Friday, December 5, 2014

The Holiday Reading Jar: A Tradition of Literacy and Love

The Holiday Reading Jar: A Tradition Of Literacy and Love

   When my children were young we began a holiday tradition of picking a holiday book title from our "Holiday Jar" every night for our bedtime story.  Our jar was filled with book titles for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.  As a mother my goal was to raise children who respected all faiths, cultures, and people. My children were raised Christian with a touch of Judaism because their Grandfather is Jewish. We had a Christmas tree but we also had a menorah. We had friends who celebrated Kwanzaa so we read books about Kwanzaa to be able to share in our friends traditions. Since we love understanding all people and cultures in our world we also read about holiday traditions in other lands...real and make-believe. We threw in a few winter books because in Pennsylvania and in New York the places we lived it is cold and snowy during the holiday season. My children grew up to love and respect all people.They also love to read. Like their Mom they are collectors of books. Though my children are now grown we still have a holiday reading jar and still choose books to read every night while my children are home visiting. Reading together at Christmas Time created a bond and a tradition that is everlasting.
P.S.   I'm so glad that I have asked my friends and acquaintances for their favorite holiday books. This makes our holiday jar complete. I will of course add them to our real holiday jar too. What a better way to feel close to a dear family member or friend by reading their favorite holiday book! Thank you to all who have contributed. What's your favorite holiday book? Message me, and I will add it to my holiday jar, my most favorite family tradition by far!

Mitt Aubin's Holiday Jar Favorites:

Winter Rabbit  By: Patrick Yee

  Winter Rabbit is a fun book for children. it is perfect for the first snowfall of the season. Children will wish that "Winter Rabbit" could be real. After reading this book children will want to go outside and build their own, "winter Rabbit."

The Story Of Hanukkah By: David A. Adler

     The Story of Hanukkah, was written to teach Christian children about Hanukkah. This is specifically why I like this book. I use it in my classroom to spread cultural diversity and to give my students more knowledge about the world they live in. Our community is predominantly Christian and being a rural town, many children do not know much about Judaism.  The Story of Hanukkah, first tells the history behind Hanukkah with Antiochus and the Maccabees and the miracle that led to the lighting of the menorah, tradition of the dreidel, and gifts. This book also includes a recipe for delicious latkes and directions on how to play the dreidel game. After reading the book to my students we play the dreidel game using chocolate coins and then eat latkes with applesauce. It's surprising how quickly children learn the dreidel game and how much fun they have playing it! Just like my students, my own children enjoyed all of the festivities involved with Hanukkah. My own children actually celebrated Hanukkah along with our next door neighbors Barry and Natalie! they always went to Barry and Natalie's house on the first day of Hanukkah for festivities. What great memories!

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell By: Lucille Colandro


 This is a whimsical story about an old, lady who swallowed a bell and a few other things! It's cute. There are a lot of valuable school activities that can be used with this story.


Pronoun Practice:

Story Sequncing: 

Hurray Santa! By: Julie Sykes

When my children will young, my son Nathan was so hard to wake-up! I had to literally pick him up out of his bed and gently lay him on the floor before he would wake up! His Dad and I bought him this book to explain what can happen if you don't get up on time! In this book, Santa has something in common with Nathan! 

My First Kwanzaa By: Karen Katz

         A round-faced, happy little girl tells about her family's Kwanzaa celebration. The simple text and colorful illustrations with vivid patterns make this a good book to share with children. Karen Katz through the story explains the seven days of Kwanzaa and the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Also, the reasons for candles, fruits, crafts, and vegetables used during Kwanzaa are mentioned. Adults will appreciate the brief note about the holiday and the phonetic spelling of the Swahili words. This book was not available for my children's holiday jar when they were young, but it is in the jar now for future generations to enjoy!

