Dec 04 2012

Christmas Book Reviews!

After all of your awesome comments on my Mom’s giveaway

She read what you had to say (especially the character traits you want to teach your children)

And she put together a list of Christmas books that teach those traits!

Remember she is a literature specialist and she knows what is out there!


Thank you to all for the wonderful comments on my daughter’s blog about my new book about developing character!

DEVELOPING CHARACTER:  TEACHING CHARACTER USING POPULAR CHILDREN’S STORY BOOKS (The Story Hour Library Series).  The book includes story books for all the character traits that many of you have indicated as values you want your children to learn. Your comments are very encouraging to me as I work on Volume II which is also about developing character but with an emphasis on U.S. History.


‘Tis the season for Christmas books. 

Many of your favorites are mine, too.  Here are some of my  favorites:


Long ago in a faraway land, lived a perfect little tree named Small Pine.  Small Pine hoped to maintain its perfect form and be selected by the Queen as her Christmas tree.  But as the warm-hearted little tree gave shelter to birds, rabbits, and deer in the forest, its branches became damaged.  Small Pine lost hope for being chosen because it was so damaged.  Fortunately, the Queen had a different idea of perfection.  She recognized that the tree had been giving to those in need.  She loved the tree for its charity, and she chose Small Pine.


If you are familiar with Cynthia Rylant, you already know how wonderful her books are, and the setting of her books is often Appalachia where she grew up as a child.  You can read about her at:

In Appalachia each Christmas, a boy named Frankie waits beside the tracks for the Christmas Train, which will bring presents to the children who live in coal towns and hollows.  Year after year, Frankie hopes that one particular gift, a very special gift, will be tossed to him from that train.  It is this enduring hope that will guide him to the true meaning of the season.


Three trees growing on a hilltop dream of grand futures, but when they’re claimed by woodcutters, other things happen.  One becomes a manger that holds the Christ child, another a humble fishing boat that carried Jesus and his followers, and the third is cut into stout timbers that become Jesus’ cross.



Among festive Christmas decorations, Mortimer Mouse discovers a new house with a wee wooden manger just his size.  It’s not until he overhears a very special story that Mortimer realizes whose house he is sharing.


Ivy, Holly, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones all have one Christmas wish. Ivy, an orphan, wishes for a real home and sets out in search of the grandmother she’s sure she can find. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child to bring her to life. And the Joneses wish more than anything for a son or daughter to share their holiday. Can all three wishes come true? This festive tale is perfectly complemented by beloved Barbara Cooney’s luminous illustrations, filled with the warm glow of the Christmas spirit.


Set in the trenches during World War I, this story is based on a true event known as the Christmas Truce.

In 1914, British and German troops were dug into trenches in France, facing one another across the barbed wire and barren ground called No Man’s Land. On Christmas Eve, the British soldiers heard the Germans singing Stille Nacht and joined in. Spontaneously, soldiers on both sides climbed out of their trenches and met in between the lines, sharing small gifts, food, and drink. They played a game of soccer. Then they went back to their trenches. The next day, the shooting resumed. McCutcheon’s account of this true event is based on a song he wrote about it in 1984. An accompanying CD includes that song, Silent Night/Stille Nacht, and a reading of the story.

CHRISTMAS TAPESTRY, by Patricia Polacco

Patricia Polacco is another favorite author of mine.  Her website is:

This is a story of love and generosity between people of different religious faiths and features snowy holiday scenes.  A tapestry that is hung over a damaged church wall is what reunites a husband and wife after many years…..two Holocaust survivors.


based on a story by Leo Tolstoy

Unfortunately, this book is currently out of print, but I couldn’t help myself in sharing it because I LOVE it.  It is not necessarily a Christmas story but is very appropriate for the season.  Perhaps you can check it out at the library.

In a small town lived a shoemaker named Martin who worked each day until it was dark and then read from his big Bible until bedtime.  One night, as he finished the story of the rich man who invited Jesus into his home, Martin began to wonder how he would welcome Jesus if he came to his door.  Still thinking about this, he fell asleep.  Later that night a voice woke Martin.  “Make sure to watch the street tomorrow, because I shall be coming,” it said.  Martin looked all around but saw no one.  All the next day, Martin kept watch.  Although he gave food, shelter, and kind words to many passersby, Martin did not notice any unusual visitors.  But that evening, Martin heard the voice again, and this time he understood the full meaning of the message and realized he had met a special guest after all.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Christmas Book Reviews!”

  1. Trisha MacQueen on 04 Dec 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! I have a few of these and now I hope to go find the others. My own kids are almost 12 and 15. So I don’t get to read picture books to often. But Christmas time means reading together!

  2. Ashley Keith on 05 Dec 2012 at 4:59 am

    Great list! Thank you!

  3. Grace on 05 Dec 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Wow! I am definitely doing so christmas shopping soon

  4. Marcina on 05 Dec 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Thank you! I always appreciate great children’s book recommendations!

  5. Jennifer on 06 Dec 2012 at 12:02 am

    Thanks for the great list!

  6. Terressa T. on 06 Dec 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Thank you for this list! We will be adding these to our Christmas reading basket!!

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