31 Children's Books for December

31 Children's Books for December

Inside: Children’s book suggestion for every day in December – unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. Click on each month to be taken directly to that list: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune,  July, August, September, October, and November


When I started my A Book for Every Day of the Year project a year ago, I certainly had a few moments of trepidation… what if I couldn’t find 365 brilliant books? But as it turns out, I didn’t have anything to worry about. We are lucky to live in a time when the children’s picture book industry is booming! There really is an endless supply of amazing books. When you read these with your children, you’re sure to hear, “Read it again!”

 

Our December finds are especially sweet, cozy, and memorable. From cookies to kindness, Christmas trees to family time, this month’s selections reflect the miracle of the season and the power of simple moments to become our life’s most treasured memories.

 

But it’s not just about Christmas.  In December we also celebrate the birthdays of Walt Disney, Jane Austin, Beethoven, and Grace Hopper, as well as an array of smaller holidays (some of which you may not have known about!): New Year’s Eve, International Civil Aviation Day, Dewey Decimal System Day, The Day for the Abolition of Slavery, winter solstice, and of course Christmas, Kwanza, and Hanukkah.  They all offer an opportunity to teach your kids about something or someone that doesn’t usually come up in day-to-day conversation. They’ll be informing our book choices as well, and will hopefully save you from Christmas overload!

 

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, imaginative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I will get a commission. Thank you for supporting Kid Minds! 

 

December Books

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, imaginative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

1 – Humble Pie, Jennifer Donnelly (National Pie Day)

If you love pies and traditional fairy tales (and who doesn’t), you will thoroughly enjoy this story. Once upon a time, there was a boy named Theo, who was rude, lazy, and unkind. One day his grandmother decides to teach him a lesson and seals him in a berry pie. Poor Theo learns a few valuable lessons while villagers are trying to bake him and eat him.

 

Whether or not you’re a fan of this rather medieval style of justice, it’s a great story about how our actions affect others. It’s also a great demonstration of one of my favorite ideas: we are under no obligation to be the person we were yesterday. At any given moment we can choose to be better: more loving, more humble, or whatever “better” means to us.

 

The waggish illustrations fit the story like a glove. We love the comic details, exaggeration, and dramatic switch between bright rainbow colors and brownish pencil sketches.

 

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, imaginative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

2 – Freedom in Congo Square, Carole Boston Weatherford (International Day for the Abolition of Slavery)

Contrary to popular belief, the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery does not celebrate the end of slavery but rather brings awareness to the fact that slavery is not over. According to the UN, 40 million people are trapped in some form of slavery today: forced labor, child labor, human trafficking, and arranged marriages.

 

Slavery is an extremely difficult topic to broach with your children, but Freedom in Congo Square is a good place to start. With simple, lyrical rhymes, Carole Boston Weatherford takes the reader through a week in the life of slaves in New Orleans. “Mondays, there were hogs to slop, mules to train, and logs to chop. Slavery was no ways fair. Six more days to Congo Square.”  The extensive forward and endnotes explain what made Congo Square famous in history, the next step once your children are ready for it. The energetic illustrations by artist Gregorie Christie evoke African folk art.

 

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, imaginative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

3 – The Gift of Nothing, Patrick McDonnell (Make a Gift Day + Hug Day)

How can we express our love and gratitude for each other this time of the year? This simple story answers this question with charm and wit. It starts with Mooch, the observant cat, reflecting on what he hears and sees around him. They say there’s nothing to do, he recalls, but they are always doing something. They say there’s nothing on TV while staring at the screen. They go to the store and say that there’s nothing to buy, but as far as Mooch can tell, nothing is not for sale. He decides to give his best friend plenty of nothing, and it becomes the very best gift possible. The drawings, also by the author, are delightful in their simplicity. It’s a beautiful story about the value of what cannot be bought and sold; we can’t stop reading it again and again. 

Related: Kid-Made Christmas Gift: Hot Cocoa Tubes

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, imaginative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

4 – Gus and Grandpa and the Christmas Cookies, Claudie Mills (National Cookie Day)

This is a longer book than I usually recommend here, but it’s so warm and enveloping you won’t even notice. Imagine a small, cozy kitchen filled with the aroma of freshly baked cookies on a cold and snowy December day. In this kitchen, a young boy and his perky grandpa are cutting the dough into stars, bells, and Christmas trees, decorating them with colorful frosting and sprinkles. Don’t worry, there is more to the story than just baking: two trips to the store, visits by three neighbors, and plenty of lessons on kindness, togetherness, and the meaning of the season. The watercolor winter scenes that accompany the story are just gorgeous.  You won’t mind spending your time in them. 

