Diving into the world of children’s literature, especially during the festive season, is like opening a treasure chest of imagination and joy. As an educator and a passionate advocate for the power of reading, I’ve always found that books have a unique way of capturing the essence of a celebration. With Christmas around the corner, I’ve scoured bookshelves and readers’ favorites to bring you a curated list of delightful Christmas picture books for kids. Each of these books, with their enchanting stories and illustrations, promises to add a sparkle to your holiday reading time.
From the whimsical adventures of elves to the heartwarming tales of giving and sharing, these books will definitely help instill the love of reading in young minds. They also serve as wonderful tools for teaching valuable life lessons wrapped in the festive spirit of Christmas. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or simply a lover of children’s literature, these books are sure to create memorable reading experiences for the little ones.
And if you’re looking for more festive reading options, don’t forget to check out my other post on Christmas stories for kids. It’s packed with more heartwarming tales that are perfect for the holiday season!
Christmas Picture Books for Kids
Here is our collection of the best Christmas picture books for kids
1. How to Catch an Elf, by Adam Wallace
In “How to Catch an Elf,” Adam Wallace presents a whimsical Christmas adventure that has quickly become a holiday favorite. On Christmas Eve, a crafty elf causes a ruckus in the house, leading to a series of imaginative and zany traps. This story, brimming with vibrant illustrations and engaging STEAM concepts, captures the essence of holiday excitement. It’s a delightful read for children, parents, and educators, perfect for ages 4-8, and a wonderful addition to any Christmas book collection.
2. The Littlest Elf, by Brandi Dougherty
Brandi Dougherty’s “The Littlest Elf” tells the story of Oliver, the smallest elf at the North Pole, on a quest to find his special role in Santa’s workshop. Despite a series of mishaps in different parts of the workshop, Oliver’s journey is a heartwarming tale of perseverance and self-discovery. This story, filled with Christmas cheer, is a reminder that size doesn’t define one’s ability to make a significant impact, especially in the magic of Christmas.
3. My Butt is SO CHRISTMASSY!, by Dawn McMillan
Dawn McMillan’s “My Butt is SO CHRISTMASSY!” is a hilarious and light-hearted addition to the beloved Butt book series. This rhyming story follows a young character’s imaginative and humorous quest to decorate his backside for the festive season. It’s a tale that will have children giggling all the way through, as they join in the fun and excitement of dressing up for Christmas in the most unusual way!
4. The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving, by Jan Berenstain and Mike Berenstain
Jan and Mike Berenstain’s “The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving” explores the important themes of generosity and gratitude. Part of the Zonderkidz The Berenstain Bears Living Lights™ series, this book teaches children the value of giving and sharing God’s goodness. With over 13 million copies sold, this story continues to be a cherished resource for parents and educators in imparting traditional values during the holiday season.
5. The Giving Snowman, by Julia Zheng
Julia Zheng’s “The Giving Snowman” is a heartwarming tale of kindness and gratitude. On a snowy night, a compassionate snowman extends help to various characters in need. This story beautifully illustrates the virtue of giving and the interconnectedness it brings to our lives. Zheng’s experience as an English teacher and her passion for writing shine through in this enchanting bedtime story that encourages children to appreciate the joy of helping others.
6. Pete the Cat: Snow Daze, by James Dean and Kimberly Dean
“Pete the Cat: Snow Daze” by James Dean and Kimberly Dean captures the excitement and eventual monotony of consecutive snow days. Pete the Cat revels in the fun of snowball fights and hot chocolate, but soon realizes that there can be too much of a good thing. This story is a delightful exploration of finding balance and joy in everyday life, making it a perfect read for young readers navigating their own snow days and holiday breaks.
7. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, by Rick Bunsen
Rick Bunsen’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is a timeless Christmas classic that tells the story of Rudolph, a reindeer who is initially ostracized for being different. His shiny red nose, which makes him the subject of ridicule, eventually becomes his greatest asset, helping to save Christmas during a massive snowstorm. This story is a powerful reminder of the importance of embracing our uniqueness and how our differences can be our strengths.
8. How to Catch a Reindeer, by Alice Walstead
In “How to Catch a Reindeer,” Alice Walstead crafts a festive and playful tale where Santa’s trusted reindeer, Comet, goes on an unexpected adventure. This story invites young readers to join the How to Catch Kids in their quest to prove Santa’s existence by catching Comet. Filled with silly rhymes, vibrant illustrations, and engaging STEAM concepts, this book is set to become a cherished holiday tradition, perfect for children aged 4-10 and a great Christmas gift or stocking stuffer.
9. Construction Site on Christmas Night, by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Sherri Duskey Rinker’s “Construction Site on Christmas Night” is a heartwarming addition to the beloved Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site series. This holiday picture book brings back Excavator, Bulldozer, Crane, Dump Truck, and Cement Mixer as they work together to build a new home for fire engines. As they complete their important job, each vehicle receives a special Christmas surprise.
10. Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
Chris Van Allsburg’s “Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition” revitalizes the beloved Christmas classic with a bold new jacket design and expanded interior layout. This enchanting tale takes readers on a mysterious journey to the North Pole aboard the Polar Express, capturing the essence of childhood wonder and the magic of Christmas. A Caldecott Medal winner, this story has become a fundamental part of many families’ holiday traditions and has been adapted into a popular movie and stage productions.
