A Literary Advent

A few years ago I read about having a literary advent: reading a book a day through the advent season. Last year I got things together enough, and with the help of some sisters and a brother-in-law after a family dinner, we wrapped up 25 Christmas books.

It was an overwhelming success! The prefect fit for our family who loves to read. (I do like to find the thin, less pricy wrapping paper. And as much I love to fully decorate Christmas packages with ribbons and bows, these books do not get that full treatment.)


This year I browsed the used books stores all year and picked up a few new ones to add to our collection. Most of our collection was given as gifts or I found used, a few I bought new.

Here’s a little on the books I have lined up for this year: (My son is 7, daughter is 5, and my youngest son is almost 2)

Great Titles for the Littlest Ones

Lift the FlapLift the Flap Nativity by Allia Zobel Nolan
(Board book) This one is more for my youngest, but it’s a new (used) find this year that I’m sure will pique the interest of the older two. (They’re always up for a new-to-them book.) :-)

the story of christmasThe Story of Christmas by Patricia A Pingry
(Board book) Another one for my littlest guy. Last year I wasn’t sure if I’d add anymore board books to our home collection, but with another baby due in the Spring I’m not sure our current board books will survive that many little hands. (With each child they seem to love “harder” on our board books!)

Picture Books:

Mortimer'sMortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
New (used) one this year. I’ve seen Mortimer on Christmas book lists all over the internet and decided he needed to be in our collection too. (Age 2-8)

God Gave Us ChristmasGod Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren
(Board book) A new one this year because of so many high recommendations. (Age 3-7)

The Animals Christmas EveThe Animal’s Christmas Eve (a Little Golden Book)
This rhyming favorite is in delicate shape from my childhood. (Age 3-7)

humphrey's FirstHumphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer
Lovely little picture book about the camel who carried the gift of gold to baby Jesus. (Age 4 and up)

Song of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-JonesSong of the Stars by Sally Lloyd-Jones
The whole universe anticipates the birth of Jesus. (Age 4-7)

Christmas Big WoodsChristmas in the Big Woods (My First Little House Book)
Another new find for this year. We’ve just started reading this series, and my daughter really enjoys it! (Age 4-8)

Mr Willowby's Christmas TreeMr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
Very cute picture book. (Age 4 and up)

the twelveThe Twelve Days of Christmas Illustrated by Jan Brett
I might have them open this one the same day as the pop up 12 Days of Christmas book, or I might drop it from the stack this year. (Age 4 and up)

The Crippled LambThe Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
Love this one. Good story. (A little long, I’m not sure my youngest will sit through it all.) (Age 3-7)

Night TreeNight Tree by Eve Bunting
Fun story we’ve read since my oldest was 3. Would recommend for everyone’s home library. (Age 4-8)

Wild ChristmasThe Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
Cute story about litte Teeka getting the reindeer ready for Santa. (Age 4-8)

The First NoelThe First Noel Illustrated by Jody Wheeler
The story of the birth of Jesus through the verses of the Christmas carol we all know. (Age 5 and up)

The Tale of Three TreesThe Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt
Story of three trees that dream of becoming a holder of treasure, a fine ship, a hilltop beacon pointing to God, and as you can guess become the manger, a fishing boat, and The Cross. (Age 5 and up)

The Legend of the Candy CaneThe Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Bernardin
Fun little story that makes my mouth water for hard candy when I don’t even like it! (Age 4-7)

The Light of the World by Katherine PatersonThe Light of the World by Katherine Paterson
I love this one that includes the birth as well as life, teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus. (Age 4-8)

gigiThe Perfect Christmas Gift (gigi: God’s Little Princess) by Sheila Walsh
Another one more specifically for my daughter, obviously. (Age 4-7)

The Year of The PerfectThe Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston
A longer picture book that might bring a tear to your eye. (Age 5-8)


Classic Christmas Picture Books: 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
No comment necessary. My oldest two can almost quote the entire book! (Age 5-9)

A Charlie Brown ChristmasA Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
Again, the collection wouldn’t be complete with some Charlie Brown.

The Polar ExpressThe Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
I’ve yet to see the movie, but we love this book. (Age 4-8)


Longer Picture Books:

Christmas TapestryChristmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
I found this one last year but thought it was a little too long/deep for them last year. After a quick re-read I think it’ll be a perfect story for them this year. (Another one that might make you tear up at the end.) (Age 6-8)

OrangeAn Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco
This too was a find from last year that I held back. Good lessons taught through story always make a winning book. (Age 6-10)

Books with a little extra:
Depending on the child these two might need adult supervision.

Jolly Christmas PostmanThe Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg
This one I’ll admit I did buy new. But it’s worth it! This was one of their very favorite books last year. Full of envelops with fun surprises just like the original Jolly Postman. (Age 5 and up)

the 12The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition (A Pop Up Celebration) by Robert Sabuda
This one I’m very excited about! It’s a new one this year, and yes, I paid full price. The kids have seen the cover, and how thick it is and keep begging to peek inside! The last page not only pops up it lights up as well! (Age 4-8)


Picture books that could be read as daily advent reading:

Nick and HollyWhat Nick & Holly Found in Grandpa’s Attic by Melody Carlson
Love this story, but partly because my Dad played Grandpa in a play of this story at our church. (I still need to hunt down a recording of it to show my kids! They’ll love it!!) Originally, you could buy a set of Adorenaments (from FamilyLife) You can read it in one long sitting, or break it up into 12 days, learning about a different name of Jesus each day. Amazon will let you see inside the book. It’s not too long for little ones to sit through. (Age 4-7)

One-Wintry-Night-by-Ruth-Bell-GrahamOne Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham
Another one you can read over. Last year we broke it up and read a chapter a night. (Eleven chapters, each chapter is about 2 pages.) (Age 4-7)


What are your favorite Christmas books? I love finding those gems out there!


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