Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just a Few Christmas Books

Brandy asked for Christmas reading suggestions. At first I was going to just comment on her post, but then my list got a little out of control, so I thought I should post it here instead. I'm actually just beginning to read through a substantial number of Christmas books, so I expect my list of favorites to grow very quickly from these. I've mentioned before our efforts to subdue our book collections, which is true, but I still find myself indulging in lots of children's books. I suppose there are worse faults.

Bethlehem: Revised Standard Version Of The Holy Bible, Catholic Edition is my absolute favorite Christmas book. The words are taken directly from the Bible and are stunningly illustrated by Fiona French in the style of stained glass windows. I intend to read it to the kids over and over again this Advent.

A Christmas Story is illustrated by Brian Wildsmith, one of my favorite illustrators. I just love how gold shimmers throughout his books. (I also really like his Easter book.)

All for the Newborn Baby is another stunning book and a sweet lullaby.

A Gift from Saint Francis: The First Creche tells of St. Francis's organization of the first live Nativity scene and is a wonderful way to talk about how "seeing" the scene can be a blessing from God. I'm very sad it's out of print.

Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story Just wonderful!

The Miracle of Saint Nicholas This is not a book about Santa Claus; it's not even about the feast of St. Nicholas. With the prayers of a young boy, a village pulls their church's treasures out of hiding and celebrates mass on Christmas day.

Gingerbread Baby, illustrated by Jan Brett is (not surprisingly) beautifully illustrated and a lot of fun. First Son particularly loves the peek into the gingerbread house at the end.

The Legend of the Poinsettia and The Night of Las Posadas are just two of Tomie dePaola's many worthy books. (I do avoid his Strega Nona books; I've always felt a little strange about reading my children a book about a friendly witch even if she doesn't use magic at Christmastime.)

The Little Drummer Boy I have this book in a small paperback version rescued from my own childhood and I love it. Keats is a masterful illustrator and of course the song itself is a wonderful reminder of how we should gladly bring the gifts we have been given back to Christ's service.

Christmas in the Barn This is, I think, my favorite of the Margaret Wise Brown Christmas books. I haven't actually seen this new version. The one at our library is illustrated by Barbara Cooney, one of my favorite illustrators, so it is my preferred version.

The Huron Carol Father Jean de Brebeuf was a missionary serving the Huron Indians in the 1600s. This carol is his retelling of Christ's birth, beautifully illustrated by Frances Tyrrell. I especially appreciate the music and verses printed at the end, along with a note on Father Brefeuf.

We also have a book of lots of carols along with brief descriptions and histories for each of them. First Son in particular enjoys this book and asks us to sing them for him. Being the abysmal singer I am (I apologize if you ever sit near me at church), I prefer to put on a CD that has the song for him, but I do what I can.

Just in case you were wondering, we read Christmas books year-round, though I am going to try to read them more during Advent and the Christmas season than we usually do.

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