Over the years I’ve enjoyed collecting Christmas picture books for children. While my boys are long past indulging my read-aloud story time, I love sharing these recommendations with friends.
Many of the books are focused on the birth of Christ while others have underlying redemptive themes that can spur discussion. Some are holiday classics, and others are not as well known or only vaguely linked to Christmas, but I happily add them to my personal list of “Christmas favorites.”
Some families have the tradition of opening one book each evening for the 12 days before Christmas, and I hope you will find several books here that would be a perfect fit for that tradition. To help you decide which might be best for you or your family, I’ve included a line or two about why I love the following books, but you can find the full book description when you click/tap the cover.
I’ve read and handled most of these titles, and happily recommend each one. The links provided below are called “affiliate links,” which means, if you click the cover image and buy it, Amazon will pay me a few cents for recommending the book to you, but you will not be charged anything extra.
If this list is missing a high-quality Christmas book, I hope you will email me and let me know. Happy Christmas reading.
Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones
If you begin with the first story of creation and read one story each night, you will read the last part of the Christmas story on Christmas Eve. This is one of my all-time favorite books because it’s just as meaningful for adults who read it to children.
The Christmas Story–Pop up Book, by Robert Sabuda
I love pop-up books, and this one is beautifully simple. But, as with all pop-ups, you might want to keep it on the top shelf since little fingers can hardly help but wiggle the cutouts.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuess
My favorite line from this classic is, “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas….perhaps…means a little bit more.” It’s the perfect discussion starter.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, by P.J Lynch
A lost piece of a nativity scene initially connects the characters, but subtle hints of grief and loss are the catalyst for the kindness that brings these characters together. Gorgeous illustrations.
The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry
The classic short story by O. Henry is about two people who give to one another sacrificially. Their story proves to us that it really is “the thought that counts” no matter the outcome. O. Henry gives a short commentary at the end saying, “…of all who give gifts, these two were the wisest.” The language is beautiful and a little antiquated in places, and the illustrations are beautiful.
The Tale of Three Trees, by Angela Elwell Hunt
While it’s not explicitly a Christmas book, the three trees are evergreens personified. Each has a dream, and each dream is fulfilled in the most unexpected and beautiful way. We get a glimpse of the manger scene along the way. This is another all-time favorite. A perfect gift for many occasions (new baby, Christmas, birthday, Easter, or no-reason-at-all)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson
Another classic, this one is full of laughs. We get a glimpse of how the Christmas story might sound to someone who has never heard it before. In case you don’t know, the Herdman children smoke, drink, and are pretty mean. If you or your children are sensitive in that regard, make a note to read it yourself first. It can be read in an hour, and there are no pictures. However, I still can’t read it without shedding tears at the end. Jesus came for all of us, especially the Herdman children and those of us who are Herdmans at heart.
Remarkable Advent, by Shauna Letellier (that’s me!)
Maybe it seems funny to include my own book in a list of my favorites, but I hope you’ll pardon me if it does. I so enjoyed writing it! I originally wrote it for myself, and I imagined people reading it individually as a devotional. But many parents have told me children as young as six have enjoyed the stories. In 25 daily readings, I imaginatively retell the Christmas story one scene at a time. (Note: not a picture book).
Want a free four-day sample of Remarkable Advent?
The Innkeeper, by John Piper
This is a breathtaking poem by John Piper wherein he imagines what it might have been like if Jesus, as an adult, revisited the innkeeper who provided the stable where he was born. It examines the high cost of obeying God and loving Christ, as well as the high cost Jesus paid to save us. It is a somber, powerful, and emotional read. Possibly more suited for adults and older children with lovely illustrations.
Advent: The Story of Christmas, by Sherri Gragg
Starting with Old Testament stories, Gragg offers 31 fictional retellings of various scriptural scenes that points to Christ’s coming. It’s a beautiful little hardback with gold accents and a ribbon bookmark. A lovely devotional for the month of December.
Touching Wonder, by John Blase
This one is for the poets who love beautiful wording and sanctified imagination. Blase retells biblical moments from the viewpoints of different characters, including angels and relatives of Jesus’ family.
The Advent of the Lamb of God, by Russ Ramsey
From the back cover: “…it brings to life the people, the places and the earth-shaking significance of the greatest story ever told–the true tall tale of the coming of Christ.” Beautifully written, theologically rich, and insightful, this one is best suited for adults. Twenty-five readings will most certainly enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the Advent season.