Monday, November 18, 2013

My Twelve Books of Christmas

Memoria Press has compiled a package deal on the Twelve Books of Christmas that looks awesome if you're looking for a gift for a young family that hasn't started building their picture book library. (Updated in 2015: This package is no longer available.)

Looking at this list, I started to wonder what I would choose for twelve books of Christmas. So I set myself a challenge: if we were going off into the wilderness (like moving to a remote cabin in Alaska without electricity), what would be the twelve Christmas and Advent books I would choose for our library?

12. The Little Drummer Boy illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats, because it's beautiful, and I remember my grandmother reading it to me.

11. Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegmeyer, because no Catholic Advent with children would be complete without this wonderful saint. I like this book, which I purchased a few years ago. I've also always wanted to read The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi, but have never found a copy.

10. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, because it's an American Christmas tradition. There are many illustrated version available. We have one by Anita Lobel and will be reading one by Matt Tavares this year. The Robert Sabuda version would probably be worth the money if I were really only choosing twelve Christmas books to take into the wilderness.

9. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, because Advent is a time of healing and hope.

8. Marta and the Manger Straw by Virginia Kroll, illustrated by Robyn Belton, because when we sacrifice to share what we have, we receive the graces of God. This is a new book for us this year and I think the children will love it.

7. Why the Chimes Rang by Raymond Macdonald Alden, often found in collections like this one, because our sacrifices please God and comfort others.

6. Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck, because the best gift we can give to those we love is ourself.

5. The Last Straw by Fredrick H. Thury, because Christmas is a time to worship the Lord, and because laughter is pleasing to the Lord.

4. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, because it is the perfect combination of the story of a mother's ingenuity and sacrifice and delightful illustrations.

3. A Small Miracle by Peter Collington, because those who do right are rewarded and comforted by God.

2. The Little Juggler by Barbara Cooney, because God has blessed us with talents and asks only that we give those talents back to him.

1. The Story of Christmas by Pamela Dalton, because we would need an exquisitely beautiful illustrated version of the Nativity story.

So what are the twelve picture books you would choose?

If you're looking for more books to read this Advent, here's a post I wrote earlier this year of the new and noteworthy picture books we read last year. It includes links to all the other Advent picture book posts I've written.

I don't receive anything if you order from Memoria Press, but I do receive a small commission if you follow one of the links to Amazon, add something to your cart, and make a purchase.


  1. Oh are you kidding me? Why do you do this to me? Here I wasn't going to look at/think about any more books for this year. Seriously?

    (haha, kidding) but still...

    So many good books, so little time.

    1. Sorry, Monica! But most of these you've probably already seen or our library doesn't have, so it should add too much to your lists.

  2. True. I did request Marta and the Manger Straw from ILL, I had never heard of it.

    We read "A Clown for God" (same story as Little Juggler essentially, yes?) this week when we talked about stewardship.

    1. A Clown for God is the same story, but it's not nearly as good, in my opinion, in either the story or the illustrations. But I'm much more partial to Cooney than de Paola. I hope you like Marta and the Manger Straw! I bought my copy used on Cathswap when it came up in a post with some other books I wanted for school. I was very pleased with my small investment.

  3. I like Cooney, I'll have to check that out. Thx! I really like dePaola, I have heard some things about his lifestyle I wish I didn't know however.

  4. Guess what I found in my gift cupboard? Demi's book on St. Nicholas! Apparently, I bought it earlier this year on sale and stashed it away so the kids wouldn't see it even before I read it. It's beautiful, but I like Stiegmeyer's better, especially for younger children. Unlike Stiegmeyer, it mentions the disturbing legend of the boys murdered and packed in barrels. We're still going to read it this year, though, because I'm brave like that. I agree with you on dePaola, though we're going to read his "Night Before Christmas" which I just found at the library. I like it.


Comments make me happy; thanks for speaking up!