The Wild Christmas Reindeer By: Jan Brett
      As are all of Jan Brett's picture books, The Wild Christmas Reindeer, is beautifully illustrated. This is the story of Teeka who lives in the Arctic on Santa's Christmas farm.  Sant asks Teeka to prepare the reindeer for their journey on Christmas Eve. Poor Teeka is nervous because she wants everything to go perfectly. The reindeer however, are less than cooperative! This is a life lesson for Teeka and all children that sometimes when we try, things happen and sometimes we have to start over. Children need to learn to never give up, because in the end, with diligence, the project and it's glory will be well earned and won! 
   As in Jan Brett's beautiful artistic style, the sides of each page are numbered with beautiful illustration's that countdown to Christmas Eve. 


North Country Night By: Daniel San Souchi


       My children loved reading about animals. North Country Night, is a sleepy-time story about a cabin in the woods,  a gentle snowfall, and   how the animals of the forest wake at night. Who knew that the forest at night was abound with activity. 

Grandma's Latkes: By: Malka Drucker

       A poignant story about a little girl making latkes for Hanukkah with her Grandma. A child learns by observing and doing. In this story Grandma is teaching Molly a family tradition that she will never forget. Grandma also tells Molly the story of the first Hanukkah. I can clearly picture the conversation between Molly and her Grandmother as they prepare latkes for their family. A recipe for latkes is included.

A Kwanzaa Miracle By: Sharon Shavers Gayle


     When Ashley and her brother Darryl include their lonely neighbor Mrs. Jackson in their Kwanzaa celebrations, they take part in a Kwanzaa ceremony they'll never forget.  A beautiful story to share with children.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey By: Susan Wojciechowski

    The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, is definitely on my top ten list of Christmas books. It's a tearjerker! It's the story of Jonathan Toomey a talented woodcarver who is deeply saddened due to the loss of his family. He keeps to himself and is considered a miserable loner. A young boy named Thomas and his mom the widow McDowell cause a Christmas miracle in Jonathan's life. This book was a favorite of my children: Eric, Kirsten, Nathan, and Rachel Lynn. The illustrations by P.J. Lynch create a warmth to this gorgeous picture book. They are delicate and detailed. I will be reading this book with my children during this holiday season.

Santa's Kwanzaa By: Garen Eileen Thomas

     The first thing I see when I view this book is the cover! I love it! It was originally designed by illustrator: Gary Francis. Santa's Kwanzaa is a sing-songy rhyming text.  Garen Eileen Thomas bklends Christmas and Kwanzaa together to create a delightful story. Santa,  Mrs. K., and the elves are all African-Americans who help others get ready for Christmas before celebrating the seven nights of Kwanzaa with presents and special foods and traditions. Santa is "Santa Kwas" in this story.  Santa has dreadlocks and wears a kente-cloth robe adored with white fur.  His seven elves are named for the seven principles of Kwanzaa, with their names explained briefly on the last page. On the last night of Kwanzaa, the elves and Mr. and Mrs. Kwas take flight with their reindeer so that Santa can send a special message of peace and goodwill to the world, spelled out in stars against the northern lights. A nice book especially for families who blend the holidays of Christmas and Kwanzaa.

A Wish For Wings That Work By:  Berkley Breathed

Once upon a time...there was a penguin named, Opus!  Opus wanted to fly! Opus believed deeply in Santa Claus.  He believed that if you ask Santa for a special gift with your whole heart that Santa will make your dream come true. Opus saves Christmas...but I won't tell you if he receives his dream of flying! I'd dislike spoiling the ending!

Olive, The Other Reindeer  By: J.Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh
     When my daughter, Kirsten was in first grade, she kept coming home from school excited about "Olive the Other Reindeer." This was a picture book that we just had to own!  This just might be the most adorable Christmas story ever!  If you love Christmas, and dogs, and cookies...this just might be your favorite Christmas book! It's a very fun read!

     Eight Wild Nights  By:  Brian P. Cleary


This very well might be my favorite Hanukkah book! It's modern and funny. It's a realistic tale about Hanukkah from a child's perspective that will make you giggle a little!  Families have the art of being not perfect but this just makes a not perfect holiday even more heart-warming and memorable!  A very fun story!

