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Our favourite Christmas books

Here’s a selection of our favourite books for Christmas and the festive season.

You can click on the link and buy the book.

Gaspard’s Christmas
Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew

Christmas is approaching, It is snowing and Gaspard is scavenging amongst the rubbish bags when he finds a man lying in the snow, frozen with the cold. Alarmed Gaspard gathers his animal friends to help. Could this be Father Christmas? It looks remarkably like him!  Finty, whose owner works at a local shelter, realises this is a homeless man and knows exactly what to do. A warmhearted story about caring for the most needy in our community, celebrating the work of shelters, particularly in winter months and during the Christmas season. The illustrations are stunning, capturing the magic of winter evenings.

The hardback book includes links to original music for a song to accompany the story written by the author, Zeb Soanes.

Visit our activity page for the first in the series, Gaspard the Fox  

A Boy Called Christmas Matt Haig
Age 7-9

A magical story which imagines Father Christmas as a boy called Nikolas, and describes how he came to have the job of delivering gifts to children everywhere equipped with sleigh and reindeer late each Christmas Eve. Full of excitement and some sad and scary moments, this gripping tale has humour and warmth. There is a cast of highly memorable characters; including Nikolas’s archetypally evil Aunt Carlotta, elvish despot Father Vodol, a dangerously mischievous Truth Pixie and a reindeer called Blitzen. Nikolas knows he wants to do ‘good’ and believes nothing is impossible. It takes him many decades to find his purpose in life; to spread goodwill and bring joy to children everywhere. A perfect festive season book to share.
Watch a trailer Buy here

The Christmas Eve Tree Delia Huddy, Emily Sutton (illus)
Walker Books
Age 5-7+

A little fir tree, is cut down and taken to the city to be sold. But no one wants this small, lopsided spindly tree until, just as the shops are closing on Christmas Eve, a small boy asks the shop keeper if he can have it. The little fir tree has an unexpectedly joyful Christmas with an unlikely group of people and afterwards eventually finds a permanent home where he grows strong and sturdy..

This is a delightfully illustrated Christmas story, which explores the idea of the spirit of Christmas; that goodwill, caring and fun is more important than expensive presents.
See our ideas for sharing The Christmas Eve Tree. Buy here

A Christmas Story Brian Wildsmith
Oxford University Press
Age 3-5

The nativity story is told from the perspective of a little donkey and a young girl called Rebecca, charged with his care. The donkey’s mother is carrying Mary to Bethlehem with Joseph. The little donkey is sad to be left alone and so Rebecca, decides they should follow. Eventually they find a bright star over an innkeeper’s stable and they are witness to the events of that night.   First written thirty years ago by award-winning artist Brian Wildsmith, this hardback small format version with stunning illustrations will capture children’s interest and imagination, providing lots to talk about.
Buy here

Christmas For Greta and Gracie
Yasmeen Ismail
Nosy Crow
Age 3-5

It’s Christmas Eve and Greta and Gracie are busy getting ready, colouring Christmas pictures, decorating the village tree and buying ribbon to wrap presents. Greta is a bit older and takes charge of putting the star on the tree and of conversations about Father Christmas and what he is like. Gracie spends a lot of time listening and doing what she’s told. However, during the night before Christmas it is Gracie who hears funny noises and finds Father Christmas in the sitting room wrapping presents. She is able to help him, and ask him lots of questions. In the morning, for once, Greta is lost for words when she finds out that Gracie has actually met Father Christmas and so really knows what he’s like.

An appealing and amusing story about being a younger sister with a seasonally magical ending.
Buy here

Dogger’s Christmas  Shirley Hughes 
Bodley Head
Age 5-7

Dogger’s Christmas is a festive sequel to the much-loved story of a lost toy first published 43 years ago. Dave and his sister Bella are a bit older and their family have grown with a younger brother. Dave enjoys playing with lots of other toys now and is excited about new presents for Christmas, but he still loves Dogger.  The family enjoy a happy family Christmas until Dave notices Dogger is missing. Can big sister Bella save the day again?

