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The holiday season can get very hectic! But reading together is a great way to slow down and enjoy quality family time. Fortunately, the wonderful Christmas read alouds on our list will delight parents and kids alike. If you want to add to your collection, or if you’re looking for books to borrow from your local library this season, our list of the best Christmas books for kids is the perfect place to start!
There are some gorgeous new Christmas books for kids that have been recently released. We’ve added our favorites to the book lists below, and each is labled as “NEW FOR 2022”!
How to Choose the Best Children’s Christmas Books for Your Family
To help you find the right holiday books for your family, we’ve broken our list down into five categories:
- Christmas Books For Toddlers
- Christmas Picture Books
- Classic Christmas Books for Kids
- Christmas Books For Young Readers
- Christmas Chapter Books for Kids and Middle-Grade Readers
Whether you’re searching for just one very special holiday book, or enough to enjoy all season long, look no further!
The Best Children's Christmas Books
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Christmas Books for Toddlers
These board books include simple stories, wonderful illustrations, and even some interactive elements that make them some of the very best Christmas books for preschoolers and toddlers.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Peekaboo Christmas
NEW FOR 2022! Featuring the classic character The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this cheerful Christmas tree-shaped search-and-find book is a celebration of the season. Your kids will spot The Very Hungry Caterpillar among ornaments, candy canes, gifts, and more!
Green Is for Christmas
NEW FOR 2022! When Green Crayon claims that green is the only color for Christmas, other crayons let him know that there would be no Christmas without them either. No candy canes or Santa without Red, no snow without White, no bells or stars without Silver, and no cookies or reindeer without Tan! The crayons agree that they all need to come together to make Christmas special. This humorous, small hardcover Christmas story is the perfect stocking stuffer and a great gift for fans of The Day The Crayons Quit—and all kids who like to color.
NEW FOR 2022! With bouncy, delightful rhymes, Bridget Heos' Santa Jaws celebrates Christmas under the sea. Every year, Santa Jaws delivers presents to his fellow sharks, spreading cheer wherever he goes. Elfin sharks make toys, horn sharks trim the Christmas kelp, and cookiecutter sharks make sure Santa doesn't go hungry. Get ready for a ride on Santa's sled (pulled, of course, by hammerheads) in this joyful holiday tale!
Little Blue Truck's Christmas
Fans of Little Blue Truck will love this Christmas story that helps young kids practice counting. It even includes flashing colored Christmas lights on the final page.
Santa and the Goodnight Train
The Goodnight Train follows Santa's sleigh through a winter wonderland in this sequel to The Goodnight Train.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas
Bear likes to hibernate, but Bear's friends are determined to keep him awake for Christmas.
Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho!
If your kids love Click, Clack, Moo, then you'll want to add this holiday adaptation to your December reading list.
You're family may also enjoy watching the short Christmas film, "CLICK, CLACK, MOO: Christmas on the Farm."
The Night Before Christmas
Jan Brett's signature style perfectly illustrates this quintessential holiday poem.
This board book version of the Eric Carle classic features dreamy snow-covered images that younger children will love.
Good Night North Pole
Little kids will love getting a sneak peek at Santa's workshop at the North Pole as they say good night to Santa Claus and his elves.
Construction Site: Merry and Bright
Celebrate the holidays with the crew of the popular children's book, Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site.
Construction Site fans will also want to check out Construction Site on Christmas Night.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Slide and Find
Toddlers and preschoolers will love sliding the doors on each page to learn more about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and his friends from the classic claymation special.
Llama Llama Holiday Drama
Llama Llama is feeling impatient for the big day to arrive. Children will love the rhymes, and parents will sympathize with Mama Llama as she shops for gifts and does everything parents do to create a magical holiday for their kiddos.
Curious George Christmas Countdown
The tabs make it fun for toddlers to help turn the pages in this book that includes a rhyming story as Curious George counts down the days left until Christmas.
The Best Christmas Picture Books
There are so many wonderful Christmas story books for kids that it’s hard to narrow it down, but the ones that made our list have all become favorites with our families!
The Christmas Book Flood
NEW FOR 2022! Based on a real Icelandic tradition, this lyrical picture book brings all the sparkle and anticipation of Christmas―and of the joys of reading―to the page!
Santa in the City
NEW FOR 2022! Deja is worried that Santa might be unable to visit her in the city because she doesn't have a chimney, and the parking spots on her block are too small for a sleigh and eight reindeer. But her belief in Santa is restored with the help of her family and community (and Santa himself).
