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Review of “The Spider Who Saved Christmas”

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An Eastern European Christmas Legend

In The Spider Who Saved Christmas, Raymond Arroyo brings a popular Eastern European Christmas legend to life. This gorgeous book tells the story of the Golden Orb Weaver spider who protected the Christ child.

An Unusual Christmas Ornament

In Poland and Ukraine, spider ornaments are commonly placed on Christmas trees. According to a legend little-known in America, a spider made a web to camouflage the cave where the Holy Family hid while fleeing Herod’ slaughter of the innocents. While the Holy Family slept, the spider spun a web across the opening of the cave which saved the Christ child’s life.

Beautiful Illustrations for a Beautiful Story

My favorite part of this book is Rand Gallegos’ luminous illustrations! The light seems to emanate from the Christ Child’s peaceful face in a way that fascinated my children and charmed me. To scroll through a full preview of these amazing pictures, check out the sales page from publisher Sophia Press.

Not for the Littlest Ones

This is a beautiful and unique Christmas picture book which older kids will enjoy, but I wouldn’t recommend it for the littlest children. My 3 year old (who’s a bit sensitive) was upset by the references to Herod slaughtering the innocent baby boys. The actual slaughtering isn’t described, of course, but there are descriptions of the wails and shrieks of dying babies, which may be upsetting to very young or sensitive children.

Great Present for 5-7 year olds

This beautiful book makes a great St. Nicholas Day or Christmas present for Catholic children 5+. Even your non-Catholic friends will enjoy this unique Christmas legend! We’ll be adding it to our Christmas book basket books this Advent.

Buy it through my Amazon affiliate link: The Spider Who Saved Christmas

Or through my Bookshop affiliate link: The Spider Who Saved Christmas

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of “The Spider Who Saved Christmas” from Sophia Institute Press in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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Book Lovers’ Christmas Gift Guide 2020

Recommendations for the best quality books to gift this Christmas season! By age and category!

Jump to a category:

Picture Books

Early Elementary

Middle Grade

Tweens and Teens

Adults

Family

Favorite Picture Book Gifts

Saint Story

A beautifully illustrated picture book with an equally beautiful theme about lying, reparation, and forgiveness. Read my full review here!

Affiliate link: St. Conrad and the Wildfire

Christmas Books
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Here’s a brand new Christmas book so you can be sure they won’t already have it! A simple book with a nice theme about spiritual blindness and the power of a little kindness.

Affiliate link: The Grumpy Old Ox

We love this reworking of the beloved Christmas poem. Twas the Evening of Christmas reclaims the traditional Christmas story while keeping the familiar rhythm children love in The Night Before Christmas.

Affiliate link: ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas

For more of my favorite Christmas picture books, check out my list: Good Christmas Books for Catholic Kids!

Classics

Little Annie dearly wants a new friend after her cat Taffy disappears. Despite her best efforts, she finds the forest animals unmanagable. Fortunately, Taffy comes home in time for spring.

Affiliate link: Annie and the Wild Animals

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Dogger always makes me cry, in a good way. Dave loses his favorite stuffed animal, and his older sister gets it back with an act of sacrifice.

Affiliate link: Dogger

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The Brambly Hedge stories are completely charming with the cutest detailed illustrations. This collection is quality hardcover.

Affiliate link: The Complete Brambly Hedge

Recently Published:
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Our Lady’s Wardrobe is a gorgeous introduction to various Marian Apparitions. With a hardcover and high-quality artwork, this book makes a great gift. Full review here: Review of “Our Lady’s Wardrobe”

Affiliate link: Our Lady’s Wardrobe

Poetry Collection

Shirley Hughes is a wonderful British author and illustrator. Out and About is a collection of her poetry about the changing seasons. Follow a little girl and her brother through the year in poems.

Affiliate link: Out and About: A First Book of Poems

Favorite Early Elementary Books Gifts

Saint/Religious Book:
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The “Along the paths of the Gospel” series of Saint stories are wonderful for young readers with only a couple sentences per page and beautiful illustrations. They can be hard to find, but Seton Educational media has some for sale right now.

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In The Adventures of Loupio, a young boy encounters St. Francis of Assisi and his life is transformed. This simple graphic novel series particularly delights young boys.