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, imaginative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

5 – When Walt Disney Rode a Pig, Mark Weakland (Walt Disney’s Birthday)

I read a couple of Disney biographies, and I think Mark Weakland did a great job of putting it together for a younger audience. From his humble beginnings in Chicago to becoming one of the richest people in the world, the life of Walter Disney is full of inspiration and hard work. Yes, he was extremely poor, didn’t finish high school, and had no connections in show business, but he had something very important: he had a dream. He was also willing to work hard. “No one works harder than Walt,” people said about him. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing,” Disney replied.

 

Read this book to find out how Disney turned his dream into a kingdom. The illustrations are super cute and entertaining, and the story is very well written. I love this book for educational and inspirational value. It fills me with the certainty that “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, imaginative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

6 – The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale, Aaron Shepard (St. Nicholas Day)

There are a few theories as to why a baker’s dozen is 13, but none of them as imaginative and entertaining as this one. Van Amsterdam is an honest and talented baker living in a Dutch Colonial town in New York. On the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, he is visited by St. Nicholas himself, disguised as an old lady. She requests twelve cookies and petulantly insists that a dozen is thirteen. Van Amsterdam declares that his customers get exactly what they pay for – not more and not less, and the old woman retaliates by jinxing him.

The main point I emphasize with my children here is that one cannot live one’s life carefully keeping score of what one gives. When choosing between giving more and giving less, why not give more? “I’m not going to feed the cat, I did it yesterday, it’s your turn” mentality is ungenerous.  Simply put, life is better when you learn to give freely without keeping score. The rich and detailed paintings in this book are simply marvelous.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

7 – Lighter Than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot, Matthew Clark Smith (International Civil Aviation Day)

As American aviator Eddie Rickenbacker once said, ‘Aviation is proof that given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.” One of the people who lived up to this challenge was Sophie Blanchard, a shy girl from a sleepy village by the sea in eighteenth-century France. Even as a child she wanted to fly like a bird, but the men around her jeered that the sky was too fierce for a woman. Well, it just goes to show that they didn’t know what they were talking about!

 

Sophie Blanchard became the first female pilot when she made her solo ascent in a balloon in 1805. In spite of society’s desire to put limits on women, she earned her living by doing air shows, and was even named Chief Air Minister of Ballooning by Emperor Napoleon. I don’t know why this historical figure is not more widely known! She is as fascinating as she is inspiring.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

8 – The 39 Apartments of Ludwig van Beethoven, Jonah Winter (Ludwig van Beethoven’s Birthday)

Today is the birthday of the great Beethoven, the most recognized and influential musician of all time. In this vibrant biographical story, the author sets out to investigate why Beethoven lived in 39 different apartments in and around Vienna. There is not enough historical data to know for certain why Beethoven moved so much or just how he managed to move five pianos in and out of the tiny doorways, attic studios, and basement flats! But Jonah Winter has come up with a very creative take on the whole affair.

Despite the hilarity and humor, this book is an examination of human suffering. Can you imagine how it must have felt to be the best composer in the world and to know that you were going deaf? This is the kind of book that makes my kids realize it’s actually a privilege to sit down at the piano and play. The first thing my daughter does after reading this book is to make a beeline for the piano to play some Beethoven pieces.

Related: Inspiring Books for Children Who Are Learning to Play Musical Instruments

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9 – Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, Laurie Wallmark (Grace Hopper’s Birthday)

Have you ever wondered where the expression “computer bug” came from? It turns out it was born out of Grace Hopper’s sharp wit. When Grace Hopper’s eyebrow tweezers were used to remove a dead moth from an early electromechanical computer, she joked that it was the “first actual case of bug being found…”  If you don’t know much about “amazing Grace,” you should definitely get this book.

 

I often find that STEM books, written to encourage kids’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math, are quite preachy and more entertaining for parents than kids, but this one is an exception. Even though it’s on the longer end, the fun illustrations move the story along, and the content is worth the read. Besides learning a lot about this pioneering computer scientist, you will also discover how unconventional thinking can be the key to solving problems.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

10 – Lost in the Library, Josh Funk (Dewey Decimal System Day)

Are you familiar with the Dewey Decimal System? It’s named for Melvil Dewey, an American librarian who, in 1876, invented and copyrighted the Dewey library classification system that we still use today in 135 countries around the world. It only takes a few minutes to learn, and if you use libraries a lot, understanding it saves you a ton of time.