Charlotte and the Nutcracker: The True Story of a Girl Who Made Ballet History
NEW FOR 2022! A reimagined and modern take on the holiday favorite, this picture book weaves together the classic Christmas tale of The Nutcracker and the true-life story of 12-year-old ballerina Charlotte Nebres, the first Black girl to play Marie in the New York City Ballet’s production.
The Christmas Pine
NEW FOR 2022! Inspired by the annual journey of London's Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square, this is a Christmas tale about a pine tree deep in the snowy woods that is destined to become the Christmas tree in the city square.
Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve?
NEW FOR 2022! From renowned children's book author and illustrator Jan Brett comes a gorgeous new Christmas picture book!
Every year, trolls knock down Kyri's door and gobble up her Christmas feast. But this year, the trolls are in for a surprise: a boy and his pet ice bear on their way to Oslo have come in from the cold. And once the ice bear is finished with the trolls, you can bet they won't come knocking next Christmas Eve!
The Christmas Mitzvah
NEW FOR 2022! Al Rosen, a Jewish man, takes on the jobs of his Christian neighbors on Christmas Eve and day so they can spend the holiday with their families, starting a tradition that lasts for decades.
A mitzvah, as Al explains, is a good deed, especially apt on holidays. A strong cross-over read for the holidays, this warm story is about kindness and differences bringing people together.
The Christmas Elf Tells the Truth
NEW FOR 2022! A beautiful Christmas story that can touch your heart. It also teaches kids the real reason to be good and kind and why Christmas presents have nothing to do with that.
When's It Gonna Be Christmas Again?!
NEW FOR 2022! This is the first picture book from the creators of the Deck the Hallmark podcast. Join this family of 4 as they navigate their way through all the seasons, making memories along the way.
The Twelve Cats of Christmas
NEW FOR 2022! Celebrate the holidays with twelve adorable cats—and one kitten—with this festive feline take on the classic carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas!
Jingle the Christmas Clown
NEW FOR 2022! Every year, little Jingle and his family, The Little Circus, travel through the countryside to the city for their special Christmas performance. Each year, they stop at the same little village to put on a show for its residents. It’s Jingle’s favorite night. This year, however, there's no smoke coming out of the chimneys and everything is closed up. With a little bit of magic, one plucky clown is determined to turn Christmas around for a village that’s down on its luck.
NEW FOR 2022! This mischievous fox has stolen things from all over town. Then he settles in for a cozy Christmas Eve at home. But when Santa arrives, he scolds the fox and makes him return everything before the heartwarming ending.
The sparse, rhyming words in this book, paired with the beautiful illustrations will encourage kids to pour over the pictures and add more details to the story.
Santa's Lost Sleigh
NEW 2022! Santa's sleigh in now missing! Have you heard the news? It's all ONE big mistake... over TWO large canoes!
We're Going on a Sleigh Ride
NEW FOR 2022! In this lift-the-flap adventure, you'll help Santa and Bunny deliver presents and avoid obstacles along the way.
The Christmas Princess
NEW FOR 2022! Like Mariah Carey's record-breaking song “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” this story is an inclusive family holiday classic. Little Mariah doesn’t have much and doesn’t want a lot, but there is just one thing she longs for: a peaceful and joyous holiday season. Feeling outcast and alone, Little Mariah sets off on a wintry, wondrous journey, ultimately discovering the healing power of her voice to spread the spirit of Christmas at home and all around the world.
This is the story of a brave little doe who meets Santa and changes Christmas forever.
The Animals' Santa
This modern Christmas classic includes Jann Brett's signature illustration style with side panels that encourage kids to discuss the story beyond the words on the page.
Last Stop on the Reindeer Express
Kids will discover the magic of Christmas on each page of this picture book filled with beautiful illustrations, doors that open, and even a card to open and read.
The Crayons' Christmas
'Tis the season for all of us to write our holiday wishlists. But everyone--even the crayons--know the best presents are the ones that you give. In this unique book, readers get to see how Duncan, the crayons, and their families celebrate the holidays. With real, folded letters from the Crayons that you can pull from their envelopes and read, games, punch-out ornaments, a poster, and a pop-up tree, this book is the perfect gift for for the holidays and for fans of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home.
