Christian and Jewish publishers mark holidays by offering children religious messages delivered with joy, humor, and fantasy. In such books, creatures can narrate Christmas tales, a Hanukkah dreidel can spin itself loopy, and a little cat can scamper through lessons of the riches of the Catechism. With poetry, prose, and picture books the publishers also introduce examples of the love of God and the devotion of heroic figures of faith such as the Three Kings and Queen Esther.

Holiday books can make theology and history accessible, as well. The Legend of Christmas: An Untold Story of the Real St. Nicholas (Iron Stream Media, paper Oct., hardcover Nov.) by Rhonda Robinson under her pen name, Theresa White, shifts the Christmas focus from Santa to a person who "became a legend by following his faith in a dark age of plague and persecution," according to the publisher. My Family Haggadah (Kar-Ben, Mar.) by Jewish educator Shoshana Silberman, is a board book for little ones introducing the traditions and rituals of the seder, the ceremonial Passover meal. The book includes a QR code link to Songs for a Family Seder.

A sampling of books centered on Christmas and Easter:

Season of Light (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sept.) by Jess Redman, illus. by Ramona Kaulitzki is a picture book featuring poetic text and colorful images including paper snowflakes, silver bells, reindeer, and wise men in an effort to depict Christmas as a season of "faith and song, giving and serving, loved ones and light," according to the publisher.

The Donkey’s Song: A Christmas Nativity Story (Doubleday, Oct.) Jacki Kellum, illus. by Sydney Hanson describe's Christmas as told from the perspective of the gentle donkey that carried Jesus's parents to Bethlehem.

The Good News of Christmas: Celebrating the Glory of Christ’s Birth Story (Harvest Kids, Oct.) by Rousseaux Brasseur, illus. by Sian James describes the events surrounding Jesus's birth

—The King of Christmas: All God's Children Search for Jesus (Lexham, Oct.) by a Lexham editor, Todd R. Hains. It's an addition to their FatCat Book series expounding on the spiritual riches of the catechism with a little cat pawing through every page. Here, the cat joins the Three Wise Men who seek to go beyond the nativity, to "wherever his name and word" are found.

—The King of Easter: Jesus Searches for All God's Children (Lexham, Jan.), also a FatCat book by Hains, follows Jesus "as he seeks and saves the lost," and invites all to join the search.

The Wise Men Who Found Christmas (Sophia Institute, Oct.) by Raymond Arroyo, news director of the Catholic EWTN network, is "narrated" by Melchior's horse. Arroyo draws clues from history to re-envision the trio's journey as they defy danger to bring gifts to their newborn king.

—The Worried Wiseman (Morehouse, Oct.) by author-illustrator Susan Eaddy, imagines Wise Man Melchior and his loyal camel dealing with doubts and perils as they faithfully follow a star.

Among forthcoming titles tracking the Jewish year:

—Awe-Some Days: Poems About the Jewish Holidays (Dial Books for Young Readers, out now) is by Marilyn Singer whose collection features a family partaking in the rituals and traditions for more than a dozen holidays.

—Duct Tape Purim (Kar-Ben, Feb.) by Jewish cookbook author Jill Colella Bloomfield, shows how to use resilient duct tape to make costumes for a Purim carnival celebrating the strength of Queen Esther, who defied a villain to save her people.

Five Little Dreidels (Little Simon, out now) by Jeffrey Burton is a board book celebrating Hanukkah and inspired by the nursery rhyme Five Little Monkeys.

J Is for Janucá ( Lil’ Libros, Oct.) by Melanie Romero, illus. by Cassie Gonzales is a bilingual English-Spanish alphabet book that celebrates Hanukkah, which holds a special meaning in the multicultural Latin-Jewish community, according to the publisher.

Mendel’s Hanukkah Mess Up (Kalaniot, Oct.) by children's author Chana Stiefel and her pediatrician husband Larry, tells of how a teen who's assigned to invite strangers to a huge Hanukkah party learns even mistakes can lead to miracles.

—Tizzy, the Dizzy Dreidel (Kar-Ben, Oct.), by children's authors Wayne and Allison Marks, stars a little top that is used in a Hanukkah game highlighting the miracle of the eight-day holiday. But this dreidel needs a miracle of its own to survive all that spinning.