 

I thought a book about a library would be a great pick for today. Lost in the Library is about two lions that have been standing outside New York City library since 1911. As Fortitude (one of the lions) learns, his side-kick, Patience, has been sneaking into the library at night while he was sleeping. Why? To read books, of course! Your kids will probably be delighted to recognize the familiar authors and see the pages of familiar books (i.e., Cups for Sale, Amelia Bedelia, …). “Patience, did you learn these stories for me?” Fortitude asked – but he knew. Patience just nodded and said, “Well, you see, I love sharing stories with you.” A very beautiful book on books!

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

11 – A World of Cookies for Santa, M. E. Furman

Do you know the first place in the world to welcome Christmas Day each year? It’s a little island in the southern Pacific called Christmas Island. The children on this island prepare for Santa’s visit by making him sweet coconut macaroons. Then, as the sun gradually lights up the next and the next sliver of the world, Christmas Day dawns on New Zealand and Australia, Japan and Indonesia, Russia, Denmark and beyond, with delectable treats to match, of course. With vibrant illustrations and a succinct text, this book follows Santa’s Christmas ride across the globe.

 

You will learn a lot about different traditions and what sweets children in other countries leave for Santa. If you like to cook with your kids, you will love the recipes in the book.  It might be a fun new addition to your seasonal traditions arsenal to cook a new international Christmas treat each year…

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

12 – Home Alone, Kim Smith

Did you know that Home Alone was the highest-grossing live-action comedy film of all time when it came out, A title it held for over twenty years? If you love the movie as much as we do, you will enjoy this illustrated storybook. This story of an eight-year-old who woke up one day to discover that he had the house all to himself is now a classic. Too bad the burglars decided to spoil all the fun for the boy, but not for the viewers and readers, of course. The story wouldn’t be half as much fun without all the snooping and plotting. Colorful illustrations, battle plans, booby traps, humor, and the sweetest letter for Santa, “Dear Santa, I don’t need any presents. Just bring back my family.”  I love the heartening message: family is the best thing in the world. 

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

13 – I Wish You More, Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Some books are so utterly amazing that the world is a better place for their existence, and we are better people for reading them. The kind and thoughtful I Wish You More is one of these books. The pages recount a collection of wishes from parent to child, “I wish you more ups than downs. I wish you more give than take.” The wishes are filled with tender sentiments. I dare you to read this book without a tear or two…

Beyond the good wishes, it’s the unexpected wordplay that makes these lessons delightful and memorable: “I wish you more can than knot” accompanied by an ILLUSTRATION of a young girl struggling to tie her sneakers. My son’s favorite is “I wish you more snowflakes than tongue” and mine has to be the thought-provoking “I wish you more pause than fast-forward.”

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

14 – Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, Laura Muray (Gingerbread Decorating Day)

If you’re as tired as I am of the traditional Gingerbread Man story, you’ll be happy to come across this fresh and funny twist. Gingerbread Man Loose in the School is what might have happened if the gingerbread man was baked by a bunch of school kids during class and left him to cool down during recess… It’s written in bouncy rhymes, “I’m the Gingerbread Man, and I’m trying to find the children who made me, but left me behind.” “Your class turned the corner just minutes ago. Try asking the art teacher. Maybe he’ll know.” As you guessed, in this variation, the gingerbread man is not trying to run away, but to find the children who left him behind. The bright and bold illustrations are done in panes like in a comic book. It might be fun for you to compare and contrast this version with the traditional tale.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

15 – The First Snow, David Christiana

We love books that take a look at the common elements of our world and present them with a unique angle. In this imaginative myth, Mother Nature, The Wind, Summer, Winter, and Aunt Arctica are just beginning to figure out their places (and times) in the world. The long warm spell is over, and Winter is at the door, but Mother Nature will have none of it. After a bit of back-and-forth with a few victories and a few losses on each side (we might call it autumn), Winter distracts Mother Nature with a gentle lullaby as the first snow falls “from the sky like angels’ tears.”

 

The imagery creates a lyrical emotional journey, and the delicate illustrations give an impression of dreamy unworldliness. I also appreciate that the book leaves room for many interpretations.  For us, it stimulated a discussion about the natural flow of things and the difference between giving up (quitting) and letting go (embracing).  