Pick a Pine Tree
For many families, picking a pine tree and decorating it as a Christmas tree marks the official start of the holiday season. This festive read-aloud captures all of that magic.
The New York City Ballet presents this classic ballet tale in a gorgeous story book format.
There are many other wonderful picture book versions of the Nutcracker, including:
- Jan Brett's The Nutcracker
- Little Golden Book The Nutcracker
- The Nutcracker with a pop-up finale
The Christmas Owl
This book - which tells the true story of an owl that captivated the country - is co-written by Ellen Kalish, the caretaker of the real owl found inside the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Red and Lulu
This heart-tugging story combines the cheer of Christmas, the magic of New York City, and a focus of the holiday season: how important it is to be surrounded by love.
Santa Is Coming to...
Steve Smallman and Robert Dunn have collaborated to create this fun series of books, with titles for many regions and hometowns. Kids will love reading about Santa's sleigh flying over landmarks they recognize on Christmas Eve.
Click "get the book" to browse all the titles.
Little Robin's Christmas
One frosty evening, a week before Christmas, Little Robin prepares for the chilly nights to come by washing his seven warm knit vests. But as the days go by, he comes across lots of shivering animals and kindly offers them his vests to wear. By Christmas Eve, Little Robin is cold and alone with no vests left. That is, until a special someone arrives to reward his kindness in this heartwarming holiday tale about the gift of sharing.
How Santa Got His Job
Have you ever thought about what Santa's job might have been if he wasn't Santa? This fun book examines all of the jobs that didn't work out.
Olive, the Other Reindeer
Olive may look like a dog, but as far as she's concerned, she's a reindeer! With Christmas Eve approaching, Olive takes a bus to the North Pole. Is she just what Santa's sleigh-pulling team needs?
This is a beautiful story of a spruce tree that grows along side the young boy who first planted it. Once the boy has become a grandfather, his tree is chosen as the Christmas tree for a big city celebration.
Native American Night Before Christmas
Renowned Cherokee artist Jesse Hummingbird’s illustrations bring this innovative retelling of the classic Christmas tale to life. It's a whimsical look at Christmas Eve for a Native American family when Old Red Shirt (the Native American Santa Claus) comes a-calling with his team of flying white buffalo to deliver fry bread, commodities, and other goodies.
How to Catch an Elf
Follow the adventures of a mischievous elf as he tries to dodge all the traps that have been set for him by the children of the house.
Kids will also love the similarly titled, How to Catch Santa - but parents beware, as this book might give your kiddos some sneaky ideas come Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas, Curious George
After helping the Man with the Yellow Hat pick out the perfect Christmas tree, Curious George finds himself delivered to the local children's hospital, where his antics spread cheer to kids of all ages.
Classic Christmas Books for Kids
These classic children’s Christmas books (many of which you’ll probably remember from your own childhood) are perfect for families to enjoy together. The titles on this list make some of the best Christmas Eve books to read again year after year.
Arguably one of the best books out there for the holiday season, this gorgeously illustrated anniversary edition of Chris Van Allsburg's beloved classic Christmas story captures the real magic of Santa Claus.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Your heart will grow three sizes when you reread this classic Dr. Seuss book with your own children.
Part of the Christmas Choir book series, this illustrated picture book is the perfect way to share the Nativity Story with young children as you discuss the true meaning of Christmas.
A Christmas Carol
This beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book makes the perfect retelling of Charles Dickens novel to share with the whole family.
Disney Mickey's Christmas Carol
If you prefer the Disney version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, then you'll want to add this hardback picture book to your family's holiday library.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
This deluxe edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas will bring Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts gang to life for a whole new generation of kids.
Frosty the Snowman
This classic Golden Book is based on the beloved 1969 television special about Frosty the Snowman, who comes to life and spreads Christmas spirit.
12 Days of Christmas
Children love Christmas songs, and the classic Twelve Days of Christmas is always a favorite. Each scene of this traditional poem is illustrated in beautiful detail in this picture book.
The Night Before Christmas: The Classic Edition
Enjoy Clement C. Moore's classic poem in a beautiful hardback version that includes a large four-page foldout that will immerse your entire family in the story.
Christmas Books for Young Readers
If you are looking for a Christmas book that your beginner reader can read on their own or out loud to you, this list is a good place to start.
Santa's Moose (I Can Read - Level 1)
From the author of Danny and the Dinosaur, this classic early reader book is about Milton the Moose who wants to help pull Santa's sleigh.