Cross_Country Cat By: Mary Calhoun

     My daughter, Kirsten was lucky enough to have her copy of Cross-Country Cat, autographed by illustrator Erick Ingraham.  Since it is my daughter Rachel who loves cats, this book is for her!  It's a cute story of a hind-leg walking cat, which my kids loved because we have a hind-leg walking poodle named Kirah!  The cat is the only character in the book with a name, Henry. Henry goes on an adventure! He even tries cross-country skiing though this is more of a realistic tale, sort of! It's a nice wintery tale!

The Christmas Wish By: Lori Evert

     The picture book begins: "Long, long ago, in a place so far north that the mothers never pack away wool mittens, lived a sweet little girl named, Anja, whose greatest dream was to become one of Santa's Elves."...  The author and illustrator's daughter, Anja inspired this book one day by the absolute beauty of her with reindeer. This book is a four year labor of love by the family of three.  The photographs which Anja are in are amazing! Lori Evert, the author is, a prop, set, and wardrobe stylist. This picture book is also one of my personal favorites!

The Power of Light By: Isaac Bashevis Singer

      This is a collection of eight stories one for each night of Hanukkah. In the Holiday Jar, each story is written on separate pieces of paper.
They are: A Hanukkah Evening in My Parents' House, The Extinguished Lights, The Parakeet Named Dreidel, Menashe and Rachel, The Squire The Power of Light, Hershele and Hanukkah, and Hanukkah in the Poorhouse. The stories included in this book are more for older children. There are not  a lot of pictures. They are in-depth stories with a rigorous vocabulary that will captivate the readers.

 The Night Before Christmas By: Clement C. Moore /Illustrations By: Eric Puybaret

    this is the newest book to my collection. Though I have several other Night Before Christmas picture books, I had to own this one! The illustrations by Eric Puybaret are stunning!  No Christmas is complete without reading Clement C. Moore's classic Tale. Included with this book was a musical CD and and narrative by Peter, Paul, and Mary! As if this picture book wasn't complete enough, I was lucky enough to get an autographed copy at: Northshire Books in Manchester, Vermont!
The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett is also lovely! Jan Brett is such a talented artist. My children grew up on Jan Brett books, so both versions of A Night Before Christmas will be included in my holiday Jar this year!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer By: Robert L. May

   Our Holiday Jar contains both versions of Robert L.Mays Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. We read my Mom's and my children's grandmother's 1939 original version and today read the only authentic reproduction in 75 years. The new book is great because the illustrations are exactly like the originals since this book is a reproduction of the original

Quirky Claus By: Sebastian White

     I LOVE Quirky Claus for being so "not perfect"! Quirky Claus tries his best but his grand attempts at doing Christmas in his own outlandish style get in his way! His eternal optimism keep him going. In the end he gets the job of Christmas done! Sometimes late but still accomplished! Quirky Claus is modern for today's kids! The illustrations by Izabela Sularz and Simon Goodway are bold and engaging. This is a wonderful Christmas story to be enjoyed again and again.

The Twelve Days of Christmas By: Jan Brett
The Christmas Song: "The Twelve Days of Christmas" beautifully illustrated by Jan Brett. The
Twelve Days of Christmas was a cummulative song from England that was first published in 1780. later in 1909 Frederic Austin added "Five Golden Rings" and put the lyrics to a traditional folk melody. Jan Brett created a book to treasure!

The Legend of the Poinsettia By: Tomie De Paola

     This Mexican legend tells how a sad little girl brings a bunch of green plants to the Christ Child. Once at the altar, the plants bloom into beautiful red flowers that look like stars.In Mexico, the poinsettia is called flor de la Nochebuenao flower of the Holy Night. At Christmastime, the flower blooms and flourishes, the quite exquisite red stars lighting up the countryside.


