Welcome to our cozy corner of festive cheer and storybook magic! As the holiday season approaches, there's nothing quite like the joy of settling down with your little ones and sharing a heartwarming Christmas tale. Whether you're a parent seeking to build a treasury of holiday reads for your children, a teacher on the lookout for captivating stories to add to your school library, or simply a lover of Christmas spirit in literary form, we've handpicked a collection of books that are sure to make your season bright.
In the spirit of giving and festive fun, we present to you our list of the 20 best kids' Christmas books – each one a gem with its own sprinkle of yuletide sparkle. These books are more than just stories; they're gateways to creating memories, igniting imaginations, and establishing traditions that can be cherished year after year.
So, grab a mug of hot cocoa, snuggle up in your favourite reading nook, and let's turn the pages of these enchanting tales together. Happy reading and merry Christmas!
Our recommended Children's Christmas Book List
- The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
- Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
- Dream Snow by Eric Carle
- The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
- The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
- The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg
- The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
- Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
- Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner
- Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
- The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen
- The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert
- Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares
- The Great Spruce by John Duvall
- A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
- The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett
- The Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann
- The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
- Author(s): Ezra Jack Keats
- Illustrator(s): Ezra Jack Keats
- Publication Year: 1962
- Age Range: 2-5 years
- Synopsis: "The Snowy Day" tells the enchanting story of a young boy named Peter, who wakes up to discover his neighborhood blanketed in a mesmerizing coat of white snow. Throughout his day, Peter embarks on little adventures – from making footprints and snow angels to attempting to save a snowball for the next day. With simple yet profound experiences, Keats captures the innocent wonder of a child's perspective on snow, making it relatable to readers of all ages. The book touches on themes of exploration, creativity, and the fleeting nature of some experiences.
- Key Themes/Features: Exploration, Innocence, Winter Wonders
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- Author(s): Chris Van Allsburg
- Illustrator(s): Chris Van Allsburg
- Publication Year: 1985
- Age Range: 4-8 years
- Synopsis: All aboard "The Polar Express!" One snowy Christmas Eve, a young boy is awakened by the sound of a train's whistle. It's the Polar Express, bound for the North Pole. As the boy embarks on this magical journey, he encounters a series of wondrous experiences, from sipping on hot cocoa served by singing elves to meeting Santa Claus himself. This beautifully illustrated tale is a testament to the magic of the season and the unyielding belief of childhood. For those teachers looking to instill a sense of wonder in their classrooms, or parents wishing to keep the spirit of Santa alive, this book is a timeless treasure.
- Key Themes/Features: Belief, Magic, North Pole Adventure
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
Olivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
- Author(s): Ian Falconer
- Publication Year: 2007
- Age Range: 3-7 years
- Synopsis: Olivia is a feisty pig who has a lot on her plate during the Christmas season. In this charming tale, Olivia is involved in every aspect of Christmas preparation, displaying her unique energy and flair. From ensuring the Christmas tree is perfectly decorated to assisting with the Christmas meal, Olivia embodies the whirlwind of holiday excitement. Her eagerness to participate in every holiday tradition — down to impatiently waiting for Santa — is both endearing and humorous. Falconer's story beautifully captures the hectic joy of Christmas through the eyes of a child, with Olivia's spirited antics leading to laughter and holiday warmth.
- Key Themes/Features: Family traditions, Christmas spirit, Childhood excitement, the importance of participating and helping out.
Dream Snow by Eric Carle
- Author(s): Eric Carle
- Illustrator(s): Eric Carle
- Publication Year: 2000
- Age Range: 2-6 years
- Synopsis: "Dream Snow" paints a serene image of a farmer living with his five animals. As Christmas approaches, he hopes for a white holiday, and a dream transforms his world into a snowy wonderland. Waking up to find his wish has come true, he suddenly remembers he has a Christmas surprise for everyone! With the interactive flaps and Carle's signature colorful illustrations, this book is perfect for hands-on reading in the classroom or for families preparing for a snowy Christmas day. Teachers could even use this as a springboard to discuss the changing seasons and the magic of the holiday period.
- Key Themes/Features: Dreams, Anticipation, Joy of Giving
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
- Original Author: Clement Clarke Moore
- Illustrator(s): Charles Santore
- Publication Year: This version 2011 (original poem from 1823)
- Age Range: All ages
- Synopsis: This cherished classic poem tells the story of Santa's visit on Christmas Eve. The detailed illustrations by Charles Santore bring this magical night to life, providing a fresh perspective on the well-loved tale.
- Key Themes/Features: Christmas Tradition, Magical Christmas Eve, Nostalgia.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
- Author(s): Susan Wojciechowski
- Illustrator(s): P.J. Lynch
- Publication Year: 1995
- Age Range: 6-10 years
- Synopsis: Widely regarded as the Christmas classic, this story unfolds the tale of Jonathan Toomey, the best woodcarver in the valley, who is always alone and never smiles. His past shrouded in sorrow, Mr. Toomey finds his world irrevocably altered when a widow and her son ask him to carve a nativity scene for them. Through the gentle warmth of this family and the healing power of love, Jonathan Toomey experiences his own Christmas miracle, rediscovering happiness and the joy of the season.
- Key Themes/Features: Redemption, Healing, Transformation, the true spirit of Christmas.
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg
- Author(s): Allan Ahlberg
- Illustrator(s): Janet Ahlberg
- Publication Year: 1991
- Age Range: 3-7 years
- Synopsis: It's Christmas time and the Jolly Postman is delivering greetings to various fairy-tale characters. With each delivery, we peek inside envelopes and see the holiday cheer being spread. The Postman's encounters are both familiar and new as he visits a cast of well-loved characters, delivering letters, cards, and even a game to play. The interactive format invites children and adults alike to share in the joy of discovery and the warmth of the Christmas season.
