Most homeschooling families take some time off from studying for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean we stop reading! In winter, there’s nothing as relaxing as curling up with a soft blanket and a good book.
If you are looking for a way to encourage your kids to read this December, consider giving them an early present: a book that will contribute to the ambiance of the season’s festivities. From toddlers to teens, here are 10 holiday reads for each of the kids on your list!
Featuring bright colors, rhyming meter and simple language, this short nativity story can be enjoyed by even the smallest children. This story is also available as a board book, so infants and toddlers can handle it themselves without tearing pages. New readers may also enjoy reading it aloud for the rest of the family. Best for ages 0+!
This classic poem is an integral holiday tradition for many families. It’s short enough to read several times during the Christmas season, but complex enough to keep older children interested, too. Several versions are exquisitely illustrated, adding interest for younger children. This book canreally be introduced at any age, though children between 5-10 might enjoy it the most.
Most people know J.R.R.Tolkien for his famous Lord of the Rings trilogy, but this little gem is far less recognized. Letters from Father Christmas documents a tradition between Tolkien and his children, who received annual “letters” from Santa. Readers of this collection can appreciate Tolkien’s creativity, thoughtfulness and beautiful artwork. Because the stories are divided into letters, this work can also be read as part of advent. While this one is great for young children (5 and up), older children, teens and adults will enjoy it, too!
This Hanukkah-inspired fairy tale presents themes of the holiday in a delightful, creative way. When Goblins threaten to extinguish the celebration of Hanukkah, Hershel must outwit them to keep the candles burning and give hope to the other villagers. This children’s tale is a Caldecott Honor book and is beautifully illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. This story could make a great gift for any young child who is learning about Hanukkah. It is recommended for ages 5 and up.
Do you have a dancer in the family? E.T.A. Hoffman’s story, which inspired the classic ballet, could make a perfect holiday read! The story holds all the holiday whimsy of the ballet, but with much greater detail. The original version is probably best-suited to children who are confident readers, from 9-10+. However, it can also be a good book to read with younger children who are open to learning new vocabulary. The illustrated version done by Maurice Sendak is simply gorgeous!
For the kid in your life who loves stories loaded with heart and humor, this book has it all. This classic tale of a family of outcasts who “crash” the annual Christmas pageant will have your child flipping pages, laughing and thinking some pretty deep thoughts about how to treat others this season. This book is recommended for ages 8-12.
This whimsical read is sure to delight curious minds. Part mystery, part character-study, all fun, Kate Milford’s Greenhouse Glass portrays the adventures of two children in the Greenhouse Glass Inn over winter vacation. This cozy, insightful novel was a New York Times Bestseller and is recommended for ages 10-12.
Any fantasy lovers on your list? This novel by Susan Cooper follows Will, an unlikely protagonist, on a magical journey filled with destiny, darkness and light. Will’s story takes place during “the twelve days of Christmas,” adding a festive layer to the tale’s epic themes. Added plus? This novel is the first of an entire series, The Dark is Rising Sequence. A Newberry Honor book, The Dark is Rising is appropriate for pre-teens and teens.
Who doesn’t know Charles Dickens’ classic story? This season, consider giving the teen (or pre-teen) in your life a new way to experience it. The Christmas Carol Graphic Novel contains much of the original story text, but delivers it in typical comic book fashion. You could give it to the comic-lover in your family by itself, or alongside a copy of the original (which is also a great choice, of course, for older kids and teens!)
Let it Snow is a fun collection of holiday tales by some of today’s most-beloved names in YA fiction. There’s love, angst, empowerment, and a whole lot of laughs. Furthermore, each of these stories retains its unique voice while also weaving together in connected plots and themes. Buy this one for the teenager on your list who loves romance, humor and snowstorms.
We hope this list gives you some inspiration for books that your kids will enjoy reading this holiday season. If you’re particularly interested in picture books, you may also want to check out this printable list of 30 Days of Christmas Picture Books! Also, feel free to add to this list with a comment below. What is something your family likes to read together this time of year? Do you have any children or teen book recommendations for Christmas, Hanukkah or just winter in general?