Santa is Coming to New York: By: Steve Smallman

     This is a new book in my collection that I just have to have last year! Last year, before being added to the Holiday Jar, I shred this book with my school students. We had completed an unit on New York History and were doing an unit on Christmas Around the World.  I included this book to discuss Christmas in the united States. It's a great little book, wonderfully illustrated by Robert Dunn. I love the pictures of New York City! This book is part of the "Santa is coming to.....?

This Is The Star By: Joyce Dunbar and Gary Blythe

     A book about the birth of Jesus on Christmas. Every page begins with, "This is..." and adds something new in the sequence leading to the birth of Jesus.  This book is beautifully illustrated with realistic pictures.

White Snow, Bright Snow By: Alvin Tresselt

     White Snow, Bright Snow was written in 1947 so it has that retro feeling. It is the story of winter in a small, rural town. Since I am from a small.rural town, I appreciate this story very much. The story ends in spring. Children delight in seeing the snow accumulating in the pictures as they read through the book.

Santa Duck:  By: David Milgrim

     An adorable tale about a barnyard duck who finds himself unknowingly, on a mission for Santa Claus himself! All Santa Duck really wants to do is find Santa Claus to tell him his Christmas wish list! A fun story that will delight children with a surprise ending!


The Gift of the Magi By: O'Henry
 The Gift of the Magi is a classic Christmas story which is fitting because it was brought to my attention by Mrs. P. (Kathy Kinney) who brings classic children's stories to life in classrooms across America.  The Gift of the Magi is a heart-warming  story about a young, poor, married couple who want to give each other the perfect Christmas gift. The young wife has $1.87 to buy her husband a Christmas gift. Both the husband and wife make great a sacrifice unknown to each other to surprise each other with a heart felt Christmas gift. 
     As Mrs. P. pointed out, this a a great story to share with our youth because so many families struggle during the holidays to give their loved ones gifts.  The Gift of the Magi will be added to my family's holiday reading jar!


The Littlest Angel By: Charles Tazewell

     The Littlest Angel, was first released in book form in 1946. It tells of a little angel who simply can't get with the program no matter how hard he tries. He is homesick and feels better when he is allowed to retrieve a box of his most treasured possessions from his home. When it comes time for the baby Jesus to be born , the Littlest Angel gives his precious box to the baby, but he is worried that God will think his gift too humble. However, God is pleased indeed, and transforms the box into the Star of Bethlehem.  A beautiful story. It is the favorite of my dear friend, Diane Davis. Diane and I attended Marywood University together in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

     The Cat Who Came for Christmas  By: Cleveland Armory

     The Cat Who Came for Christmas, was submitted by a new friend.  Her name is Jena Ball.She is the creator of CritterKin, a goofy pack of mixed breed pups.
CritterKin is a series of stories designed to teach children that animals (critters) are family (kin).  This is why The Cat Who Came for Christmas is the perfect pick from Jena! Jena's pick is a delightful book not only for Christmas but any time you want a feel-good story. Cleveland Armory, the founder of, The Fund for Animals, finds a scrawny cat on Christmas Eve and takes him home on  temporary basis, until a suitable home is found. Armory is actually a dog person! Who can resist a temperamental, abused kitty and a six foot plus man who rescues him. This book will touch your heart. By the way, Jena's #notperfect CritterKin will too!

Frosty the Snowman By: Annie North Bedfordrosty the Snowman Adapted from the song by: Annie North Bedford

     Did you know that Frosty the Snowman was a song first?  Walter "Jack" Rollins wrote it in 1950. Gene Autry recorded it in 1950. Eventually, Annie North Bedford adapted the song into a Little Golden Book.  Frosty the Snowman is everyone's favorite but especially my classroom aides: Becky and Lizz! Who can resist the thought of a snowman coming to life! A child's dream come true. The best part is that Frosty never dies because he comes back year after year!

Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas

     Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas was written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by his then-wife, Lillian Hoban, in 1969.
The book was published in 1971 by Parents' Magazine Press. The story tells of Emmet Otter and his Ma, a widow who scrapes by on the small amount of money she gets from doing laundry and that Emmet gets from doing odd jobs around their home in the town of Frogtown Hollow. They hear of a talent contest in the nearby town of Waterville. They separately decide to enter to buy each other a christmas present. As reminiscent of the The Gift of the Magi, they must sacrifice each other's livelihood for the talent contest. They form the the Frogtown Hollow Jubilee Jug Band. Emmet and Ma each do an excellent job,only to be defeated at the last minute by a rock and roll band called The Riverbottom Nightmare Band. On the way home,the Frogtown Hollow Jubilee Jug Band sing a song together. Doc Bullfrog (owner of a local restaurant hires them to sing for his customers. This makes them the bigger prize. This is the favorite book of both my husband Ken and his wonderful Mom, Barb. Love them both so much. They make every holiday special.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas By: Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel

      In 1957, Dr. Seuss wrote How the Grinch Stole Christmas.The Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small, hates Who-ville's holiday celebrations because everyone is happy and festive! He plans to steal all the presents even from little Cindy-Lu Who, to prevent Christmas from coming. To his surprise, Christmas comes anyway!  The Grinch discovers the true meaning of the Christmas. 
     This is the favorite book of my long-time friend Angie! Angie, do you remember putting on our production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Devereux Foundation? Oh my, did we and the kids have fun! I miss those days!

 Frozen By Disney

     I asked my students what their favorite holiday book was. They favored Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. They also liked Disney's Frozen.   A prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter. Princess Anna, teams up with Kristoff, an adventurous mountain man, and his reindeer on a journey to find Anna's sister, the Snow Queen Elsa, to put an end to her icy spell. They Encounter  mystical trolls, a  snowman named Olaf,  and magic at every turn. Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom from a  frozen destruction. 

 Christmas Oranges Illustrated By: Ben Sowards

      Christmas Oranges  is a favorite of a friend I've never had the pleasure of meeting in person...Julie in Utah who has a heart of gold! This wonderfully illustrated book, tells the story of the "Christmas Oranges," in which a young orphan girl named Rose discovers the spirit of generosity from other orphans.When Rose is eight years  her beloved Greenwoods Orphanage is closed.  Rose is then shipped to Irongates, a cold, loveless institution run with Dickensian cruelty. Headmaster Crampton punishes Rose severely for a tiny misdoing, and punishes her by taking away the special treat of an orange on Christmas morning. The orphan children find a way to save Rose's Christmas.
     This story reminds me of a story my Grandmother Van Liew told me. When she was a child she never got Christmas gifts. One Christmas she was given an orange in her shoe. She saved it because it was so special, only to have it stolen. My grandmother made sure to make Christmas extra special for her children and all eight grandchildren.

Spots First Christmas


     My children loved Spot! This flip-a-flap book is colorful, and bright. Young children will enjoy spots cheerful gifts!

Biscuit's Hanukkah  By: Alyssa Satin Capucilli


      Biscuit makes a gorgeous menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. As Biscuit knows, Hanukkah is a great time to celebrate stories, songs, food, family, and friends!

A Christmas Carol By: Charles Dickens

     Almost 30 years ago, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens was a gift to me from my mother. This book was always dear to me but is especially dear because she passed away twenty-four years ago on December 10th. I always felt that she departed at Christmastime because she loved Christmas so much and therefore died happy.
    A Christmas Carol was first published in 1843. It is the quintessential Christmas story. The pages are on ivory colored stock, giving the book an old-fashioned appearance as if it were bound during Dicken's time era.  Greg Hildebrandt's illustrations are richly detailed. A Christmas Carol a classic, but this edition illustrated by Greg Hildebrandt is truly a heirloom. I have always cherished this special gift from my loving Mom.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever  By: Barbara Robinson


     The Herdmans are considered the worst kids in the history of the world. The boys and girls alike, lie and steal and smoke cigars. They talk dirty, hit little kids, and cuss their teachers.  Everyone is surprised when the Herdmans storm into church one Sunday and take over the annual Christmas pageant! 
     My students read this novel last year at Christmastime and loved it! What a hoot! Thank you, Julie, for naming this novel as one of your favorites!

