael Garland

Santa’s daughter, Chrissie, saves Christmas from being bought out and ruined by mega-corporation Exmas Express – a fun story of kid power.

“Moostletoe” by Margie Palatini

The loveable moose family from “Moosetache” shares their humorous Christmas happenings.

“Auntie Claus” by Elise Primavera

Young Sophie is determined to solve the mystery surrounding her eccentric aunt, Auntie Claus, who turns out to be Santa’s sister.

“The Carpenter’s Gift – A Christmas Tale About the Rockefeller Center Tree” by David Rubel

This book is this year’s addition to our collection.  It is a heart-warming story about a family during the Great Depression who is helped out during their hard times by some Rockefeller Center construction workers.  Much later in his life, the family’s young son is able to donate a tree to become the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  This book also shares how the wood from these Christmas trees is milled into lumber and used by Habitat for Humanity to build homes for needy families.  I dare you to make it all the way through with a dry eye!

Other notable titles:

From the Classics file:

“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens

“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry (another of my personal favorites!)

For the environmentally conscious:

“Santa Claus is Green – How to Have an Eco-friendly Christmas” by Alison Inches

“Santa Goes Green” by Anne Margaret Lewis

For homes with little girls:

“Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas” by Jane O’Connor

“Olivia Helps with Christmas” by Ian Falconer

For those wishing to share the more religious side of Christmas:

“This is the Stable” by Cynthia Cotton

“Santa’s Favorite Story” by Hisako Aoki

For those who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah:

“Light the Lights – A Story About Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas” by Margaret Moorman

Happy Holidays, and Happy Reading!

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