Are you ready to start celebrating the ho-ho-holidays? This month’s Kid Lit post features books about December festivities including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa for children aged 3-10.
A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas
By Philip Yates, illustrated by Sebastia Serra (Sterling)
Young mateys will find plenty of holiday joy in this humorous, colorful and thoroughly piratical version of the “The Night Before Christmas.” On this ship, the mischievous brigands have visions of treasure chests, not sugar plums dancing in their heads.
This ship of pirates don’t expect a visit from old St. Nick, but rather from Sir Peggedy, with his peg leg and hook arm! Sir Peggedy cracks a whip and drives a team of eight giant seahorses — Salty, Scurvy, Sinbad, Mollie, Cutthroat, Cross-Eyes, Roger and Jolly!
This book by far is my kidlets favorite out of the bunch. It is filled with rollicking rhymes and sprightly, fun-filled pictures—featuring whimsically multicolored seahorses, stockings hung on the ship’s bowsprit with tar, child-friendly pirates, and, of course, comes complete with a treasure map!
A Christmas Wish For Corduroy
By BG Hennessy, illustrated by Jody Wheeler (Penguin)
It’s almost Christmas and Corduroy wishes he could be a child’s holiday gift—but he’s just a plain bear, and nobody seems to notice him. He sets out across the store to ask Santa Claus for help, but he can’t visit without wearing a special outfit! After stopping to try on hats, boots, and even baby clothes, Corduroy finally arrives at the North Pole. Can Santa help Corduroy find a new home in time for Christmas?
If you grew up, like I did, loving the story of Corduroy, this one is a no-brainer. This book features the same classic art featured in the original story. It is a heartwarming story for children (and adults) about the power of hope, perseverance, and friendship.
The Great Reindeer Rebellion
By Lisa Trumbauer, illustrated by Jannie Ho (Sterling)
This book is another playful take on “The Night Before Christmas” and gives kids a fun behind-the-scenes peek into Santa’s workshop.
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and somewhere up north, dear Santa was frantic-he paced back and forth. He had just heard some news that he sure didn’t like: it seemed that the reindeer were going on STRIKE!”
Oh, no! There’s trouble brewing in the North Pole. Santa’s reindeer have gone on strike and he’s auditioning other animals to take their place on Christmas Eve. But when the cats abandon their stations to chase some mice and the elephants fall through the roof, what’s Santa to do? Will his eight trusty reindeer ever fly again?
Beautiful Yetta’s Hanukkah Kitten
By Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Jill Pinkwater (Macmillian)
Yetta is a Yiddish-speaking chicken who escaped her fate from a butcher’s shop and makes her home in Brooklyn. It’s now winter and Yetta her Spanish-speaking nestmates – a bunch of wild parrots – fluff their feathers and huddle together in their warm nest on top of a street light. But one snowy night, Yetta hears a small sound. Mew! It’s a kitten, and it’s cold and hungry. Yetta wants to take care of it, but the parrots aren’t so sure. Aren’t cats dangerous? Fortunately, it’s Hannukah-when humans are in a good mood for the kitty – who in turn reveals it can teach the parrots a thing or two about latkes.
An interesting multicultural book – which includes both Yiddish and Spanish translations and pronunciation guides. The story models kindness and introduces kids not only to languages but also customs to which they may be familiar.
When, When, When Will It Be Christmas
By Cathy MacLennan (Sterling)
Look—what do you see? Red, red berries, and a green, green tree.
Ballerina mice frosting a snowy white cake, and pretty wrapping, bows, and tape. All the signs are in the air—it’s almost that time of year. But when, when, when will Christmas be here?
A festive picture book that is filled with both rhyme and rhythm – an easy and fun read for the whole family.
My First Kwanzaa
By Karen Katz (Square Fish)
A little girl describes how she and her family celebrate the seven days of Kwanzaa. Day by day there are different things that the African culture does to prepare for the last day.
Each page talks about a different tradition during the holiday and provides the African words and their pronunciations.
A vibrantly illustrated book that is a good primer for children on the principles of Kwanzaa — unity, self-determination, working together, helping our neighborhood grow, purpose, creativity, and faith.
Latke, the Lucky Dog
By Ellen Fischer, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke (Kar-Ben)
Latke is a rescue dog, named for his fur’s resemblance to potato pancakes. He’s having a rough time making the transition to his new home after he is rescued from a shelter by a family as a Hanukkah gift. Latke doesn’t just eat all the actual latkes, he slobbers on the gelt and chews up the menorah candles. “I’m the right dog,” he thinks. “I love it here. I just need to learn the rules.” By the eighth night, Latke has his head in the game and feels secure in his family’s love.
This sweet story is told from Latke’s point of view. The story highlights the holiday’s traditions as well as the love between a dog and his new family. Features cheerful and textured illustrations that totally capture the mischievous nature of Latke!
Merry Stirring Mice: Santa’s Secret Team
By Cynthia Dreeman Meyer, illustrated by Marina Saumell & Maria Eugenia Papeo (Beckham Publications Group)
Find out what really goes on the night before Christmas in this delightful turnaround on the claim, “not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!” Watch Mama Mouse and Papa Mouse show their kids, Max and Molly, how to prepare for the MAN aka Santa Clause “Help your sister stir the candy cane mix,” Mama Mouse begins. Soon come the sugar plums, the candy canes, and finally the note that says “For Santa.”
Playful illustrations and there’s even a mischievous spider capering through every illustration – make sure to search for him, he always seems to be in the thick of it!
Now it’s your turn to share. What’s are some of your favorite holiday books to read?
For Full Disclosure: The Harried Mom was not compensated for this post and has no affiliate links. However, I did receive copies of some of the above-mentioned books for review purposes. As always, the opinions expressed in this post and on The Harried Mom blog are all my very own and are not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing any products as your opinion may differ.
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