Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Read Aloud Count Down

These have been some of our favorite read alouds for Moriah this year... while some may be most appropriate for her young age, I think many will be well loved in years to come too! Each of these books focuses on Christ and his birth rather than other Christmas traditions, which we've chosen not to emphasize in our family, though each family is free to make their own choices of course.

*I included some of these in a post last year and just added to it with more of our favorites.

I look forward to Moriah unwrapping one book each night to read aloud, on the couch near the Christmas tree with the lights on of course!

Baby Blessings Christmas
I like that each page has a colorful illustration and a short segment of the nativity narrative in a child friendly rhyme. For children a bit older a short prayer is also included as well as a follow up question for discussion. It could be read in one sitting or read page by page each night. We're thankful for Matt's co-workers at the bank who gave this to us for Moriah last year.

My First Christmas Carols by: Tomie dePaola
As a former teacher Tomie dePaola stories rank as a classics in children's literature, and I've always loved his realistic illustrations. This is a great board book of Christmas carols as three are carols of the faith "Silent Night", "God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen", and "Away in a Manger" while the other three are secular ("Deck the Halls", "O Christmas Tree", and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas") but not Santa related which we appreciated.

The Little Drummer Boy by: Ezra Jack Keats
This book is full of charming illustrations as well and follows the Christmas song exactly with no added text. While I realize this song is a likely fictional, at least not found in Scripture, I've always loved the sentiment of it. I also can't help remember the Bob Segar version my dad LOVED to play when I was little from his A Very Special Christmas CD (the first CD I ever remember in fact, the interview linked above was from 1989... I would've been 5, too funny!)

This is the Stable by: Cynthia Cotten
This book is a children's progressive story (that may not be exactly right terminology, I can't remember!) and starts out "This is the stable, dusty and brown, in a quiet corner of Bethlehem town." adding on each page a new element from the star through baby Jesus. I love the rhythm of the story and also that the illustrations seem more accurate in my mind than most pictures of a very light skinned baby Jesus. The three kings or wise men in this story also look more exotic than some which seems like a more realistic depiction as well.

Mortimer's Christmas Manger by: Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
What a fun twist on a Christmas book! As you read this story you'll meet Mortimer a mouse who explores a creche in the home where he lives. As he overhears the Christmas story read aloud he realizes that the bed he's made in a manger really belonged to baby Jesus :) A sweet and fun story as well.

Cookie Count a Tasty Pop-Up by: Robert Sabuda
Such a fun counting book with pop-up pictures!  I'm excited to bake cookies with Moriah this year as she's become quite a great helper in the kitchen.

I Spy Little Christmas by: Jean Marzollo
I spy is always great.  This Christmas version is full of holiday pictures which makes it especially fun to enjoy during this season.

The Animals of Christmas by: Cheryl Peterson
This is an old book, I'm not sure where I found it, but we've enjoyed the sweet rhymes about each animal's contribution to baby Jesus.

The Crippled Lamb by: Max Lucado
I've read about this book often on other Christmas read aloud lists, but it'll be the first year we enjoy it as a read aloud together.  I'm looking forward to it!

The Tale of Three Trees by: Angela Elwell Hunt
A story of three trees and their role in the life of Christ.  One becomes his manger.

Song of the Stars by: Sally Lloyd-Jones
This is a sweet book that new to me.  As I read through it it really brought tears to my eyes.  The animals throughout the story declare that "It's time!  He's here!" as baby Jesus comes into the world.  The one who created them has arrived.  How true, and helpful in teaching that baby Jesus is God.

Christmas in the Barn by: Margaret Wise Brown
A sweet rhyme telling the story of baby born in the barn.  It doesn't really address the identity of baby Jesus but certainly leads to it.  I was even able to read this as a public school teacher for that reason!

Night Tree by: Eve Bunting
This is for much older children, but it's a great idea.  I'd love for us to decorate a tree outside in the future for animals like the family in the story does.  They make popcorn garland and hung oranges, apples, etc. on the tree.

We also have this set from Hallmark (years ago) that came with a little book.  The other set included wise men with a book as well.  The books are written with simple rhymes telling the Christmas story though they're no longer made.  If you ever came across the set in an antique store/flea market it would be a great find!  Moriah loves to hang the ornaments on the little felt button tree we purchased with it.

*EDITED December 2012...
Here are a few more from our collection that we've enjoyed, or have read from the library...

The Very First Christmas a Hallmark Recordable Christmas book
We wrapped this one up this year after Moriah received it as a gift from Matt's mom.  As a recordable storybook we can listen to her voice reading it, making it extra special to Moriah as we're 9 hours away from Grandma!

A Christmas Goodnight by Nola Buck
This simple story highlights each element of the Christmas story as a little boy says good night to them all, then wakes on Christmas morning.

Through the Animals' Eyes by Christopher Wormell
This books adds wonderful illustrations to the Biblical text of the Christmas story.  I love the illustrations as we've enjoyed his animal counting book as well!

*These are a few titles I've come across and haven't read... they'd be worth checking out of a library first!

The Little Shepherd's Christmas by Carol Heyer
I've just ordered this from a Scholastic book order, and look forward to reading it!  We'll add it to our collection this year.

The Christmas Baby by Marion Dane Bauer
Another book featured by Scholastic.  From amazon's reviews it must include some reference to God's work in creating all babies, though I haven't read it.

Stable in Bethlehem by Joy N. Hulme
This is a counting book, which might be fun to add to a Christmas collection for little ones!  (It was also featured in Scholastic.)

God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa T. Bergren
This book addresses all sorts of Christmas questions according to the amazon review, including one about Santa.  I'm not sure what answer it gives, but most amazon reviews rated it highly.  It is also available through Scholastic.

Who Is Coming To Our House? by Joseph Slate
The animals prepare their stable to welcome baby Jesus.  I enjoy this illustrator's work in other children's books.

Humphrey's First Christmas by Carol Heyer
What a captivating cover!  Humphrey carries the wise men to meet baby Jesus and unselfishly gives his blanket away.

Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell
Another story from the animals' perspective.

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
Exploring the legend of the candy cane as it related to the Christmas story.  One friend read this aloud while her little ones enjoyed tasting candy canes!  What a fun idea.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
A classic Christmas story I've never read, but have seen on many other lists.  It seems like it would be most fitting for elementary aged children perhaps. 

I know there are so many good book depicting the Biblical Christmas story or other stories surrounding it.  What are some of your favorites that I might be missing?  We're always ready to read more books at our house :)

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