Christmas stories serve as reminders of holiday customs and a spirit of giving that may elude us during this busy time of year. These holiday picture books will encourage readers of all ages to slow their pace and enjoy the season by reading about acts of kindness and holiday traditions.

“Miracle on 133rd Street” by Sonia Mazano and Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. 2015, Antheneum Books, ages 4-8.

José, his Mami and his Papi, miss the Christmas holidays in Puerto Rico with their many family and friends. The good smells of a delicious holiday roast, bring together neighbors and friends in their new home. The little family learns that the spirit of Christmas extends beyond the borders. Author Sonia Mazano may be known to readers by her role in Sesame Street as Maria. Mazano recently won the Pura Belpré Award for her young adult novel “The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano”.

“An Invisible Thread: Christmas Story” Laura Schroff & Alex Tresniowski, Illustrated by Barry Root, Little Simon, ages 5-10.

Maurice, a homeless and hungry young boy, is befriended by Laura, a single woman, working in the city. Their first shared meal of a burger, fries and a shake leads to a weekly dinner together and a budding friendship. When Laura realizes Maurice has never celebrated a traditional Christmas, she invites him to help her put up a Christmas tree and join her family and friends for a holiday dinner. Laura Schroff is the author of “An Invisible Thread”, a New York Times best seller about her friendship with Maurice and the way small acts of kindness can change the lives of others.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Charles M. Schulz, 2015, Simon Spotlight, ages 4-8.

Readers of all ages will enjoy being reunited with Charlie Brown and the gang, while they search for the perfect Christmas tree. The 30-minute animated television special first aired in 1965, making this the 50th anniversary of beloved holiday tale based on the Peanuts comic strip.

“The Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore, Illustrated by David Ercolini, 2015, Orchard Books, ages 4-10.

First published as “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, Clement Moore wrote the popular Christmas tale “The Night Before Christmas” in 1823. David Ercolini’s cartoon illustrations give this holiday adventure a modern look. In the story, the family’s over-the-top Christmas decorating provides eye candy for readers, with every surface of the house showing the holiday spirit, including the miniature tree in the fish bowl and the lighted garland on the bed headboard. Although the story may be familiar, the detailed illustrations will hold everyone’s attention.

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