Affiliate link: The Adventures of Loupio

Christmas Book:
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This beautifully illustrated newly published Christmas books retells a Eastern European legend about a spider who saves Christmas.

Affiliate link: The Spider Who Saved Christmas

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The Miracle of Saint Nicholas is a heart-warming story of a community coming together to create a miraculous Christmas. One of my very favorites.

Affiliate link: The Miracle of Saint Nicholas

Classics:

The Children of Noisy Village play hard, fight occasionally, and always entertain. These charming tales from beloved Swedish author Astrid Lindgren are sure to be a hit with their short chapters and vivid descriptions of village life.

Affiliate link: The Children of Noisy Village

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Jenny and the Cat Club is part of the classics about a little black cat named Jenny’s many adventures. Short chapters and simple stories.

Affiliate link: Jenny and the Cat Club

Recently Published:

Prince Martin is a brave young lad who wins his sword by courage and loyalty. Full review of this awesome contemporary series here: Review of the “Prince Martin” Books

Affiliate link: Prince Martin Wins His Sword

Favorite Middle Grade Books Gifts

Saint Book:

The five volumes of The Saints Chronicles tell the stories of over 25 saints both ancient and modern in a compelling way. The bold graphic novel art style really captures the attention of 8-12 year olds!

Affiliate links: Saints Chronicles Collection 1, Saints Chronicles Collection 2, Saints Chronicles Collection 3, Saints Chronicles Collection 4, and Saints Chronicles Collection 5

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I love Mary Fabyan Windeatt’s Saint biographies! This set has all 20 of her classic books for youth.

Affiliate link: Mary Fabyan Windeatt 20 Book Set

Christmas Book:
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J. R. R. Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas were one of my favorite Christmas season reads growing up. Kids who love the Hobbit will be delighted with these!

Affiliate link: Letters From Father Christmas

Classics:

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald is a fairy tale for older kids. This book with its deep symbolism and evil goblins inspired both Lewis and Tolkien!

Affiliate link: The Princess and the Goblin

Little Britches and his family’s experiences farming in the rural west a century ago will fascinate today’s children. Complete with round-ups, rodeos, natural disasters, and beautiful scenery, it’s hard to believe these books are autobiographical!

Affiliate link: Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers

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Check out one of my favorite publishers, Bethlehem Books, for an amazing assortment of historical fiction titles for hte middle grades, all wonderful classics. Some notable series on their site include: The Mitchells series, The Bantry Bay Books, The Letzenstein Chronicles, The Drover’s Road Books, and the Fairchild Family series.

Favorite Gift Books for Teens and Tweens

Religious:

Here’s a saint book modern teens can relate too: one about teens like them! Stories of 8 teenage saints from around the world.

Affiliate link: Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints

The Shadow of His Wings is Fr. Goldman’s incredible story of his ordination to the priesthood while serving as an unwilling Nazi soldier. Amazing memoir from a great priest, sure to make a deep impact on teens.

Affiliate link: The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM

The Plans God has for You is an uplifting little book perfect for the teenage girl in your life! Full review here: Review of “The Plans God Has for You”

Affiliate link: The Plans God Has for You: Hopeful Lessons for Young Women

Classics:

How about a nice edition of a classic series? I love these gorgeous hard-cover editions!

Every teenage girl must read Austen as an inoculation against unsuitable young men! Love this beautiful matched edition!

Affiliate link: Jane Austen: The Complete Works

Here’s another set every teen should own! What better story than The Lord of the Rings to give us hope these days?

Affiliate link: Lord Of The Rings Boxed Set

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C. S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy is a perennial favorite with teens. Some editions have unfortunate covers, so buy all 3 volumes of the Scribner edition for the most visually appealing collection.

Affiliate link: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength

Favorite Gift Books for Adults

Christmas:

This gorgeous newly published cookbook/coffee table book is sure to delight. Full review here: Review of “The Vatican Christmas Cookbook”

Affiliate link: The Vatican Christmas Cookbook

Advent:

Kendra Tierney’s newest book is the hit of the season this year. In O Come, Emmanuel Tierney brings her years of mothering wisdom to a family-friendly Jesse Tree guide.

Affiliate link: O Come, Emmanuel

Religious:

Any philosophy or theology lover will enjoy this collection of 8 of Lewis’s most popular works including The Four Loves and The Screwtape Letters.

