Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Books for Kids

A Christmas season tradition at the Archer home is reading Christmas children’s books. Each year I go through my row of books from my teaching days and pull out all the Christmas books. The stack sits on the couch all season and we read at least one each day. We also like to check some out from the local library, even though we have a large pile.

Here are several books that are our favorites for this year. Some are my son’s favorites and some are my books of choice.

My son 's favorite part of this book is the last page which is the music to the song. He places the book at the piano and proceeds to grace us with a unique rendition of Jingle Bells.

This is a cute pop-up book full of bugs. The singsong story is to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Day 12 is a stunning 3-D display of Angel bugs.

This story is about a family who decorates a tree in the forest each year with edible ornaments for the animals. Every year when we read this story I remember that I think it's a really neat idea and I remind myself that I would like to do this someday.

Jan Brett is an extremely gifted illustrator. If you've never read one of her books, you simply must. The detail will astound you. Her style of illustrating gives this classic poem new life.

This is one of my favorites. I've met the author and she has written in our book a message for my son. Michelle Medlock Adams tells the story of Christ's birth from the perspective of the dove and other animals. The rhyming lilt makes the book endearing.

I like to read this book on Christmas Eve before bed. The words are the lyrics to Silent Night and the accompanying pictures are Thomas Kinkade paintings.

And finally, our reading would not be complete without a trip to the North Pole. This book was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Award and once you've read it you'll see it is deserving. My son likes the version of this book that has pictures from the motion picture by the same name. To me, nothing beats the original.

What do you and your children read together this time of year? Do you have a favorite Christmas story from your childhood?

Merry Christmas reading--

J Renee

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Reading

Reading Christmas stories is a December tradition for me. The last few years I’ve breezed through many and nothing is better than a heartwarming story during the Christmas season. Unfortunately, not all Christmas stories are equally created. It sounds impossible but, I have encountered some stories that do not capture the dreamy, cozy, romantic, feel-good emotion I desire from a Christmas-themed book. And let me say now that all of the books I mention in this post are quick reads—they are novella-size.

First, Donna VanLiere has written many Christmas books, all of which are outstanding.  I have read several and can say that each one makes you sigh, cry and leaves you with a fairy tale feeling. Isn’t that the best kind of story to read this time of year? The Christmas Blessing is her title that I’ve most recently read. This book is the sequel to The Christmas Shoes and it addresses the purpose each of us is on earth to fulfill. It’s a story of hope and love and miracles. If you’d like to see what else VanLiere has to offer, click here.

Christmas in Harmony by Philip Gulley is another recent read. I thought the book was mediocre. I have certain criteria, as I’ve stated, that I expect to have in every Christmas story and this novella did not match my criteria. It is fairly well-written but the storyline doesn’t really go anywhere. Gulley has written a series of books revolving around the small town of Harmony and the quirky people who reside there. Philip Gulley isn’t the romantic that Donna VanLiere is but your yuletide reading pleasures may be different than mine.

I’ve also read, The Perfect Love Song by Pattie Callahan Henry. This one had plenty of everything I desire in a seasonal read. It was a good plot but, there was one element that tips the scale for me. There were occasions when the characters would speak the name of God in vain. Really? In a Christmas story? That’s a huge turn off—in any book I read, but especially in a Christmas book!

I have a few more Christmas tales to read before the season passes by. Check out my lists of books I’ve read in past years for other great Christmas books. What books do you enjoy reading this time of year?

Back to my Christmas book—

 J Renee