Young readers can get into the holiday spirit with these seasonal titles that would make it onto anyone’s nice list.
Picture Books and Board Books
Jennifer A. Bell. Two Lions, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2922-3. Ages 3–7. Hedgehog is willing to do whatever it takes to prepare the perfect gift for her best friend Bear, even traveling through an epic snowstorm. The book received a starred review from PW.
Dorena Williamson, illus. by Ronique Ellis. WaterBrook, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-23638-3. Ages 3–7. Intertwining biblical tales of Jesus’s childhood, Williamson imparts these stories with a brown-skinned Jesus at its center.
Stephen G. Bowling, illus. by Vitali Dudarenka. Valley of Mexico, $19.97 (40p) ISBN 978-1-950957-15-6. Ages 3–9. In this Stumpkin-esque Christmas story, the smallest pine at a Christmas tree farm hopes to be selected by a family despite his tiny stature.
Lucy Brownridge, illus. by Eunyoung Seo. Frances Lincoln, $22.99 (24p) ISBN 978-0-7112-7492-1. Ages 3–6. A feline family rushes to prepare their home to partake in holiday festivities on Christmas Eve.
Emily Kilgore, illus. by Kitty Moss. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-38899-7. Ages 4–8. In this story based on the Icelandic book-gifting tradition of Jólabóka-flóðið, a child searches for the perfect book to read on Christmas Eve.
Julia Donaldson, illus. by Victoria Sandøy. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-338-82927-3. Ages 4–8. Inspired by a real holiday tradition, a Christmas tree describes its journey from living in the forest to becoming the great Christmas tree in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Jacki Kellum, illus. by Sydney Hanson. Doubleday, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-37505-1. Ages 3–7. On the journey to deliver Mary to Bethlehem, a donkey shares the sights and sounds of his trip.
Holly Berry-Byrd, illus. by Katya Longhi. Cottage Door, $8.99 (16p) ISBN 978-1-64638-671-0. Ages 1–3. A curious trio of baby farm animals ask questions about their first-time experiences with holiday traditions.
Denise Kiernan, illus. by Jamey Christoph. Philomel, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-40441-6. Ages 4–8. This picture book contextualizes Thanksgiving by spotlighting writer and activist Sarah Josepha Hale, who over several years requested that Thanksgiving be celebrated on the same day nationwide.
Rousseaux Brasseur, illus. by Sian James. Harvest Kids, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7369-8609-0. Ages 4–8. Young readers can learn the story of Jesus’ birth, honing in on the notable moments of the journey.
Julie Anna Blank, illus. by Carlos Vélez Aguilera. Kar-Ben, $19.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-7284-4284-6. Ages 4–9. A family makes a trip across the country to spend Hanukkah with grandparents in Little Havana.
Cindy Jin, illus. by Rob Sayegh Jr. Little Simon, $7.99 (16p) ISBN 978-1-66592-141-1. Ages 1–5. A mail carrier’s delivery during the holiday seasons highlights a community celebrating different festivities.
Kate DePalma, illus. by Martina Peluso. Barefoot, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-64686-626-7. Ages 4–10. In this picture book about interconnectedness, the third book in the World of Celebrations series, readers can discover harvest festivals and traditions of giving thanks from across the globe.
Hannah Barnaby, illus. by João Fazenda. Phaidon, $19.95 (26p) ISBN 978-1-83866-539-5. Ages 2–5. In a countdown to December 25, a pine tree hoping to become a family’s Christmas tree highlights Christmas traditions from all around the world.
Melanie Romero, illus. by Cassie Gonzales. Lil’ Libros, $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-9480-6642-6. Ages 4–10. This bilingual picture book highlights important vocabulary around Hanukkah in both English and Spanish.
Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry, and Alexis Bunten, illus. by Garry Meeches. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62354-290-0. Ages 3–7. A grandmother imparts the First Peoples’ account of the First Thanksgiving to her grandchildren.
Marianne Richmond, illus. by Janet Samuel. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $10.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-72825-445-6. Ages 4–6. Little Bird is excited about Christmas but doesn’t know the meaning of the holiday, and learns from her mother on a flight to a chapel.