Affiliate link: The C. S. Lewis Signature Classics

Ever silently wondered about the point of the Responsorial Psalms? Fr. Hanson offers a convicting and helpful perspective to understanding and praying the Psalms. I really enjoyed this little book.

Affiliate link: Praying from the Depths of the Psalms

Classics:

Who doesn’t love James Herriot’s heart-warming stories of life as a country vet in the beautiful Yorkshire dales?

Affiliate link: James Herriot Box Set

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Till We Have Faces is Lewis’s last and perhaps greatest achievement. A simple myth with complex layers of meaning, this book appeals to a wide range of interests.

Affiliate link: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

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Anything Chesterton always comes highly recommended on this blog! The Everlasting Man is Chesterton’s sweeping look at how all history leads to the coming of Christ.

Affiliate link: The Everlasting Man by G K Chesterton

Comedy:

For light comedic relief, Wodehouse can’t be beat. The Code of the Woosters is Wodehouse at his best with the hilarious Jeeves-Wooster duo. If you prefer audiobooks, the Jonathan Cecil narrations are spot-on.

Affiliate link: The Code of the Woosters

Contemporary:
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a modern classic. The historical fiction is exceptionally well done, the characters memorable, and the story pulls on the heart strings.

Affiliate link: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Favorite Family Gifts

For the whole family, I love quality hardcover collections like these!

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women books are wonderful read alouds for the whole family. These gorgeous hardcovers are sure to be treasured.

Affiliate link: Juniper Books Little Women Book Set

This beautifully designed edition of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion is my favorite set!

Affiliate link: Juniper Books Lord of The Rings: The Complete Writings Five-Volume Book Set

My paperback copies of The Chronicles of Narnia are literally falling apart. Any family will love these hardcover copies that will hold up to frequent reading.

Affiliate link: The Chronicles of Narnia | Seven-Volume Hardcover Book Set

An Anthology of Intriguing Animals is a not-too-expensive coffee table style hardcover full of eye-catching animal drawings and fun facts.

Affiliate link: An Anthology of Intriguing Animals

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Review of “O Come, Emmanuel”

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An Advent Reflection for Families

Catholic blogger and homeschooling mother Kendra Tierney is an expert at making Liturgical living accessible and fun for Catholic families. Following up on her popular Catholic All Year Compendium, Kendra and Emmaus Road Publishing are releasing an exciting new Advent book this Christmas season: O Come, Emmanuel.

Gather ’round the Jesse Tree

What better way to prepare for the birth of Christ than through tracing Salvation history with the Jesse Tree? Whether you’re new to this Catholic practice or your Christmas bin is already full of handcrafted ornaments, you’ll find something to enrich your Advent in O Come, Emmanuel.

For each day of Advent, Kendra gives you a Bible reading, a short reflection, and a prayer to pray as a family. Each day’s reading and meditations pair with the Jesse Tree ornament for the day. My little ones love taking turns hanging the ornament of the day on the tree as we read the Scripture reading.

Symbols of Faith

Grow in your faith as a family as you remember God’s faithfulness from generation to generation. Learn what each Jesse Tree symbol has to teach about God’s promises and growing relationship with mankind. For example, Kendra explains some of the levels of meaning in Jacob’s ladder:

Jacob’s ladder reminds us of the very real connection between heaven and earth. Angels bring messages down from God. Our prayers ascend to heaven. Our work to overcome our defects and grow in personal holiness throughout our lives can be seen as an ascent of this ladder, one rung at a time, towards heaven. The ladder itself can be seen as a symbol of Jesus, through whom we can reach heaven.

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Available in time for Advent 2020

O Come, Emmanuel is available in time for Advent through Emmaus Road Publishing. Order now and you’ll even get a special bonus: a FREE download printable of all the Jesse Tree ornaments so your children can color an ornament each day as you read the meditation.

Buy O Come, Emmanuel through the publisher: O Come, Emmanuel .

Or, buy through my Amazon affiliate link: O Come, Emmanuel.

