Now is the time to take out Christmas books from the library or dig out the ones you put away with the Christmas decorations last year – or treat the family to a new book. There are so many fantastic Christmas stories to get the family in the festive mood, and these are a few favourites from the Reading Force team.
Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Age 3+
Stick Man is trying to get back to his family tree in time for Christmas, but many mishaps stop him having a smooth journey home. Poor Stick Man is picked up by a dog, thrown in the river – will he ever get back to the family tree?
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg Age 3+
It’s Christmas Eve and the Jolly Postman is delivering cards to favourite nursery rhyme and fairy-tale characters, including a get-well card for Humpty Dumpty, a game called ‘Beware’ for Little Red Riding Hood from Mr Wolf! The pictures are packed with wonderful details and the book is interactive – the cards can be taken out of their envelopes, which makes this a delightful read appealing to children aged 3+ up to adults.
The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis and illustrated by Emma Cobb Age 4+
It’s Christmas Eve and twins Sam and Charlie are worried because Charlie has been naughty all year. Will Charlie wake up to an empty stocking on Christmas morning? Father Christmas does make an appearance, as does his good-bad-o-meter. A wonderfully funny and heart-warming tale with an unpredictable twist.
A Christmas Story by Brian Wildsmith Age 5+
The story of the nativity seen through the eyes of a little girl and a baby donkey who journey to Bethlehem. Captures the wonder of the birth of Jesus from a child’s point of view. Stunningly illustrated (with gold illuminations) by Wildsmith, this is suitable to be read to children aged 5+ and for older children to enjoy too.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg Age 3+
An atmospheric and magical Christmas tale that touches children and adults alike. A young boy recalls ‘On Christmas Eve, many years ago, I lay quietly on my bed.’ He then boards a mysterious train waiting for him and goes to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. It would spoil the book to say more! With beautiful illustrations this is a great book to read on Christmas Eve. 3+ (a good book for children of all ages – older children can read this on their own).
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
A gem of a book with no words, but beautiful pictures telling the magical tale of a boy who builds a snowman that comes to life. The boy shows the snowman around his house, then together they fly through the night sky to visit Father Christmas. This is lovely to read to young children and for children to look at on their own.
How the Grinch stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss Age 4-8 (and adults!)
The Grinch lives in a cave on the side of a mountain and has no Christmas spirit, and worse still, he wants to steal Christmas from the citizens of Who-Ville so nobody else can have it! With hilarious rhymes, word play (ever had a ‘fuzzle’ for Christmas?!) and quirky illustrations, this book has been a Christmas favourite since it was first published in 1957.
Horrid Henry’s Christmas Cracker by Francesca Simon Age 5+
Four Christmas stories for fans of Henry’s mayhem – he sabotages the school play, tries to ambush Father Christmas, attempts to do his Christmas shopping without any money, and has Christmas dinner with the guests from hell. Laugh out loud funny.
A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig and Chris Mould Age 7+
Have you ever wondered what Father Christmas was like as a boy? Matt Haig’s son did and inspired his dad to write this book. A tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, and a boy who isn’t afraid to believe in magic. This title has just been released and is set to become a Christmas classic. Matt Haig was the winner of the Blue Peter Book Award and Smarties Book Prize.
We’d love to hear what your favourite Christmas books are. If you send us a review of one of your best Christmas books using this link (it could be one of the above titles) we’ll post it on the Reading Force Facebook page before Christmas.
Happy Christmas from the Reading Force team!
Alison, Elaine and Hattie