Although the traditions of the holiday season vary, books are a great way to help us learn about the traditions celebrated by others, as well as enjoy the special holiday stories and activities we know and love.

“Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel!” by Shahar Kober, 2014, Cartwheel Books, ages 3-6.

This board book, in the shape of a dreidel, shares Hanukkah traditions and invites young children to join in the dreidel song.

“Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale” by Eric A. Kimmel, Illustrated by Matthew Trueman, 2014, Disney Hyperion Books, ages 5-8.

As Simon sets off on his long voyage to America, his mother gives him a package and reminds him to celebrate Hanukkah and its miracles. Simon does indeed need a miracle more than once on his journey. In his mother’s package Simon finds a menorah, a dreidel, and latkes that lead him to the eight miracles that will help him to return safely home.

“Eight Jolly Reindeer” by Ilanit Oliver, Illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers, 2014, Cartwheel Books, ages 3-6.

Eight reindeer prepare for their trip with Santa by stretching, jumping, sledding, and running. Count the reindeers as they find their spot in Santa’s lineup. Scalloped edges and glitter make this board book appealing to young readers.

“Roc and Roe’s Twelve Days of Christmas” by Nick Cannon, Illustrated by AG Ford, 2014, Scholastic, ages 4-7.

Twins Moroccan (Roc) and Monroe (Roe) celebrate the twelve days of Christmas with singing Santas, skiing snowmen, chugging choo-choos. Roc and Roe are the children of entertainer Nick Cannon and singer Mariah Carey, and by the twelfth day their tree is decorated with the symbols and fun of Christmas.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Robert L. May, Illustrated by Antonio Javier Caparo, 2014, Little Simon Books, ages 4-8.

Robert May penned this original version of Rudolph’s story in 1939 for the Montgomery Wards department store to give away to customers. May modeled the story after “The Ugly Duckling”. The copyright for the story was given to May in 1947, and over the years the story has been retold in books, cartoons, movies, and also the well-known song. In this book, Caparo’s charming illustrations with embellished details will remind all of the magic of Christmas.

“Star Bright: A Christmas Story” by Alison McGhee, Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, 2014, Atheneum Books, ages 4-8.

A small angel wonders what gift, of everything in this vast world, she could give the special baby born at the end of December. Wind, rain, music, what would be the best gift? Then she lights upon an idea that turns out to be the best gift of all. Soft, colorful watercolor and ink illustrations through the heavens to the night sky above the newborn child.

“The Angel Tree” by Daphne Benedis-Grab, 2014, Scholastic, 246 pages, ages 8-11.

For many years, a large Christmas tree mysteriously appears in the town square just before Christmas. Four kids are on a mission to find and thank the person who started the mysterious angel tree tradition. With hope in their heart, young and old alike tie wishes to the tree. Others in the town find it in their heart to grant the wishes. But this year the wishes seem so big – a new house for a family who experienced a fire, cancer treatment for a blind girl’s dog. Can a small town rally for those in need?

 

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