Lala Watkins. Cartwheel, $7.99 (10p) ISBN 978-1-338-82943-3. Ages up to 3. At the North Pole, brown-skinned Santa, Mrs. Claus, and elves all prepare for the Christmas rush.
Clement C. Moore, illus. by Mary Engelbreit. Quill Tree, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-296933-0. Ages 4–8. In this new take on Clement C. Moore’s classic poem, a mouse leads its family in holiday preparations.
Chana and Larry Stiefel, illus. by Daphna Awadish. Kalaniot, $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-73508-757-3. Ages 4–8. As Mendel prepares for Hanukkah with his New York City community, he experiences comedic mishaps along the way.
Trinka Hakes Noble, illus. by Renée Andriani. Sleeping Bear, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-53411-167-7. Ages 6–7. When Miss Mary learns her students don’t have mittens to play in the snow, she takes it upon herself to knit a pair for everyone in her class.
Moo, Baa, Fa La La La La!
Sandra Boynton. Boynton Bookworks, $6.99 (16p) board book ISBN 978-1-66591-435-2. Ages up to 5. Putting a barnyard spin on a Christmas carol, farmhouse animals sing along to the merry remixed tune.
E.G. Keller. Abrams, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-5392-3. Ages 4–8. Murray, a shaggy dog protective of his family, grows concerned as holiday memorabilia begins to appear around the house.
Gary Robinson, illus. by Jesse T. Hummingbird. 7th Generation, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-939053-45-9. Ages 3–5. The holiday customs and traditions of 12 Native American cultural groups across the U.S are spotlighted in this picture book.
John Robert Allman, illus. by Julianna Swaney. Doubleday, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-18091-4. Ages 3–7. An excited group of young ballerinas prepare to dance in their opening performance of the Nutcracker in the fifth entry in the American Ballet Theatre series.
Alastair Heim, illus. by Sara Not. Clarion, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-328-80959-9. Ages 4–8. A trio of children try not to spoil the joys of opening their gifts early as they await Christmas morning.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illus. by Brigette Barrager. Random House, $10.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-17809-6. Ages up to 3. Uni the Unicorn attempts to help save Christmas by finding one of Santa’s lost reindeers in the newest Uni the Unicorn title.
The Return of the Christmas Witch
Aubrey Plaza and Dan Murphy, illus. by Julia Iredale. Viking, $19.99 (56p) ISBN 978-0-593-35083-6. Ages 5–8. In the sequel to The Christmas Witch, after being awakened from her chamber where she’s been trapped for years, Kristtörn partners with Poppy and her reindeer to bring Christmas back, but keeps her intentions a secret.
Mia Cassany, illus. by Susie Hammer. Orange Mosquito, $9.95 (12p) ISBN 978-1-914519-46-8. Ages 3–5. Getting Santa out the door on Christmas Eve proves to be a challenge as this fold out picture book shows in detail.
Jess Redman, illus. by Ramona Kaulitzki. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-31460-6. Ages 3–6. A community prepping for the holiday season finds the virtue of generosity.
Show-How Guides: Gingerbread Houses
Renée Kurilla, illus. by Keith Zoo. Odd Dot, $6.99 (48p) paper ISBN 978-1-250-79307-2. Ages 6–11.
The 11th Show-How Guide breaks down how to build the perfect holiday treat: the gingerbread house.
The Silly Sounds of Christmas
Mike Petrik. HarperFestival, $7.99 (20p) board book ISBN 978-0-06-306622-9. Ages up to 4. This companion to The Silly Sounds of Halloween reveals the humorous noises that happen around the holiday season.
Holley Merriweather, illus. by Stephanie Graegin. HarperCollins, $12.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-314207-7. A tiny mouse becomes a huge help to Santa and his elves when they discover a mishap with Santa’s naughty-or-nice list.
Jashar Awan. Tundra, $18.99 (56p) ISBN 978-0-7352-7239-2. Ages 3–7. Christmas tree ornaments make an adventurous journey after lights out.
Polly Faber, illus. by Richard Jones. Candlewick, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-2852-6. Ages 3–7. During his off-season, Santa makes a new woodland friend who keeps him company until the holiday rush. The book received a starred review from PW.
