As a child, one of my favorite things about the holiday season was pulling out the Christmas books that had been tucked away in a closet all year.
Now that I’m a mother, I’ve been able to recreate that tradition with my 6-year-old daughter, Lexi, who also looks forward to her seasonal stories.
This year I introduced Lexi to “Merry Moosey Christmas” by Maine author Lynn Plourde (illustrated by Russ Cox). We were delighted to follow along as Santa helps Rudolph find a replacement so he can have a break from guiding the sleigh this Christmas. Training a moose to fill a reindeer’s shoes isn’t easy. (To find out if Santa and Moosey can get the job done find Plourde’s book at your local bookstore or by visiting http://www.islandportpress.com/merry-moosey-christmas.html).
How do books fit into the author’s Christmas?
“Story is an essential part of who we are as human beings. We need to celebrate and savor and share stories—especially over the holidays,” said Plourde, who has written more than 25 children’s books.
I asked the award-winning author to share some of her favorite books of the season, highlighting what makes each one memorable:
1. THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF JONATHAN TOOMEY by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by PJ Lynch
Mr. Toomey, the finest woodcarver in the valley, has the nickname Mr. Gloomy because he grumbles and never smiles. He has a good reason to be gloomy, but will his heart soften as he carves a nativity scene for widow McDowell and her young son Thomas? The story unfolds slowly and gently. The illustrations are realistic and emotion-filled. A twentieth anniversary of this book has been released for Christmas 2015 so a new generation can discover this classic.
2. THE YEAR OF THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS TREE by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Barbara Cooney
This Appalachian tale tells how a village’s Christmas tree tradition almost comes to an end during the Great War. Ruthie and her Papa pick out the perfect Christmas tree on the edge of a high cliff and mark it with a red bow. But then Papa goes to war. How will Ruthie and Mama keep their family’s promise to provide the perfect Christmas tree for the town—and the perfect angel too? The illustrations by Maine’s beloved Barbara Cooney are timeless treasures.
3. THE POLAR EXPRESS by Chris Van Allsburg
Yes! This book is on everyone’s favorite list for Christmas books, but for good reason. It’s a classic that captures the wonder of believing in Santa Claus for all ages. Do you still hear the sleigh bells on Christmas Eve?
4. I SPY CHRISTMAS by Jean Marzollo, photographs by Walter Wick
Love setting out this book on the coffee table at during the Christmas season. Kids of all ages work together and delight in reading the rhyming riddles and finding each named object in the busy, beautiful photos: I spy a jingle bell, two birds of blue,/ A bunny, a star, and Santa’s red shoe Tricky, challenging, and fun!
5. THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS by Robert Sabuda
This cut-paper pop-up book is over-the-top gorgeous. The “12 days” song has never looked prettier. Just need to keep toddler hands away from it so the pages pop and delight year after year.
“It was a gift to reread some of my favorite Christmas books. That’s why books are such great gifts . . . they keep “giving” to the reader with each rereading,” said Plourde.
We want to know … what are YOU reading this holiday season?