Pinkalicious and the Holiday Sweater (I Can Read Level 1)
NEW FOR 2022! Pinkalicious can’t wait to make Molly a holiday sweater for her Secret Snowman gift. But knitting a sweater is harder than it looks. Will Pinkalicious be able to make Molly the most pinkamazing and pinkadazzling holiday sweater ever?
Little Critter's Snowball Soup (My First I Can Read)
Mercer Mayer's beloved character, Little Critter, is enjoying a snow day in this beginning reader book. This book is not Christmas specific, but it's a fun read for this festive season.
A Cars Christmas (Step into Reading Level 1)
Celebrate the holidays with Lightning McQueen, Mater, and other favorite characters from Disney's Cars.
Santa's Little Engine (Step into Reading Level 1)
Deck the halls with Thomas the Tank Engine featuring favorite characters from Thomas & Friends.
Eloise Decorates for Christmas: Ready-to-Read Level 1
It is holiday time. Eloise hopes she will be the one to place the star atop the Christmas tree!
I Spy a Candy Cane (Beginning Reader - Level 1)
These easy to read riddles include picture clues to help young readers.
Cooking with the Grinch (Step into Reading Level 1)
Young fans of How the Grinch Stole Christmas will love this Dr. Seuss inspired story that they can read themselves.
Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia (I Can Read Level 2)
Amelia Bedelia has been making little girls and boys laugh since the 1960s, and this silly Christmas story is no exception.
Arthur's Christmas Cookies (I Can Read Level 2)
Parents who have fond memories of reading about Arthur during their childhoods will enjoy hearing their children read this Arthur story to them.
Home For Christmas (Step into Reading Level 3)
This adaptation of the PBS Kids' holiday special The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas is perfect for newly independent readers.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell!
This Christmas version of the classic "There Was an Old Lady" story is perfect for young readers because of the repetitive nature that helps kids gain reading confidence by practicing similar phrases on each page.
Christmas Chapter Books for Kids and Middle-Grade Readers
Whether you have older kids who are ready to read independently, or you’re looking for a longer book to read out loud as a family, these Christmas chapter books are sure to put everyone in the holiday spirit.
How Winston Delivered Christmas
When a mouse named Winston finds a lost letter addressed to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, he sets off on an unforgettable journey to personally deliver the letter to Santa!
This book is organized into 24 1/2 chapters, making it the perfect book to read one chapter at a time as your family counts down to Christmas day.
The Christmas Pig
From the author of Harry Potter comes this new page-turning adventure about one child's love for his most treasured thing, and how far he will go to find it. The whole family is sure to fall in love with this special holiday story that's reminiscent of The Velveteen Rabbit and Toy Story.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the shenanigans of the Herdman siblings (aka “the worst kids in the history of the world") as they take over the annual Christmas pageant. This Christmas chapter book is the first in a series of three books about the Herdmans.
A Boy Called Christmas
When the father of eleven-year-old Nikolas (nicknamed "Christmas") goes missing, Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him. Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things.
Other titles in this series include book 2, The Girl Who Saved Christmas, and book 3, Father Christmas and Me.
What Is the Story of Ebenezer Scrooge?
NEW FOR 2022! This is a new addition to the popular Who Was? book series.
When Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843, he likely had no idea that the story and its main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, would remain so popular nearly two centuries later. Today, readers still find themselves entertained by the story of a grumpy, selfish man who becomes a holiday hero after he learns generosity through the help of three spirits in Victorian-era England. Whether a Dickens fan or someone in love with all things "Christmas," readers will enjoy learning the history of this memorable character and his many appearances on the page, the screen, and the stage in What Is the Story of Ebenezer Scrooge?
Middle School: Winter Blunderland
NEW FOR 2022! This is the latest in James Patterson's popular Middle School series.
Things heat up at Hills Village Middle School when Rafe gets an invitation from Dr. Daria Deerwin to join a research study on polar bears in Alaska. How many times in life do you get a chance to come face‑to‑face with a real polar bear in the wild? Rafe is ready to find out!
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It's practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease right before Christmas, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are.
Letters from Father Christmas
For more than twenty years, the children of J.R.R. Tolkien received letters from the North Pole - from Father Christmas himself! They told wonderful stories of mischief and disaster, adventures, and battles: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place, how the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas's house, and many others. In this book, these letters are brought to life with specially arranged holiday music.
