Christmas Read Alouds – Library Builders

We have quite a few Christmas books in our Heritage Library.  Some are for the very young, and some are for the grown ups.  At least half, though, are great read alouds for the family.  We really don’t have nearly as many books for this particular holiday as I’d like to have, but every year I add a few more.  In fact, I have six books on order just now!  I may have to post a second list for you!

I chose these five books to share with you strictly for my own sentimental reasons.  On another day, I might have chosen differently.  These are all suitable for reading aloud, and I think you will enjoy each.

1.  The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by P. J. Lynch.  This has been my favorite Christmas read-aloud book for the past several years.  In fact, as I pulled it out to work on this post, I opened it up and enjoyed reading it again just for my own pleasure.  I prefer the cover of the edition I own to the one in the above link.  The book, of course, is identical, but the cover picture on my copy reflects the story-line about mid-way through the book.  (The cover in the link is from the final page, and I think it gives away the ending too soon).  The story is simple.  A widowed wood carver has lost his zeal for life, but he learns afresh about love, happiness and caring for others through the kindness and friendship of a widowed woman and her young son.   The illustrations are detailed and beautiful.  Don’t miss this one!

2The Legend of the Candy Cane, by Lori Walburg, illustrated by James Bernardin.  This story is a bit on the sugar-coated side, but as it’s about candy canes, perhaps the sugary-sweetness can be forgiven.  I, for one, have no interest in whether or not the “legend” of the candy cane is true or not.  Whether or not this long-time favorite Christmas candy was actually developed as a witnessing tool or not really doesn’t matter to me.  However, I do appreciate the opportunity to remind my children often of what Jesus did for them on the cross.  With that in mind, this book has found a permanent home in our Heritage Library.  The story unfolds as a stranger arrives in town and begins preparing an abandoned store front to re-open.  Everyone, of course, wonders what type of store it will be.  The children hope for a candy store.  One young girl bravely knocks on the door and asks the owner if she might be of help.  She’s invited in to unpack boxes, and as the candy canes are unpacked the candy shop owner explains the significance of the shape of the candy, as well as the stripes.  The story is short and quite suitable for reading to even the very young.  The illustrations are very colorful and quite sweet.

3. Mary, Did You Know?, by Mark Lowry, illustrated by Phil Boatwright.  It’s been several years since I first heard this song sung.  I loved it from the start, and admit freely that the tears welled up in my eyes as I heard it that first time.  I was, therefore, quite  pleased to find this book a couple of years ago.  Author/comedian/songwriter/singer Mark Lowry’s introduction to this book explains that in writing these lyrics he was putting voice to questions he had pondered from his childhood.  Did Mary know the fullness of Who her baby boy really was?  How much did she know?  Mark Lowry quotes his own mother saying, “If anyone knew Jesus was virgin born – Mary knew!”  As a mother, the lyrics of the song (and the text of this book) are ones that gave me a new respect for Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The book is beautifully illustrated with the words of the song the only text (though most pages have an italicized Scripture verse to accompany the text).

4. The Tale of Three Trees (A Traditional Folktale), retold by Angela Elwell Hunt, illustrated by Tim Jonke.  The traditional tale of three young trees, all dreaming of what they will one day grow to become.  In the end, they all serve a particular part of the gospel story, as one is used for the manger, one a boat, and the third a cross.  This simple re-telling is perfect for reading aloud.  Mr. Jonke’s illustrations, though not vibrant, are colorful and interesting.  Again, another wonderful book to point our children toward the cross.

5. Silent Night, illustrated by Susan Jeffers.  Three verses of the traditional Christmas hymn written by Joseph Mohr, are the text of this book.  The illustrations are simple, yet gorgeous.  Ms. Jeffer’s shows us a tender and affectionate Joseph, tending to Mary as she rides the donkey (my favorite illustration from the book!); and an obviously young Mary nursing (discreetly) the Christ child, as Joseph looks on with the angels and a lone donkey.  Each page is a single line or two from the carol, faced with a full page illustration.  Again, quite suitable for even the youngest little one, and yet perfect for all ages.  A wonderful book for bed time!

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

For a complete list of all Library Builders post to date, please visit the Library Builders page of my web site.  Thanks!


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11 comments to Christmas Read Alouds – Library Builders

  • Thanks so much for the list and the link. I just ordered books for the kiddos. I will be sure to come back here when I order these.

  • I LOVE the song Mary Did You Know? and had no idea there was a book. Your selections are all so good it is hard to choose!

  • We just love the Jonathan Toomey book! Borders is my favorite place to shop the day after Christmas. I can usually find a couple of books to add to our Christmas selection. Last year, I was able to find this book with a CD narated by James Earl Jones. We listened to it today and I just loved listening to it with a nice cup of hot tea!

    Thanks for sharing your list!

    Yvonne :o)

  • We use Christmas books to count down to Christmas Day.  I wrap 24 books and we unwrap and read one each night.   It has become a fun tradition and I am always looking for more books to add each year.    Thanks for you review of books!!   

  • Last year my granddaughters called and sang *Mary Did You Know?* to me.  It became my very favorite Christmas song. 🙂  Now when I hear it, I think of those two girls and how sweet their voices were.  It really was a gift from the heart.  I love your selection of books.

  • I had never heard of a Heitage Library until I started reading your blog…..yes there were a few books I had saved that had been my girl’s favorites, but I never looked to the future-my grandchildren. So, you have inspired me to look for those special books to make my own Heritage Library-thank-you!!! It’s a wonderful idea.

  • Cheryl,

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us so willingly in your blog. I had never thought of a blog being a ministry until I started reading yours several months ago…yes, I have been lurking that long! I have tried several recipes, knit a dishcloth and generally had my heart tweaked by the Lord on an almost daily basis. Thank you and may the Lord bless you as you seek and serve Him and your precious family.

  • We just received our copy of The Legend of the Candy Cane thru paperbackswap for my grandbabies library.  It is so nice to see your recommendation .  Penny

  • I have been visiting you for a good long while now. You have inspired me to be the best wife and mother I possibly can. You are always my first stop when I jump online. I ordered these books to read to my own children. Thank you!

  • Mary, Did You Know? is my favorite song of the season! I got goosebumps on my arms the first time I heard it, and it never fails to move me, no matter how many times I hear it.

    (from Mrs. B’s Cottage)

  • Cheryl – We have two of those books – the Carpenter one and the Candy Cane one.  I like both, and my son and I read them more than just at this time of the year.

    Thank you for your uplifting and homey blog!  My dh and I live in the country with our one son, and it’s so nice to read about other Christian families and their lives!  Thank you for being such a blessing to me and all your other loyal readers!