As a homeschooling family, we often read aloud. It's an integral part of every day. One of my family's favorite traditions during the Advent season is diving in to some great, new books. We are avid readers and books are important part of our world, no matter the season. There is just a bit of extra magic added to our reading time when we choose to focus our selections on Christmas. Here are some of our top favorite must read books for Advent.
1.Jotham's Journey by Arnold Ytreeide–this series is hands down, the essential piece of our Advent celebrations aside from our Bibles. It includes daily readings for your family, detailing the story of the birth of Christ through the eyes of a bystander who is also an integral part of the story. The story gives you an in depth, personal look at what being there in the the time of Jesus' birth could have been like for the every day people of the time. It will snag you in and give you a deeper and more meaningful appreciation of why we celebrate Christmas. There are also subsequent titles in the series: Bartholomew's Passage, Tabitha's Travels, and Ishtar's Odyssey. You can read a new one each year and then cycle back through to Jotham. We have read the entire series and will be starting over again with this first volume this season.
2.The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt–This is a great read any time of year, but I especially enjoy it during the holiday season because it gives the perfect glimpse into how everything always works out according to God's plan. Three trees, standing side by side on a hill have great ambitions for themselves. But what happens when life takes a different turn? Do they just dash their dreams to the side or is there something bigger and better waiting for them? There is also a great animated video that my family often watches after we read through this book.
3. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens–this classic tale might be best suited for older children, but it's a fantastic way to highlight how kindness and generosity are the best traits to have during a season when greed and consumerism often take the spotlight. I particularly love this illustrated version. It is unabridged, so includes the full story, but has beautiful illustrations to highlight key moments in the story.
4. Humphery's First Christmas by Carol Heyer–This is an entertaining story about the journey of a camel traveling with the wisemen to see the baby Jesus. Humphrey loses his blanket and comes up with various trickery in order to obtain a new one. What will he do when he finally sees all the love and joy surrounding the new, holy baby?
5. A Little House Christmas: Holiday Stories from the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder–this fabulous book includes five of the beloved stories from the Little House on the Prairie series. If you or your children love the pioneer adventures of Laura Ingalls, then this will make an excellent addition to your holiday reading. We've also enjoyed viewing Little House on the Prairie: A Merry Ingalls Christmas.
6. Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans–Who doesn't love the beloved Madeline? In this book, she is the only one who hasn't become sick and she must come to the rescue while caring for all the other little girls, and even Miss Clavel!
7. Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker by Mary Engebriet–I have always adored the vibrant artwork of Mary Engelbreit, so when I discovered her retelling of the classic Nutcracker story, I was eager to add it to our shelves. I was not disappointed! This is an heirloom quality book that you could pass down to children in your family for ages.
8. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg–An engaging, imaginative story about a little boy who discovers a train ride in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve that will leave an imprint forever. Take a joyful ride to the North Pole to watch him make his Christmas wish. If you've never seen it before, you can also enjoy the movie.
9. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson–if you've ever participated in a Christmas pageant with your church, then you will positively crack up over this story of a play gone terribly awry. Great for adding some laughs, but also some heartwarming moments to your own festivities.
10. The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado–With his usual eloquently beautiful way with words, Max Lucado does not disappoint with this touching story of a little lamb named Joshua who has a crippled leg. He often feels isolated and alone because he is different from the other lambs, but what he doesn't know is that God has an amazing plan for his life.
11. God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren–I've always enjoyed the God Gave Us series and the Christmas edition is no exception. It shares the conversations between a little polar bear and her mother as she ponders if God is more important than Santa and whether or not we can really find Him.
12. The Legend of the Poinsetta by Tomie de Paola–We all know that during the Christmas season, poinsettas are everywhere. Do we know the story behind why they are used so much? This is a retelling by a beloved author of the Mexican legend should be read by every family.
I hope that you enjoy these must read books for Advent and Christmas as much as my family has this holiday season. If you'd like more 12 Days of Christmas fun, head on over to my site for some free 12 Days of Christmas printable activities and coloring pages.
What are your favorite holiday stories?
Dusty is a homeschooling mama to five children who lives in the North Carolina mountains. She loves Jesus, chocolate, and books. She is the owner and author of Bookworm's Treehouse where she showcases her love of all things books by sharing crafts, activities, and other literacy helps for parents. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.