Christmas in Camelot
In the popular Magic Treehouse series, brother and sister Jack and Annie, are whisked away in each book on adventures around the world and throughout history. In this holiday-themed chapter book, Jack and Annie receive an invitation to spend Christmas Eve in Camelot-a magical place that exists only in myth and fantasy. They are in for their biggest adventure yet.
A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time is another Christmas-themed title in the Magic Treehouse/Merlin Missions series. In this book, readers join Jack and Annie in a historical story that puts a twist on Charles Dicken's classic The Christmas Carol.
The Merlin Mission books are an extension of the popular Magic Treehouse series at a slightly higher reading level - typically recommended for grades 3-5.
The Last Holiday Concert
For Hart Evans, being the most popular kid in sixth grade has its advantages. Kids look up to him, and all the teachers let him get away with anything -- all the teachers except the chorus director, Mr. Meinert. When Hart's errant rubber band hits Mr. Meinert on the neck during chorus practice, it's the last straw for the chorus director, who's just learned he's about to lose his job due to budget cuts. So he tells the class they can produce the big holiday concert on their own. Or not. It's all up to them. And who gets elected to run the show? The popular Mr. Hart Evans.
Flat Stanley's Christmas Adventure
Santa Claus is not his usual, jolly self. He doesn't believe that children appreciate Christmas anymore. This year, he has decided that he is not going to deliver any Christmas presents! Luckily, his daughter, Sarah Claus, knows who to call for help. Can Flat Stanley save Christmas?
Calendar Mysteries: December Dog
The kids find a lost puppy on Christmas Eve with a ribbon around its neck, but the tag is ripped off. Can they solve the mystery and figure out who the puppy is a gift for, and who it's from?
This is the 12th of 13 books in the Calendar Mysteries series of early chapter books. If you have a kid who prefers to read series books in order, the full set of Calendar Mysteries (one set during each month, January-December + New Year's Eve) makes a great Christmas gift. They'll enjoy reading a mystery every month throughout the coming year.
Rainbow Magic Holiday Boxed Set
Kids love the Rainbow Magic Fairy books, and this holiday box set includes four Christmas chapter books: Holly the Christmas Fairy, Stella the Star Fairy, Gabriella the Snow Kingdom Fairy, Paige the Christmas Play Fairy.
Deck the Halls, We're Off the Walls!
This book is a special edition in the My Weird School series that will have kids cracking up throughout the Christmas season. Another Christmas title in the My Weird School series is Miss Holly is Too Jolly.
Geronimo Stilton: A Very Merry Christmas
Young fans of Geronimo Stilton will love to read about his adventures in New York City. His luggage gets switched with another mouse when he's on his way to visit his family, and he must scurry all over the Big Apple to track down the mouse that has all of his Christmas presents.
In addition to A Very Merry Christmas, there are several other Christmas titles in the Geronimo Stilton series, including: Merry Christmas, Geronimo, The Christmas Toy Factory and Christmas Catastrophe.
How to Incorporate Christmas Books Into Your Family Traditions
We strongly believe that kids should always be surrounded by books, but when it comes to holiday-themed books, we prefer to store them with the holiday decor, bringing them out for a month or so each year. By doing this, we can enjoy our favorite Christmas books year after year without the kids getting bored. Plus, storing them during the off-season frees up more room on the shelves for other books!
Incorporating books into your holiday traditions is a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit while instilling a lifelong love of reading in your children. Some families have a favorite title they like to read to kick off the season, some read a book or a chapter each night of December, and others choose a favorite family Christmas book to reach each Christmas Eve before tucking the kids into bed.
Learn how to create a Christmas Book Advent Calendar: A bookish advent calendar is one of our favoirte Christmas traditions. We’ve provided step by step instructions, answered lots of frequently asked questions, and even included a list of Christmas Advent Books for those who want to start this holiday tradition with a single book.
How to Create a Christmas Book Advent Calendar - Book Girls' Guide
Tuesday 23rd of November 2021
[…] BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: The Best Christmas Books for Kids […]
Friday 12th of November 2021
If you’ve never read the Lori Evert Wish books, check them out! Each year I read The Christmas Wish to some of my classes, and the kids are mesmerized!!! (Mom wrote the story using her daughter as a character and Dad is the photographer!)
Friday 12th of November 2021
Thank you! That looks amazing - such cool photographs!