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

16 – Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen, Deborah Hopkinson (Jane Austin’s Birthday)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of our greatest writers. But it might surprise you to know that Jane lived a simple life.” Two hundred years ago, English middle-class parents kept their daughters at home while their brothers traveled the world and got a splendid education in fancy universities. But Jane didn’t let lack of outside schooling and travel opportunities to stop her from learning and writing. She read voraciously and became a student of human psychology through her acute observations of people around her. She became a published (and successful) writer during her lifetime, a rare feat for any writer, even though the title page simply said “by a lady” rather than her name. The captivating soft pen and watercolor artwork by our favorite illustrator, Qin Leng, add richness and engage kids on many levels.  This story, both sad and inspirational, is a good introduction to social stigmas and the power of individuals to overcome them. 

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

17 – Shelter, Celine Claire

Here is another wonderful book illustrated by the talented Qin Leng! In my house, it’s a family favorite. A winter storm is coming (coincidentally, we’re expecting a storm in Chicago, and the wind is already 60 miles per hour), and the animals in the forest all set to work to prepare in time. Out of nowhere come two strangers woefully unprepared for what’s to come, but it’s everybody for him- or her-self in the forest. Or is it? Stories about sharing, caring, and a sense of community are usually preachy and patronizing, but not this one. It reads like an old fashioned fairy tale, and the artwork will give you a swell of nostalgia. It reminds me of the quality, old-fashioned stories I read as a child.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

18 – Vanishing Colors, Constance Ørbeck-Nilssen (International Migrants Day)

International Migrants Day was created to recognize the contributions of migrants to their new home countries, rather than perpetuate the idea that they are a burden. There are quite a few sobering books about immigrants and immigration (Oskar and the Eight Blessings and Birdsong come to mind), some of them sadder than others. I chose Vanishing Colors because it has the whole package: a great story, exceptional artwork, and a message of hope.

 

In an unidentified war-torn country, a young girl is trying to remember her life before all the colors of happy existence were replaced by grey, burned, and broken tones. She learns that the key to feeling better is to reach inside her mind for happy memories and hold onto the determination to “find a way.” If you like poetry, you might see the resemblance with Mother Teresa’s poem Do It Anyway. “What you spend years building, someone can destroy overnight, Build it Anyway… The Good You Do Today, People Will Often Forget Tomorrow, Do Good Anyway.”  One of the things I look for in children’s literature is an opportunity to build human empathy and this book is a fine example.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

19 – How Santa Got His Job, Stephen Krensky

Whether your children believe in Santa Clause or not (my kids are divided), they will be delighted to learn how Santa’s life experiences uniquely shaped him to become so well suited for the job of delivering presents to children. When Santa was a young man, he worked as a chimney sweeper, a mailman, chef at an all-night diner, and as a zookeeper so tuned in with his animals that he always knew when they were sleeping and when they were awake, and whether they behaved or not.  Can you see the pieces coming together? 

 

This is a great book to talk with your kids about the value of experience, and how, even when it’s not ideal, we have a chance to learn something from it. I know for a fact that some of my worst job experiences were the most educational.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

20 – The Wish Tree, Kyo Maclear

Remember Shel Silverstein, “If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar…. A magic bean buyer…come sit by my fire… Come in! Come in!” Well, if you have a dreamer and a wisher, then this zappy book is for you. A young boy by the name of Charles wants to find a wish tree. His siblings say there is no such thing, and he isn’t totally sure there is, but he has a whole day to himself so why not to try. As Charles walks through the snowy forest he meets various animals in need and lends them a helping hand.  Then, when Charles falls asleep from exhaustion, the animals take him to the wishing tree… The story ends with a delectable forest tea party with hazelnut souffle (oh my!), pot of birch tree (yes, please!) and berry biscuits (mmmm). If you loved the charming tales of Beatrix Potter as a child, this book may belong with you.  

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

21 – A Homemade Together Christmas, Maryann Cocca-Leffler (Winter Solstice)

The shortest day of the year has always been celebrated with fire, burned logs, and candles. Scientists have some evidence that winter solstice celebrations go as far back as the last part of the Stone Age, about 10,200 BC. Creating as much light as possible to pass away the longest night of the year is comforting and simply fun. Make an ice candle with your kids this year for a touch of something different and creative. 

 

We got a whole bunch of books about winter solstice from the library, but even though they were very educational (and might be interesting for adults) kids find them pretty boring. Instead, I recommend another seasonal favorite of ours, A Homemade Together Christmas. It’s the best story to make you feel the spirit of the season. Luca’s family decides to make homemade Christmas gifts this year, but what they learn from the experience might be completely unexpected. There is a bit of mystery, a lot of love, and the beautiful sentiment that being together is the most important thing.  Light some candles today and cozy up around a warming story. 