11. How to Catch a Gingerbread Man, by Adam Wallace
Adam Wallace’s “How to Catch a Gingerbread Man” is a whimsical and engaging story where the famous Gingerbread Man leaps from storybook pages, leading kids and characters like Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes on a merry chase through a bookstore. This book is filled with creative STEAM traps and a fun, silly narrative, making it an ideal read-aloud for children aged 4-10. It’s a delightful addition to the holiday book collection, offering both entertainment and educational value.
12. The Night Before Christmas, by Edited by Sequoia Children’s Publishing
“The Night Before Christmas – Hardcover Christmas Book” by Sequoia Children’s Publishing is a beautifully crafted keepsake edition of Clement C. Moore’s classic holiday story. Tom Newsom’s timeless art brings this beloved tale to life, creating a perfect book for families to share and cherish every Christmas season. The option to personalize the book adds an extra special touch, making it a treasured gift for years to come.
13. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Full Color Jacketed Edition, by Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: Full Color Jacketed Edition” brings a new vibrancy to the classic tale. Originally published with just two colors, this edition features full-color illustrations, likely how Dr. Seuss would have envisioned it if published today. The contrast between the Grinch’s drab life and the vibrant world of the Whos is now more striking than ever. This edition is a cheerful addition to the Dr. Seuss canon, appealing to fans of all ages.
14. The Christmasaurus, by Tom Fletcher
Tom Fletcher’s “The Christmasaurus” is a unique and magical Christmas tale. It begins long ago with a dinosaur egg that ends up frozen in the ocean, only to be discovered by Santa and his elves. The story takes an exciting turn when Santa accidentally gifts a real dinosaur, the Christmasaurus, to a young boy named William Trundle, fulfilling his Christmas wish in the most extraordinary way. This imaginative story blends the magic of Christmas with the wonder of dinosaurs, creating a festive adventure like no other.
15. Pick a Pine Tree, by Patricia Toht
“Pick a Pine Tree” by Patricia Toht is a heartwarming portrayal of a cherished Christmas tradition – selecting and decorating the Christmas tree. Toht, with her debut book, alongside Jarvis’s illustrations, captures the essence of this festive ritual. The story beautifully unfolds the process, from picking out the perfect tree to digging out ornaments and lighting it up, enveloping readers in the joy and warmth of the season. This book is a delightful celebration of family, friends, and the timeless customs that make the holiday season merry.
16. Llama Llama Jingle Bells, by Anna Dewdney
Anna Dewdney’s “Llama Llama Jingle Bells” is a charming board book that introduces the youngest readers to the delightful world of Llama Llama. In this short and sweet rhyming story, little Llama and his friends engage in classic holiday activities – giving gifts, singing songs, and decorating cookies. It’s a perfect introduction to the holiday season for toddlers, combining the joy of Christmas with the simplicity and appeal of the Llama Llama series.
17. Olivia Helps with Christmas, by Ian Falconer
“Ian Falconer’s “Olivia Helps with Christmas” is a delightful addition to the beloved Olivia series. This story captures the excitement and chaos of preparing for Christmas through the eyes of everyone’s favorite pig, Olivia. As she eagerly helps with the holiday preparations, her unique charm and energy bring a humorous and heartwarming perspective to the festive season. Falconer’s signature style makes this book a holiday treat for both children and adults.
18. The Jolly Christmas Postman, by Allan Ahlberg
“The Jolly Christmas Postman” by Allan Ahlberg is a wonderfully interactive picture book that brings back the charm of handwritten letters. This full-color classic invites readers to join the Jolly Postman as he delivers Christmas letters to various fairy-tale characters. The book includes real letters that can be taken out and read, offering a unique and engaging reading experience. It’s a delightful journey through beloved stories, reimagined in a festive, postal adventure.
19. The Legend of the Poinsettia, by Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola’s “The Legend of the Poinsettia” is a beautifully illustrated book that brings to life a traditional Mexican legend about the origins of the poinsettia, known as the flower of the Holy Night. The story, centered around a little girl’s unselfish gift to the Christ Child, is a touching portrayal of the true spirit of giving. DePaola’s vibrant paintings not only capture the brilliant colors of Mexico but also the excitement of Christmas and the poignant hope of the young girl, Lucida.
20. Cooking with the Grinch (Dr. Seuss), by Tish Rabe
“Cooking with the Grinch” by Tish Rabe is a delightful rhymed holiday story featuring the iconic Grinch from Dr. Seuss’s universe. This Step 1 Reader is perfect for young children beginning to read, combining simple text with rhythmic storytelling and picture clues. The story follows the Grinch and Cindy-Lou Who as they bake together, with a humorous twist involving Max the dog. The book even includes a simple dog treat recipe, making it a fun and interactive read for Dr. Seuss fans and young readers alike.
As we wrap up this festive journey through some of the most enchanting Christmas books for kids, I hope you’ve found a few titles to add to your holiday reading list. Each book we’ve explored offers its own unique blend of holiday magic, from the laughter-filled escapades of mischievous elves to the heartwarming tales of kindness and generosity. These stories are more than just entertainment; they’re a means to bond with young readers, instill a love for reading, and share the true spirit of the holiday season.