The Nativity Story By: Geraldine McCaughrean and Sophy Williams

A sumptuous take on the classic Christmas story, this retelling of the first Christmas features enduring prose and opulent illustrations. Perfect for reading with family and friends by the fire. This is my mother-in-laws favorite Christmas story. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without out this blessed story.

The Snowman By: Raymond Briggs

      The Snowman  is a wordless story about a boy who builds a snowman and has a series of adventures with his new friend. As a literacy specialist, I adore this book! This books allows children's imagination's to soar and let them be their own authors. The Snowman builds background knowledge and gets the conversation going!

Madeline's Christmas By: Ludwig Bemelmans

     When my daughter was young, Madeline was her favorite companion. She was Madeline on Halloween. We even took a picture of Madeline to the salon so that she could get the exact same haircut as Madeline. So, needless to say, Madeline's Christmas, was her favorite Christmas story! 
    It's the night before Christmas and everyone is sick in bed. Everyone, except Madeline, who is up and feeling just fine. Taking care of eleven little girls and Miss Clavel is hard work, but Madeline finds help from a magical merchant selling flying carpets door-to-door. Now, thanks to Madeline, the girls are going on a Christmas journey that will surely make them forget all about their sniffles and sneezes. Who can resist madeline!

The Little Drummer Boy By: Ezra Jack Keats

     I love my family and friends, far and near.  The Little Drummer Boy, is the favorite Christmas story of Wendy, my brother's sister-in-law in Georgia.  As a child, this story always brought tears to my eyes. As the story goes, a procession travels to Bethlehem, bringing gifts for the baby Jesus. The little drummer boy comes along, but is too poor to bring a present fit for a king. So, he gives the only gift he can give, he plays a song on his drum for the Christ Child. This gift is from the heart and is the true meaning of Christmas.

Elf on the Shelf  By: Carol Aebersold and Charda Bell

     The Elf on the Shelf was created and written by Carol Aebersold and Charda Bell. In this new tradition, a scout elf is sent from sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. A family must adopt a scout elf and give it a name. The scout elf hides in the child's home and returns every night to the North Pole to report to Santa. Each morning the scout elf hides in a different, secret spot in the child's home.  This is the favorite tradition of my children's babysitter who was also our perfect neighbor, Kiley! Kiley and her daughter Jocelyn have fun trying to keep track of Evey in their home! If Jocelyn is anything like Kiley, I know that Evey only has good things to report back to Santa! I wish that Elf on the Shelf was around when my kids were young!

The Christmas Trolls By: Jan Brett

     Christmas, as it is for many of us is Treva's favorite time of the year. This year Treva has a problem. Her Christmas presents and decorations are mysteriously disappearing. She sees a small creature with her Christmas pudding and follows it. Treva finds two trolls who want to have Christmas but don't understand it! It is they who have been taking all of Treva's holiday goods! What will Treva do? 
     Thank you to Annette a fellow educator for sharing her favorite holiday story. Who can resist Jan Brett with her almost magical illustrations!

The Polar Express  By: Chris Van Allsburg

     A young boy lies awake in his bed trying to hear the sound of Santa's sleigh. A friend had told him that Santa did not exist, but he wants so desperately to believe.  He doesn't hear Santa's sleigh, but instead hears a steam engine locomotive that is parked right in front of his house! He ventures outside. The conductor invites him to board the Polar Express. He and the other children on the locomotive travel to the North Pole. Once there, the boy is chosen to receive the first gift. He chooses a silver bell from Santa's Sleigh. He is heartbroken when he returns home only to discover that he lost the bell. On Christmas morning the boy opens a box from under his Christmas tree. Inside is the silver bell. Only the boy and his sister can hear it ring. the boy can hear the bell ring into adulthood giving him the spirit of Christmas. 