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

22 – Hanukkah Bear, Eric Kimmel (Hanukkah starts today)

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that lasts eight days and starts at the end of November or in December (depending on how Jewish and Gregorian calendars correlate each year – another fascinating topic!?). Until fairly recently, I thought that Hanukkah was a Jewish version of Christmas, but as it turns out, it is a completely independent celebration that has to do with Jewish victory over Syrian army in the 2nd century BCE.

 

Hanukkah Bear is an entertaining story about a blunder. On a Hanukkah night, an old woman gets a visitor, but because she is almost deaf and blind (she is close to a hundred years old after all), she doesn’t realize that it’s a bear attracted by the smell of her delicious latkes (potato pancakes). With bright and dynamic artwork, Mike Wohnoutka depicts the old woman and the bear lighting the menorah, saying special blessings, playing dreidel, and eating latkes. The story was way more fun than the many other picture books about Hanukkah we read with kids.  

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

23 – The Trees of the Dancing Goats,  Patricia Polacco

No summary will do justice to this wonderful winter tale. It’s not just what Patricia Polacco is writing about. It’s the whole package: the way she paints the story, the unique and deep characters, and of course, the gorgeous artwork (our favorites are winter snow scenes, but the pencil portraits are absolutely mesmerizing as well). It always amazes me to remember that because of unrecognized dyslexia, Patricia Polacco didn’t learn how to read until she was fourteen, and she didn’t publish her first book until she was in her forties.  Lucky for us, she didn’t give up and now we can all benefit from her beautiful work. 

 

In The Trees of the Dancing Goats, we follow the author’s own family as they get ready to celebrate Hanukkah in the midst of a scarlet fever epidemic that hit their village. What can they do to help their neighbors who are very ill and highly contagious? As it turns out, a lot. This book will really make you think about the world around you and how we can always make a difference when we want to.  And the dancing goats? Well… you’ll see. 

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

24 – The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton (Christmas Eve)

This now-famous rhyming text is patterned after the original The Night Before Christmas and seeing a familiar story, especially one so fancifully crafted and illustrated, in a new light made my kids break into hoots of laughter. Three reasons my kids love this book: (1) It combines their two favorite holidays: Halloween and Christmas, (2) they think the idea of Halloween monsters taking over Christmas is brilliant, and (3) they would love to get possessed dolls for Christmas.

 

This is not your typical cozy Christmas love story. Here, Santa Claus is kidnapped, children are receiving nightmare-inducing gifts, and bullets fly through the night sky. If you are still looking for something more traditional, check out The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and other Seasonal Favorites and Brenda Seabrooke’s ‘Twas the Day before Christmas: the Story of Clement Clarke Moore’s Beloved Poem.

 

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

25 – It’s Christmas! Jack Prelutsky (Christmas Day)

What children love about Prelutsky’s poetry is that he uses the simple words that children understand and talks about experiences they can relate to.  I bet many children in the world know firsthand what’s like to receive an overly prosaic gift from a distant relation, “I wish she’d send a model plane, or even a big stuffed bear, I’d take a box of stones and rocks, but please! no underwear.”  In this volume of twelve poems he includes a letter to Santa (“Dear Santa Claus, it’s me again reminding you I’m here.”), a Christmas tree (“Daddy also sprained his shoulder, banged an elbow, scraped a knee, as I helped him up, he muttered, “Son! Next year we’ll buy our tree.”), and many more. I don’t want to give it all away. 

 

There’s a bit of naughty sparkle in the sweet drawings depicting traditional American holiday traditions. Whether your kids are already poetry lovers or resist poetry readings, get this zippy book to read on Christmas Day this year.  You may find them asking for more poetry!

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

26 – Seven Spools of Thread: a Kwanzaa Story, Angela Shelf Medearis (Kwanza)

Kwanzaa is a week-long secular celebration of African heritage that starts every year on December 26. It’s a relatively new holiday that was invented by an activist and humanist, Dr. Maulana Karenga, in 1966. Dr. Kerenga named it Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits” in Swahili, in honor of ancient African harvest celebrations.  He even invented special symbols to go with it – seven candles that stand for seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, co-operative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

 

All of these seven principles of Kwanzaa are beautifully demonstrated in the story of Seven Spools of Thread. I originally started to read this book to only one of my children, but the other three, who were also in the room, couldn’t resist the pull of the story. An old windowed man is raising seven sons, who refuse to get along. They argue, shout, and even shove, hit, and kick each other. When the old man dies the conditions of his will dictate that the boys have 24 hours to figure out how to work happily together, or all the family possessions will be divided among the village people. The story reads like an ancient folktale, even though it was written in 2000, and the striking artwork arrests attention.  

