Classic Christmas Stories for Children

We all have Christmas stories from our childhood that we still remember…some of us might even have a few of those classic storybooks in our houses now. Here are a few of my favorites.

 


Christmas is almost here, which means ice-skating, Christmas carols, and sparkly lights everywhere–even on Snoopy’s doghouse! Everyone is enjoying the holiday celebrations except Charlie Brown. Can the Peanuts gang help Charlie Brown discover the true meaning of Christmas?

This first one, I actually remember as an animated TV show. Each year it wouldn’t be Christmas without watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. Decades later, it was released as a children’s story. What a great way to honor this holiday tradition.

Dr. Seuss’s small-hearted Grinch ranks right up there with Scrooge when it comes to the crankiest, scowling holiday grumps of all time. For 53 years, the Grinch has lived in a cave on the side of a mountain, looming above the Whos in Whoville. The noisy holiday preparations and infernal singing of the happy little citizens below annoy him to no end. The Grinch decides this frivolous merriment must stop. His “wonderful, awful” idea is to don a Santa outfit, strap heavy antlers on his poor, quivering dog Max, construct a makeshift sleigh, head down to Whoville, and strip the chafingly cheerful Whos of their Yuletide glee once and for all.

This is another story I knew as a TV show first, but we still have this book in our basement. I never quite understood the orange cover, but this is a must read each Christmas.

Based upon the poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” a father narrates this story of seeing Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. There are numerous versions of this story with a variety of illustrations. This is a pretty cover. I’ve also used the poem as inspiration for my own Christmas poetry.

 

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world.” The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids.

Honestly, it took me a bit of time to warm up to this story, but now that I have, I love reading it from time to time.

“The Gift of the Magi” is a short story written by O. Henry (a pen name for William Sydney Porter), about a young married couple and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money. As a sentimental story with a moral lesson about gift-giving, it has been a popular one for adaptation, especially for presentation at Christmas time. The plot and its “twist ending” are well-known, and the ending is generally considered an example of cosmic irony.

This is another story that I had to warm up to. The message is wonderful, but I always felt it a tad too much for kids to handle. As an adult, I appreciate it a lot more.

What are a few Christmas classics you recall from your childhood?

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Banned Books Week – September 23 – 29

Welcome to Banned Books Week 2018. That cute logo comes directly from the Banned Books Week Facebook page. Hope they don’t mind me borrowing it for a bit. What is Banned Books Week? Pretty much, it is an annual celebration of the freedom to read. Believe it or not, in this supposedly enlightened day and age, there are still countries out there who don’t allow their people to read what they want. In America, we still have people who challenge a book because of its content. As a parent, in some tiny part of my brain, I understand where people are coming from. There are some books I would prefer my children not read; though I don’t recall ever saying, “no, you can’t read that.” Maybe I’ve just been lucky that my kids haven’t pushed that envelope or maybe I am kidding myself into thinking my influence was so good they only made book choices they knew I would approve of. As an author, however, I can’t imagine a country built upon freedom censoring a book.

If you would like to see the list of 2017 Top Ten Challenged Books you can find it here. There are definitely some controversial issues in these titles: suicide, profanity, sexual content, vulgarity, and gender identity (to name a few). In the past, here are some banned children’s/YA books that might surprise you…or not.

 

 

 

Coming in September: Giraffe Problems by Jory John

Can you guess what’s making this giraffe self-conscious? Could it be . . . HIS ENORMOUS NECK?? Yes, it’s exactly that–how on earth did you figure it out?

Cyrus the giraffe can’t understand why his neck is as long and bendy and, well, ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He’s tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes–honestly, anything you can think of, he’s tried.

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 42 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 25, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524772038
ISBN-13: 978-1524772031

Pre-order from:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books-A-Million
Indiebound
iBooks

New Middle Grade: Cavall in Camelot: A Dog in King Arthur’s Court by Audrey Mackaman

In Camelot, King Arthur’s dog encounters a world of danger and magic…

Follow Cavall as he embarks on a quest that will put the unbreakable bond between a dog and his person to the ultimate test.

When Cavall and his older brother, Glessic, leave the comfort of their simple barn to join the lavish court of Camelot, Cavall wants nothing more than to prove he’s a good dog to the great knights and dogs of the castle—especially to King Arthur.

But Gless says only the best dogs are worthy of greatness, and Cavall has never been as strong, brave, or fast as his brother.

Meanwhile, malevolent forces lurk in Camelot, and Cavall must figure out how to protect his person. To make matters worse, Arthur’s mysterious nightmares are threatening to shake his grip on reality and undermine his authority as king.

To fight back against the dangers of the dream world, Cavall will need help from some loyal hounds and the enchanting, sometimes frightening creatures who call themselves the fay.

In this captivating debut from Audrey Mackaman, Cavall will have to prove not only that he can be a good dog for his person, but that he is capable of a greatness all his own.

Purchase from:

HC.com

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Indiebound

From Clavis Publishing

 

Dear Santa… That’s how Tess starts her letter. You don’t have to bring me any toys this year. The only thing I want is a real gnome. Full of anticipation, Tess looks forward to the day her new friend arrives: a friend she can take everywhere, and with whom she can share everything. With Grandpa and Grandma’s help, she gets everything ready. Grandpa builds little pieces of furniture, Grandma sews a little blanket, and Tess prepares a welcome meal. And then it’s finally Christmas Eve … Will Santa bring a real gnome? A heartwarming picture book with wonderfully funny illustrations.

Oliver should go to sleep. But there is so much he wants to tell his mother about: what happened that day, the things he read in books, everything he sees around him. A touching and familiar picture book about postponing the ritual of going to sleep.”

Bunny is looking forward to a cozy fall and winter with Hedgehog. But Hedgehog says he will start hibernating when the first leaf falls. Bunny is worried. He cannot go that long without seeing his friend! He comes up with a clever plan: he is simply going to hide the falling leaves, and the arrival of fall…. A merry and moving story about friendship.

With all his might Benji puts some seeds into the earth. Eagerly he follows the progress of growing. He lays in the sun beside his banana squash. He smells it, touches it, and puts sticks in the ground to measure how big it gets. A simple story that opens up children’s eyes to one of nature’s smallest and at the same time biggest wonders.

This is a book full of monsters: small, smelly, yelling, creepy… monsters! So it’s a book for hard core monster lovers, but also for beginners in monsterology. With shock effects!

I Give You My Heart by Pimm van Hest


I Give You My Heart by Pimm van Hest is a beautifully told story that will touch the heart of everyone who reads it.

Yuto is given an unusual wooden box by an old man in a store. The man tells him, “Everything you need is in this box.” But no matter how hard Yuto tries, he can’t open the wooden box. On the eve of his seventh birthday, the box opens to reveal a seed, which Yuto plants. Eventually the seed becomes a tree and is so big he plants it in a special place and, throughout his long life, Yuto and the tree share a special bond.

In many ways, this story reminds me of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, which is a book I shared with all my children. This poetic fairy tale is enhanced by the stunning artwork of Sassafras De Bryun and the intricate cutouts throughout the book. While I Give You My Heart is a children’s book, the older you are the more meaningful it becomes. I think it would make the perfect coffee table book.

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 6 and up
Grade Level: 1 and up
Lexile Measure: 540 (What’s this?)
Hardcover: 56 pages
Publisher: Clavis (November 15, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605373567
ISBN-13: 978-1605373560

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.