The Legend of Old Befana By: Tomie DePaola

       It is Befana who brings gifts to Italian children on Epiphany. The celebration of Befana, who flies across the sky on Twelfth Night, leaving cakes and cookies for children as they sleep, is a beloved story in Italy. Befana is a grumpy, poor, fussy old woman. One day, three kings show up at her door. They are following a star, and looking for a miraculous baby. The kings urge Befana to come with them, but Befana is so busy with her household tasks she thinks she doesn't have time.
     Gradually,  the idea of a baby who comes for the poor  and attracts kings, moves her and she decides to follow. She gathers up some goodies she has just baked and a few toys to bring as gifts for the new baby. But she has waited too long, and although she keeps following the star, she never finds the baby Jesus.

Auntie Claus  By: Elise Primavera

     Auntie Claus is a zany New Yorker, but seems like so much more!  Young Sophie has often wondered about her unusual great-aunt,Auntie Claus. She lives in penthouse 25C at the Bing Cherry Hotel and is so interesting in a one-of-a-kind-way! Auntie Claus serves Christmas cookies all year long and her tree is always the best-decorated in the city. Every year she takes an annual "business trip," right around the holidays. Seems odd, right? So, this year Sophie is decides to get to the bottom of Auntie Claus's unusual ways. Children love this unique Christmas story. My children were convinced that "Auntie Claus" was really their dear Auntie Linda! Auntie Linda, right along with Santa Claus stole their heart every Christmas!

Llama, Llama, Jingle Bells  By: Anna Dewdney

     With short and simple rhyming text, the Llama Llama board books introduce infants  and toddlers to Llama Llama before they're ready for longer full-length stories. In Llama Llama Jingle Bells, little Llama and his friends give gifts, sing songs, and decorate holiday cookies. It’s a merry holiday for all! The books small size and durable pages are perfect for little hands. Creating a love for reading in young children gives them a gift of life-long reading.

Hooray for Hanukkah By:Fran Manushkin

     This is a very different approach to the traditional Hanukkah story. It's one family’s celebration of the spectacular, Jewish holiday as seen from the perspective of their menorah! From the first night lighting the first candle, the menorah describes how the family celebrates and how it feels to glow with more light each night. The  author's emphasis on light gives the story of this family holiday a very special warmth. 

Seven Spools of Thread- A Kwanzaa Story By: Angela Shelf Medearis

       In an African village live seven brothers who make family life uncomfortable with their constant bickering. When their father dies, he leaves an unusual will: by sundown, the brothers must make gold out of seven spools of thread. If they fail, they will be turned out as beggars. Using the Nguzo Saba, or "seven principals" of Kwanzaa, Angela Medearis, has created an unforgettable story that shows how family members can pull together, for their own good and the good of the entire community. A very good tale.

Polar the Titanic Bear By: Daisy Corning Stone Spedden

      This is a story told in the first person by a child's toy bear in an astounding way. Polar was created by the famous Steiff toy company in Germany. He was sold from the shelves of F. A. O. Schwarz, and delivered into the hands of Douglas Spedden. Douglas was the only child of the author and her husband. They were wealthy New Yorkers. Polar accompanied  Douglas and his family on their travels. Polar describes transoceanic voyages, a visit to the Panama Canal which was under construction at the time, and wintering at the family home in Tuxedo Park. The climax of Polar's journeys is his account of their sail aboard and rescue from the fallen "Titanic". Polar's story, written by Daisy Spedden was a Christmas gift for her son in 1913. It is presented here in a beautiful photo-album format. Family photographs as well as postcards, tickets, and shipping labels from the time period are attractively displayed in the text. The illustrator, Laurie McGaw, painted  magnificent watercolors which draw inspiration from both the snapshots and Victorian styles from the period. This book is rich in history and is a real conversation starter when read with wide-eyed children.