Feather Flores, illus. by Carrie Liao. Chronicle, $15.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4521-8461-6. All ages. Written to the classic carol tune, 12 bustling kittens get into Christmastime fun and chaos. The book received a starred review from PW.
Tameka Fryer Brown, illus. by Ebony Glenn. Kokila, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-984815-17-0. Ages 4–8. A Black family welcomes distant relatives bearing delicious foods to the tune of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The book received a starred review from PW.
Ty’s Travels: Winter Wonderland
Kelly Starling Lyons, illus. by Niña Mata. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $4.99 paper ISBN 978-0-06-308362-2. Ages 4–8. In this sequel to Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom!, Ty ventures to the North Pole in time for the holidays. But will he be able to spot Santa before he takes off for Christmas?
A Very Mercy Christmas
Kate DiCamillo, illus. by Chris Van Dusen. Candlewick, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1360-7. Ages 3–7. With her friends and family busy preparing for the holidays, Stella Endicott turns to her gang of animal friends when she wants to go caroling, in the latest story in the Mercy Watson series.
The Very Merry Poop Christmas
Samantha Berger, illus. by Manny Galán. Holt, $14.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-83710-3. Ages 4–8. In this sequel to The Great Big Poop Party, Santa is surprised when all his lists are filled with poop-centric gifts, and gains a sense of humor to oblige the kids’ desires.
Martha Mumford, illus. by Cherie Zamazing, based on characters by Laura Hughes. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-5476-1122-5. Ages 3–6. Readers can spot hidden gifts as four bunnies help Santa make his deliveries.
Billy Sharff, illus. by Eda Kaban. Dial, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-32523-0. Ages 4–7. After a family leaves Santa some delicious cookies for Christmas, he returns for more sweet treats and hopes to stay.
Suzanne Park. Sourcebooks Fire, $10.99 paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-7282-4801-1. Ages 14 and up. Korean American rivals Chloe and Peter work together to save their parents’ competing businesses when the mall where their shops are threatens to close.
Hannah Reynolds. Razorbill, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-34975-5. Ages 12 and up. Inexperienced Shira hopes to woo her crush after getting flirting lessons from a former flame, in this Hanukkah-set rom-com.
Jake Maia Arlow. HarperTeen, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-307872-7. Ages 14 and up. Despite plans to focus on her internship after having her heartbroken, Shani finds herself drawn to a new co-worker, May, and questions if she’s prepared for a new romance. But when they’re snowed in together on Christmas Eve, their relationship heats up. The book received a starred review from PW.
Linda Urban. Atheneum, $20.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5344-7884-8. Ages 12 and up. High school sophomore Francie juggles a sudden move, making changes to her family business, and saving up for a new car, while falling for the boy next door.
Also of Note
12 Days of Richard Simmons by Penguin Young Readers Licenses. Penguin Workshop, $12.99 ISBN 978-0-593-52059-8
The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher, illus. by Shane Devries. Random House$18.99 ISBN 978-0-593-56616-9
A Christmas Gift for Little One by Sandra Magsamen. Sourcebooks Wonderland, $7.99 ISBN 978-1-72824-482-2
Clarice Bean, Think Like an Elf (Clarice Bean #4) by Lauren Child. Candlewick, $19.99 ISBN 978-1-5362-2365-1. Ages 8–12.
Holidays Are Better with Friends (media tie-in) by Micol Ostow, illus. by Keiron Ward. Scholastic, $17.99 ISBN 978-1-338-84043-8
The Magic of a Small Town Christmas by Megan Alexander, illus. by Hiroe Nakata. Aladdin, $19.99 ISBN 978-1-66592-980-6
Pages of Music by Tony Johnston, illus. by Tomie dePaola. Simon & Schuster/Wiseman,$18.99 ISBN 978-1-66590-433-9
Piney the Lonesome Pine by Jane West Bakerink. Running Press Kids, $18.99 ISBN 978-0-7624-8180-4
Randy, the Badly Drawn Reindeer! by T.L. McBeth. Holt. $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-26384-1
The Return of the Christmas Witch by Dan Murphy and Aubrey Plaza, illus. by Julia Iredale. Viking, $19.99 ISBN978-0-593-35083-6
Unicorn Christmas by Diana Murray, illus. by Luke Flowers. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $17.99 ISBN 978-1-72824-476-1