- Key Themes/Features: Interactive Reading Experience, Fairy-Tale Characters, Christmas Cheer, Sharing.
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
- Author(s): Raymond Briggs
- Illustrator(s): Raymond Briggs
- Publication Year: 1978
- Age Range: 4-7 years
- Synopsis: On a snowy day, a young boy builds a Snowman. But as night falls, something magical happens – The Snowman comes to life! Embarking on a silent night of adventures, from soaring through the sky to meeting Santa Claus, the duo shares unforgettable moments. One of many successful wordless children's books, this narrative is a feast for the imagination and a testament to the boundless wonders of childhood. A must-have for classroom story times or family gatherings, it invites everyone to narrate their version, interlinking events and characters in other tales, fostering creativity. Learn how to draw a snowman in our drawing tutorial page.
- Key Themes/Features: Friendship, Adventure, Power of Imagination
Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
- Author(s): Julia Donaldson
- Illustrator(s): Axel Scheffler
- Publication Year: 2008
- Age Range: 3-7 years
- Synopsis: Follow the journey of Stick Man as he gets separated from his Stick Lady Love and stick children three. As seasons pass, he encounters various obstacles, from being used as a flagmast to ending up in a fireplace. As Christmas nears, Stick Man finds himself in a perilous position, but a chance encounter with Santa Claus might just be his ticket home. A delightful read for classrooms, where children can discuss the different uses of a stick or for families decorating their Christmas tree, recalling the tenacity and spirit of Stick Man. Find more Julia Donaldson book recommendations here.
- Key Themes/Features: Adventure, Family, Perseverance
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
- Author(s): Karma Wilson
- Illustrator(s): Jane Chapman
- Publication Year: 2004
- Age Range: 3-7 years
- Synopsis: Bear's friends are determined to keep him awake for Christmas. So, they sing songs and find a Christmas tree. As Bear experiences his first ever Christmas, his joy and gratitude for his friends make for a warm, festive celebration. Feeling inspired..? Try one of Quickdraw's sketching exercises for cartoon bears and create your very own illustrated bear character.
- Key Themes/Features: Friendship, Sharing, Festivity.
The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert
- Author(s): Lori Evert
- Illustrator(s): Per Breiehagen
- Publication Year: 2013
- Age Range: 3-7 years
- Synopsis: Anja, the brave protagonist, wishes to become one of Santa's elves. Follow her as she embarks on a Nordic adventure meeting helpful animals along the way. This book takes the reader on a beautiful journey filled with snowy landscapes and the spirit of Christmas.
- Key Themes/Features: Nordic Lore, Bravery, Wishes.
A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
- Author(s): Matt Haig
- Illustrator(s): Chris Mould
- Publication Year: 2015
- Age Range: 7-11 years
- Synopsis: This is the tale of Nikolas, a boy who travels to the North Pole to find his father. Along the way, he discovers a world of elves, and the true spirit of Christmas. The book details Nikolas's transformation into Father Christmas, and the hardships and triumphs he experiences.
- Key Themes/Features: Origin Story, Perseverance, Belief.
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett
- Author(s): Jan Brett
- Publication Year: 1986
- Age Range: 3-7 years
- Synopsis: This beautifully illustrated version of the classic Christmas song brings to life the extravagant gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. Readers will be enchanted by the whimsical artwork and the ever-growing chaos of the festive presents.
- Key Themes/Features: Classic Song, Abundance, Celebration.
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola
- Author(s): Tomie dePaola
- Publication Year: 1994
- Age Range: 4-8 years
- Synopsis: In this Mexican folktale, a young girl named Lucida is unable to find a gift to celebrate Jesus's birthday. When an old woman tells her that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes, Lucida offers an armful of weeds, which miraculously turn into bright red poinsettias.
- Key Themes/Features: Culture, Faith, Miracle of Christmas.
Now that we've explored a wonderland of Christmas stories that are sure to spark the imaginations of young readers and bring a touch of magic to your family's holiday season, let's extend the merriment and creativity even further. Quickdraw is a treasure trove of resources and ideas that can enrich your family's reading and leisure time throughout this festive period and beyond.
Festive Drawing Ideas for Kids
If the books have inspired a burst of creativity in your little ones, we have a host of drawing ideas for boys and girls that can keep their hands busy and minds active. Our drawing tutorials range from snow-laden landscapes inspired by "The Snowman" to creating your very own snowman character. And for those who love the sparkle of the season, we offer guides to draw your very own scenes from "The Nutcracker" or the intricate poinsettias from Tomie dePaola's legend. These drawing activities are not just fun; they're also a fantastic way to develop fine motor skills and artistic expression.
Discover More Enchanting Reads
For avid readers hungry for more, our collection of articles on the best books for kids extends beyond the Christmas theme. Dive into the whimsical worlds created by renowned authors such as Roald Dahl, whose stories continue to captivate and amuse, or discover the rich tapestry of tales spun by Julia Donaldson that can make any day special. Whether it's the mischievous pranks of "Matilda" or the lyrical adventures in "The Gruffalo," these recommended readings promise to be a hit for storytime.
Bedtime Stories to Cherish
As the night draws in and it's time to nestle all snug in their beds, our selection of bedtime stories will be the perfect end to your child's day. From gentle tales that prepare them for sweet dreams to night-time adventures that set the stage for a restful sleep, our stories are hand-picked to create a tranquil bedtime experience. Let the dulcet tones of storytelling create a bond and a routine that your children will cherish.
Whether it's through the joy of reading, the fun of drawing, or the peace of a bedtime ritual, our website is here to support and inspire your family's love for stories. So, this Christmas, let's turn the pages, pick up the crayons, and tuck in for nights filled with wonder and delight.