The Jolly Christmas Postman By: Janet and Allan Ahlberg

     The Jolly Postman was a favorite of my children when they were young. Every page has a new surprise! It's almost as if the reader is receiving gifts! The Jolly Postman rides again with more real letters, and presents, in his Christmas postbag. 
    The Jolly Postman returns with a pouch overflowing with holiday cheer.  He has letters from the Big Bad Wolf, a miniature book, a terrible board game, even a Humpty Dumpty jigsaw puzzle, and more, all tucked into envelopes bound right into the book. My kids couldn't wait to see what each page had in store!

SnowBoy 1, 2, 3 By: Joe Wahman

      Written by Joe Wahman and illustrated by Wendy Wahman this is a cute first counting book for a young child. Actually, I will be making my nephew, Dante, a Holiday Reading Jar, for his first Christmas and Snowboy 1, 2, 3 will be included. Likw Snowboy, I am sure that soon Dante will be counting and making all kinds of new friends.

Olivia and the Christmas Present Adapted by: Farrah McDoogle


     Olivia is based on the television series "Olivia" on Nickelodeon. It was Christmas Eve and Olivia had something very important to take care of. It was to hide Ian's Christmas gift. She searches high and low to find a place to hide Ian's gift. In the end, Olivia's favorite gift is the one that she surprises Ian with.

Merry Christmas Ollie By: Olivier Dunrea

    This is a beautifully written tale that will be enjoyed for generations.
     It's Christmas Eve. Gossie and Gertie hang their bright colored boots in the barn. Peedie and BooBoo hang their striped stockings in the barn. Ollie stomps through the snow. Just like with little children, it's not easy to wait for Father Christmas Goose and/or Santa Claus!

Arthur Christmas: Arthur to the Rescue By: Annie Auerbach

       Santa and the elves thought they’d completed another successful Christmas. Then a siren goes off at the North Pole’s Mission Control. Oh dear, a red alert! A present has been discovered which means a child was almost forgotten! It’s up to Arthur, Santa’s clumsy son who is not good with technology, and his  grandpa, Grandsanta, to deliver the gift and save the day. But this duo is off to a rocky start—Arthur is afraid of heights and fast-moving vehicles, and Grandsanta’s  maps are outdated. On top of this, Santa has a new herd of reindeer that has never flown.  Arthur had better find some old-fashioned Christmas magic if he’s going to save Christmas!

Arthur Christmas: Elf Invasion  By: Annie Auerbach

       It's finally Christmas Eve!  Santa has a very big job to do, to deliver Christmas gifts to all of the good boys and girls. Santa is lucky because he has hundreds of elves to help him get the job done!  The elves sneak into houses and use special gadgets, they are quite high-tech. Steve and Arthur Claus, santa's sons help too.

The Twelve Days of Christmas in South Carolina  By: Melinda Long

     Conner is very excited about his cousin Laura's visit to his house for Christmas in South Carolina.  Conner gets wonderful South Carolina themed gifts for the twelve days of Christmas. Laura writes letters home to tell her parents about each each one.  The story is sing-songy to the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas." It's a nice book that teaches children about various things that are unique to South Carolina.

The Story of Christmas According to St. Luke

     This book shows my age as well as how much I have always cared for my books, it was copyrighted in 1965 by Whitman Publishing Company.  It is the story of the first Christmas as told by St Luke. The illustrations have the look of being handpainted. It is a rich, vintage treasure!

The Hat By: Jan Brett

     What a delightful story by Jan Brett. This was one of my son Nathan's favorite books. It's the story of Lisa, who hangs her woolen clothes outside to air them out from sitting in a wooden trunk during the warmer months.  A strong wind blows her stocking right off the clothesline! Wait until you see what happens as Lisa finds her woolens that blew from the line! Enjoy!