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

27 – Hortense and the Shadow, Natalia and Lauren O’Hara

It was the intricate and sparkly winter scene on the cover of this book that got my attention, and I was impressed with the story. The authors, a talented two-sisters team, concocted this whimsical fairy tale about accepting ourselves as we are.  At the start of the story, a young girl by the name of Hortense dislikes her shadow, “tall, dark and crooked,” but as she learns soon enough, her shadow was on her side, stretching “for miles to show how far [she] can go.”

 

We all have a part of us that we dislike (i.e., sensitivity, fat ankles, a tendency to overanalyze), but as Hortense discovers in this story, sometimes changing perspective changes everything. Your wiggly audience might not appreciate the nuances of the story, but read it anyway emphasizing intricate brush strokes in the artwork and amazing expression achieved with a limited palette of colors.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

28 – Good Night Like This, Mary Murphy

If you are like me, then extra-long read-alouds before bed with lots of cuddles feels just right this time of the year. The rhyming text and calming illustrations of Good Night Like This make IT a perfect bedtime read. Plus, it’s filled with lovely words that are simply fun to say out loud, and it’s not just my opinion. I noticed my older kids picking this book up regularly on the pretense of reading it to the youngest. “Yawny and dozy, twitchy, and cozy… snorey and furry, stretchy and purry… Swoosh, swish, make a bedtime wish.” And all that lovin’ huggin’ on each page will make you smile and pull your kids in extra close.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

29 – Black Dog, Levi Pinfold (fear)

The first time we read this story to the end, we said, “Huh?” and turned to the first page again to see what we had missed.  Since then, the book became one of our favorites, especially with my younger son. This story is about a family that wakes up one snowy morning to discover a black dog outside their house. Each family member sees the dog as larger and scarier than the one before, until the youngest member of the family, Small, bravely steps outside and tames the wild beast. 

 

Your kids, especially the youngest ones, will probably identify with the story. Kids often feel less powerful, fast, or smart than older family members, and this book teaches a powerful lesson that you can choose to be brave no matter what your age. It also shows the positive impact of facing your fears rather than fighting or hiding from them.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

Author Levi Pinfold uses stylized realism (non-conventional naturalism) to illustrate the story. The result is gorgeous drawings that will give you shivers and catch the imagination of your kids. A word of warning: make sure to explain to your kids that the dog in the story is a metaphor for fears and not a how-to guide on dogs. Strange dogs should never be approached and handled in the manner described in the book.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

30 – Rocks in My Pockets, Marc Harshman and Bonnie Collins (family)

If I was putting together a list of the most heartwarming books you will ever read, this book would definitely be included. A three-generation family lives and works on top of the highest mountain where the winds are fierce enough to blow you away. The soil is rocky, the house is drafty, their farm is not too prosperous, but they have each other, and they have rocks. Rocks? Indeed! You will have to read on to find out what rocks have to do with obstacles, money, and family in this story.

 

It’s a great feel-good book perfect for this time of the year when family, traditions, and the art of being together is on many people’s minds. The hilarious pen-and-watercolor illustrations have a folksy feel. The expressive sense of motion, in particular, is absolutely perfect for a depiction of the wind-blown family in the center of this story.

Children’s book suggestion for every day in December - unforgettable stories, creative plots, and imaginative illustrations. #reading #kidlit #childrensbooks #storytime #kids #familyfun #kidlit #earlylearning #bestpicturebooks #books #raisingreaders #laughingkidslearn #homeschooling #December #winterreadinglist #Decemberbooksforkids #Decemberrbooks #dailyreading #picturebooks #kidsbooks #forkids #booksforkids #childrensillustrations #Christmas

31 – Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolutions, Pat Miller (New Year’s Eve)

When I was growing up, New Year’s Eve was a much bigger celebration than Christmas, and the day still fills me with excitement, as if miracles were waiting for me at every corner. This is also the day when I make my New Year Resolutions. I’m big on resolutions. How about you?

 

In this story, squirrel asks a librarian what “a resolution” is, and learns that it’s a promise we make to ourselves to be better. At first, Squirrel has trouble coming up with ideas, but before long, he has a very good one. This is a fun book to get your kids excited about New Year’s Resolutions.  

 

What are you reading this month? 


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