Books For Kids: Winter & Holidays (2021)
Celebrating the end of the year and colder temperatures, these books will make children look forward to wintry traditions, road trips, food, and folklore. When you feel ready to deck the halls and get festive, a bedtime read under warm covers is all your family will need to feel the spirit of the holidays.
You’re My Little Latke
Written and illustrated by Natalie Marshall
Introduce your little ones to the joy of Hanukkah with this book featuring adorable latkes, dreidels, gelt, jelly donuts, and menorahs paired with sweet, rhyming text. Nimble small fingers will relish the opportunity to play with cut-outs and raised elements.
Ages: 0 – 2 years
The Giving Snowman : A Children’s Bedtime Story about Gratitude
Written by Julia Zheng, illustrated by Graziella Miligi
On a snowy night, a snowman in a field helps various friends when they are in need. Rabbit is desperate for his hungry family, so Snowman gives him his nose. Farmer’s family is cold, so Snowman gives him his stick branches. Reminiscent of The Giving Tree, this heartwarming story illustrates simple life lessons that will stay with your children a long time.
Ages: 3 to 7 years
The Christmas Mitzvah
Written by Jeff Gottesfeld, illustrated by Michelle Laurentia Agatha
A mitzvah is a good deed and on Christmas eve, also the night of Hannukah, Al Rosen decides to work another man’s job so that the man can spend Christmas eve with his family. He calls it a Christmas Mitzvah. Through the years, Al Rosen continues selflessly to work other people’s jobs so that they can spend their Christmas eve as a family. A loving blend of Hannukah and Christmas traditions, The Christmas Mitzvah encapsulates the generous spirit of both holidays and doing good for others.
Ages: 4 to 8 years
A Thousand White Butterflies
Written by Jessica Betancourt-Perez and Karen Lynn Williams, illustrated by Gina Maldonado
How does a first snow day help a young girl make new friends? Isabella, who recently immigrated to the US from Colombia, is a little more nervous than usual about starting school. She doesn’t speak the same language and people do things differently than she is used to. When a snowstorm cancels school altogether, she finds another opportunity to make new connections in an unfamiliar land. Told in English and Spanish, this delightful book blends serious topics with fun snow activities.
Ages: 5 to 8 years
The Shortest Day
Written by Sarah Cooper, illustrated by Carson Ellis
On December 21st in the northern hemisphere, the shortest day of the year is celebrated with ancient traditions that prepare for the long night ahead. Written for a theatrical production that has become a ritual in itself, Susan Cooper’s poem “The Shortest Day” captures the magic behind the returning of the light, the yearning for traditions that connect us with generations that have gone before — and the hope for peace that we carry into the future. Meant for everyone, regardless of belief, this book will invite young ones to reflect on what the shortest day of the year means for them.
Ages: 5 to 8 years
The Legend of the Christmas Witch
Written by Dan Murphy and Aubrey Plaza, illustrated by Julia Iredale
Who knew Kris Kringle had an evil twin sister named Kristtörn? Exactly. Nobody, and there is a reason for this. Written by Parks & Rec star Aubrey Plaza, this folktale starts in the eerie forests of Denmark where she lives with her twin brother, both completely in tune with nature. When Kris meets a couple in the forest and gets adopted by them, young Kristtörn takes shelter at a witch’s house who helps her grow her magical powers. Now, who do you think leaves strange gifts on Christmas night? This tale, rich in folklore and beautifully illustrated, will get your teens in the holiday spirit and if they opt for the audio book, they will have the pleasure to listen to Aubrey Plaza’s voice.
Ages: 8 to 12 years
This children’s books column is also published in the Golden Gate Mothers Group Magazine in San Francisco, December 2021/January 2022 issue. I’ve been writing this column since 2005 and love discovering new books for all ages.