Just as Christmas is a story for the ages, I’ve noticed that the season we have named for Christ’s birth has yielded stories for all ages. This year, I want to share the six latest Christmas books I have found, some of them Christian and others secular, but all beautiful and special in their own ways.
Christmas in the Barn / Margaret Wise Brown (illustrated by Anna Dewdney)—Brown takes liberties with the original story as she turns it into lyrical poetry, but I found the poetry simple and sweet. This book would make a good read-aloud. I think little children will enjoy Brown’s rendition of the story and the quirky animals in Dewdney’s oil illustrations.
The Birds’ Christmas Carol / Kate Douglas Wiggin—This Christmas story has little to do with actual birds, which is what I went in expecting, most likely because of the cardinals and greenery on the paperback edition my family owns. Instead, the story is about a little girl who is born on Christmastime and her family. The Birds’ Christmas Carol is very touching and reminds me of Angel Unaware by Dale Evans Rogers.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street / Karina Yan Glaser—Christmas is only days away, but the Vanderbeekers are more focused on winning over their landlord so they can stay in their townhouse than anticipating Christmas gifts and surprises. This is a fun children’s novel in the vein of All-of-a-Kind Family books, but with a modern setting. At first, the book seems like an unconvincing imitation of Elizabeth Enright’s The Saturdays or similar series. But as the story progresses, Yan Glaser finds her own voice and characters, and the book establishes its own place in children’s literature.
Christmas Fairy Tales / Selected by Neil Philip (illustrated by Isabelle Brent)—These twelve Christmas tales include new renditions of popular stories like “The Nutcracker” as well as a few I had never encountered before. Overall, I liked the selection and retellings. Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Last Dream of the Old Oak” is especially beautiful, both in its illustrations and content. (Note: The featured image for this article is one of Isabelle Brent’s illustrations. Her artwork is beautiful and perfect for a collection of fairy tales with its delicate colors and style.)
The Mitford Snowmen and Esther’s Gift by Jan Karon—For fans of Mitford, these two Christmas short stories are sweet and mix the spirit of Christmas and Mitford in a cheerful combination.
Have you found any new Christmas books this year? Or do you have any longtime favorites? If so, I would love to hear about them in the comments below.