Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Children's Books -- Christmas

I love books. I read a lot to my dds and I keep notes on some of the books I like. The following is a list of Christmas books for children that I started keeping last year and thought I'd share.
To read more, click the Xs...

The Christmas Story from the Gospel According to St. Luke, Illustrated by James Bernardin. Picture Book. Good for all ages, picture book using the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke, KJV. Beautiful, realistic illustrations accompanying short passages. My daughter, who was 3 years at the time, enjoyed it.

The Christmas Story According to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (KJV). Illustrated by Gennady Spirin. More extensive than the book above. Each page of text has verse references. Lovely illustrations in a Renaissance style. The story is longer and the style of the illustrations may not appeal to young children as much as the book above. You may want to look at a library copy to see if it appeals to you and your children, if so, its worth owning -- a beautiful book.

Christmas is... by Gail Gibbons
Cartoonish illustrations with bright colors. Explains various aspects of the Christmas celebration: nativity story, Santa Claus/St. Nicholas (how the history of St. Nicholas evolved into the story of Santa Claus); Christmas tree, Christmas lights, gift giving. Shouldn't spoil Santa for kids who believe in him (told as "some people think"). While this book doesn't necessarily forward the story of Santa, neither does it dismantle it. Probably a good choice for those with young children looking to explain the various aspects of Christmas celebrations.

The Golden Books Treasury of Christmas Joy, complied and edited by Skip Skwarek. A beautiful book and collection of "stories, poems, carols and more." Cross cultural celebrations, Christmas ABCs, activities, religious and secular. School-age children. Get this for $6 through Daedalus.

Christmas by Alice K. Flanagan
Cartoonish illustrations. Explains all aspects of Christmas -- religious, secular, pagan origins of the winter festival. May spoil Santa Claus for those who still believe in him by giving so much history. Glossary and resources in back. Elementary, good explanation of all the various aspects of Christmas -- she sums it up by saying, "On Christmas, many people celebrate two holidays...the birthday of Jesus Christ...[and] the arrival of Santa Claus." I thought this was a pretty good way of distinguishing the two (personally, I'm not into Santa Claus, I can tolerate him, but I'm not going to the trouble of talking about Santa coming and what he's bringing, etc, etc. My dd gets enough of that from the culture).

Christmas, A True Book, by Dana Meachen Rau. Textbook-ish, lots of photographs and other illustrations. Basic information (history, gift giving, trees, cross-cultural) presented in a dry format. Mid-elementary aged children.

The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book, Take Joy
Songs, stories and poems. Older elementary aged children.

A Time to Keep, Tasha Tudor
Not a Christmas book. Recounts the year's activities. Set in an earlier time period. Beautiful picture book, goes month by month.

The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier *
Lovely picture book -- realistic illustrations on one page with text on the facing page. Setting is a mother explaining the nativity story to her school-age son (8 years old) and answering his many questions about it. Bible passages about the nativity story are interspersed with dialogue between the mother and son. Lots of background information and questions, the scripture takes up a much smaller part of the book. Looks like a great book for school aged kids.

The Nativity, Mary Remembers by Laurie Knowlton
Picture book -- illustrations on one page with text on the facing page. The nativity from Mary's perspective; good for elementary age kids, probably -- whatever age when kids can empathize. A nice way to make the nativity more meaningful.

The Christmas Story by Carol Heyer
Picture book. Realistic illustrations, bold clear clean lines, a bit stylized, may be too intense for young children. The nativity story with a brief follow-up of Jesus' live and ministry. Nice way to tie in nativity to the importance of Jesus and what he did.

Check your library for these books -- all of them came from my county's library.

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