Buy here  
See our activity page for Dogger

Helen Stephens
Alison Green Books
Age 3-7

This is a delightful seasonal story continuing Iris and her friend the lion’s adventures. Iris and her family set off to stay with her Auntie for Christmas. She wants to take the lion with her but her parents say no and her attempts at hiding him as a present or decoration are unsuccessful. The lion knows Iris is sad and so secretly follows her but after falling asleep on the train loses sight of her. He doesn’t give up though and after trudging through the snow eventually finds Iris’s auntie’s house, soon spotting a strange man in a red coat climbing down the chimney! A gorgeous picture book perfect for Christmas. Watch a trailer here.
Buy here
See our activity ideas for the first in the series How to Hide a Lion

How Winston Delivered Christmas
An advent story in twenty four and a half chapters
Alex T Smith
Age 5-9

This is a wonderful book which would be a delight to share as a family in the build up to Christmas. The whole book is designed on the principle of an advent calendar with a chapter to be read each day. It tells the story of Winston, a  mouse who finds a letter for Father Christmas lost by a little boy called Oliver and has many adventures trying to deliver it.   As well as the appealing and wonderfully illustrated story there is a festive activity for each day; from making your own wrapping paper to baking gingerbread mice. There is a clear reminder that Christmas isn’t just about receiving presents, being kind and thoughtful as Winston demonstrates is very important too. The back of the book contains several well-known Christmas songs, the story of the Night before Christmas and even tips for getting ready for Christmas the following year.

The book’s creator, Alex. T.Smith demonstrates how to write a letter to Santa, the first activity in the book here
Buy here

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Dr Seuss
Random House
Age 3-7

The only one in Whoville who doesn’t celebrate Christmas is the Grinch. He can’t bear everyone else having fun, so on Christmas Eve he dresses as Santa and sets out to steal Christmas. In this classic tale the grumpy, mean Grinch learns what Christmas is really about. Classic fun from Dr Seuss!
Buy here

The Jolly Christmas Postman  Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Age 3-7

This is a very special book which is perfect for sharing at Christmas time. It is a sequel to The Jolly Postman who delivers letters to familiar characters from fairy tales. It is helpful if children already know this story before reading The Jolly Christmas Postman but not essential.

In this book the jolly postman does his rounds on a snowy Christmas Eve. Time has moved on and Goldilocks and baby bear both have a new baby in the family. The postman’s round eventually takes him to Father Christmas’ workshop and an exciting trip on his sledge with lots of special deliveries to make. This book is very ‘hands on’ with interesting Christmas mail and presents to take out of the envelopes and share.
Click here for our ideas on sharing this story  
Buy here

Mog’s Christmas Judith Kerr
Harper Collins
Age 3-7

In Mog’s Christmas Mog is thrown into confusion by the unfamiliar smells and disturbances of Christmas preparations. So much so that escaping to the roof, unintentionally she creates further disturbances with dramatic effect.
Buy here
For another story about Mog at Christmas time see Mog’s Christmas Calamity.

The Night BeforeChristmas Clement C Moore (Author), Angela Barrett (Illus)
Orchard Books
Age 5-7

This classic, festive poem is enchantingly illustrated by Angela Barrett, a Kate Greenaway Medallist, who perfectly expresses the magical atmosphere of the verse. There are many versions and including that illustrated by Eric Puybaret.
Buy here

The Polar Express
Chris Van Allsburg
Harcourt Brace
Age 5-9

A mesmerising story in words and pictures of a child who takes a magical train journey to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus, his reindeer and elves. Offered a choice of any gift his heart desires, he chooses a bell from the reindeer’s harness that only believers in Santa can hear. A prize winning story also now a popular Christmas film read here by Liam Neeson
Buy the book

The Snowman
Raymond Briggs

Age 3-7
magical wordless picturebook which tells the story of a young boy who wakes to find it is snowing. After working hard all day to make a wonderful snowman when he gets ready for bed he can think of little else. The film animation and book of the film include a magical trip to a land with many more snowmen where they meet – Father Christmas!

This is a book to talk about together as you read the beautiful sequence of illustrations. Was it all a dream? Speculate about this together as well as thinking what children would like to do if they built a snowman that came to life.
Watch a complete animation of the story here:

Find out more
Buy here

The Snowflake
Benji Davies
Harper Collins
Age 3-7

This is a beautifully told and illustrated story about a snowflake searching for somewhere to land and a little girl called Noelle who dreams of decorating her own Christmas tree, complete with a star on top, just like the ones she has seen in shop windows. Eventually their stories combine, their wishes come true and Noelle’s makeshift Christmas tree becomes very special indeed. 
Buy the book

Anne Booth, Sam Usher (illus)
Nosy Crow
Age 5-7

Topically relevant, this version of the Nativity continues the story as Mary, Joseph and their new baby leave Bethlehem as refugees and seek sanctuary in Egypt. The story is simply told from the donkey’s perspective. Beautifully illustrated with subtle use of colour.

Nosy Crow are giving proceeds of the sale of the book  to the charity War Child to help care for Syrian refugee children and their families and other children displaced, orphaned and suffering as a result of war too.
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