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Read Me A Christmas Song: Books For The Season

by Miriam Downey 17. December 2012 16:34

Children love books that they can sing. I am particularly reminded of The Wheels on the Bus illustrated by Paul Zelinsky, which my grandchildren have loved. There are many, many books of Christmas songs, many illustrated by famous children book illustrators. Here is a brief list of some of the wonderful songs of the holiday season in beautifully illustrated picture books. These books are great for sharing. Sit down with your young child and sing along. Some of these books have CDs or music chips in them, if you are musically impaired. Most will be available at your local library or bookstore. I have included a few Hanukkah song books and one Kwanza book as well.


Frosty the Snowman illustrated by Steve Nelson. This one has been around for a long time. It is the classic version of the song.

Good King Wenceslas illustrated by Christopher Manson. The illustrations are woodcuts. Very lovely.

Deck the Halls: A Traditional Carol illustrated by Sylvia Long.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer illustrated by Peter Emslie. Cute is the word for these illustrations.

Here Comes Santa Claus illustrated by Bruce Whatley.

Feliz Navidad: Two Stories Celebrating Christmas illustrated by David Diaz. Diaz is one of my favorite illustrators.

Hillary Knight's The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by Hillary Knight, who is the illustrator of the Eloise books.

Jingle Bells illustrated by Melissa Sweet. This one has a music chip in it.

The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett. She is the master of winter illustrations.

Elvis Presley's The First Noel illustrated by Bruce Whatley. This one has a CD of Elvis singing. Wow!

Santa Claus is Comin' to Town illustrated by Steven Kellogg. Another one of my favorite illustrators.

Silent Night, Holy Night illustrated by Maja Dusikova. Lovely soft illustrations and a music chip.

The Little Drummer Boy illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. The very best!

We Three Kings illustrated by Olga Zharkova. Bright torn paper illustrations.


Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah illustrated by Susan Roth. Little mice celebrate Hanukkah.

I Have a Little Dreidel illustrated by Julie Paschkis.


Seven Days of Kwanzaa illustrated by Melrose Cooper. To the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Please also look at last week's posting for more Christmas book ideas.

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Some Traditional Holiday Books

by Miriam Downey 4. December 2012 18:07


Every family has holiday traditions that they cherish and become so important that children feel that the holidays aren't complete until the traditional activity happens. When I was a little girl, my grandfather would read the story The Other Wiseman by Henry Van Dyke on Christmas Eve. My grandpa was a preacher, and sometimes he would also read the story at church on Three Kings Sunday, the Sunday after Christmas. Other families I know read the story of the birth of Jesus from the Bible on Christmas Eve. Other families read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Some families sing around the piano, or bake special cookies, or watch a favorite holiday movie together.

I learned again how important those traditions are to children a couple of years ago. Our large family had decided that instead of exchanging gifts, we would have a scavenger hunt at the local dollar stores and buy supplies for an area homeless mission. After the scavenger hunt, each person made a Cornish pasty for supper, an upper Midwest delicacy. I was helping my 8-year-old granddaughter make her pasty when she looked up at me with shining eyes, and said: "Oh, Grandma! Let's do this every year." And a new tradition was born.

I have included in this book list, classic books that are available online for your holiday reading pleasure. Some of these books may become holiday traditions for you. All of these links worked as I was writing this article. I assume that they will work for you as well. Remember that the only books that are available free online are books whose copyrights have expired.


Picture Books

The 12 Days of Christmas by Rachel Isadora. The classic song with a witty twist.

No Room in the Inn by Jean Malone. The story of the first Christmas. Easy Reader.

Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore. The classic poem.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney.  Llama Llama doesn't like waiting for Christmas.

A Christmas Journey by Hans Wilhelm. Two little mice witness the birth of Christ.

Chapter Books

Christ Legends by Selma Lagerlof. Stories of Jesus from many cultures.

The Bird's Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin. A Victorian family Christmas story.

This way to Christmas by Ruth Sawyer. Separated from his family, a little boy discovers a way to celebrate Christmas.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The beloved story about the Christmas spirit.

Christmas in Legend and Story by Elva S. Smith. A collection of traditional Christmas stories.

The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke. A Christmas legend.

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