O Come Emmanuel book cover advent reflection  Jesse Tree

Disclaimer: I received a copy of “O Come, Emmanuel” from Emmaus Road Publishing in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

For more of my favorite Advent and Christmas books, check out my Christmas list:

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Review of “The Vatican Christmas Cookbook”

Mouth-watering recipes, gorgeous photography, and heart-warming Swiss guard anecdotes come together in a merry and bright Christmas cookbook! The Vatican Christmas Cookbook combines the history of Christmas at the Vatican with David Geisser’s sumptuous recipes in a delectable melding of art, culture, and fine cooking.

Recipes Swiss Guard turned professional Chef

David Geisser’s unique career path from Swiss Guard to professional chef makes him the perfect guide to a Vatican-inspired Christmas. He brings you over 70 special recipes for Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and beyond into the Christmas Season. You won’t want to miss his sections on authentic Swiss Fondue and Italian Christmas cookies! I’m excited to try out the Vaud Fondue, Papalin Fettuccine, and Amaretti recipes.

Catholic History and Culture

Interspersed with the delectable food pictures are superb photographs of Rome, the Swiss Guard, and Roman Catholic artwork from the Eternal City. There are also short stories on notable Christmases at the Vatican with Pope Saint Leo the Great, Pope Gregory, and others. There’s history about the Swiss Guard and anecdotes from Swiss Guards who served under Pope John Paul II.

An Impressive Gift

With its glossy, thick, colorful pages, The Vatican Christmas Cookbook makes a splendid Christmas Gift. Anyone who loves cooking, Catholic culture, or just the Catholic faith in general will appreciate this high-quality book!

Buy it through my Amazon affiliate link: The Vatican Christmas Cookbook

Buy it through my Bookshop affiliate link: The Vatican Christmas Cookbook

Disclaimer: I received a copy of “The Vatican Christmas Cookbook” from Sophia Institute Press in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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Review of “The Grumpy Old Ox”

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Just in time for Christmas shopping, here’s an original new Christmas story from Anthony DeStefano and Sophia Institute Press. In The Grumpy Old Ox, a blind and curmudgeonly ox lives with an equally crabby innkeeper in Bethlehem. When the innkeeper grudgingly allows a man and his pregnant wife to sleep in his stable, the ox encounters the miracle of Christ’s birth. His life will never be the same.

A Unique Theme

The Grumpy Old Ox is a simple rhythmic story on the surface, but as is typical for DeStefano’s books, there’s a profound theme lurking beneath the surface. The grumpy ox’s blindness is a physical symbol of his spiritual pride and selfishness: a form of spiritual blindness. When the ox opens his soul to welcome the Christ Child with simple gifts, his spiritual and physical blindness are healed. With this story for children, DeStefano foreshadows the many examples in Jesus’ life where pride and blindness intersect to prevent people from recognizing him as the Messiah. But in this hopeful story, the grumpy ox has a change of heart and is healed.

One for the Christmas Basket

If you’re like me, you love collecting special books for the Advent and Christmas Season. I wrap all our Christmas books into bundles and my children take turns opening one a day until Christmas. I’m excited to add this new book to our basket this Advent. I know my kids will love the bright illustrations and rhythmic story!

Buy The Grumpy Old Ox through my Amazon Affiliate link: The Grumpy Old Ox.

Wondering what other books are in our Christmas basket this year? Check out my Christmas Picture Book List!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Grumpy Old Ox from Sophia Institute Press in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Review of “The First Christmas”

Advent is almost here, and I’m preparing by getting our 2019 Christmas books wrapped and organized for our book-a-day Christmas countdown! This year, one of the new books we’ll be unwrapping is Thomas William’s recently published book The First Christmas. Williams’ charming poem is accompanied by vibrant, unique illustrations by Frank Fraser. Together, poem and illustrations make this a perfect addition to any Catholic family’s Christmas collection!

Affiliate Links Included.

Illustrations that tell a story

My children were captivated by the illustrator’s fascinating juxtaposition of different styles to emphasize the story. On the one hand, there are the exaggerated, almost cartoonlike, depictions of the bored townsfolk and wealthy men who don’t notice, or don’t care, that the Messiah is born. On the other, there are the serenely beautiful and luminous pictures of the Holy Family, angels, shepherds, kings, and little children who recognize their Savior. This contrast in artistic style really forces the reader to reflect on Jesus being born into a world which largely didn’t recognize Him.

Biblical References

The Theology major in me loved the Biblical references interwoven into the poem. Williams explains how the coming of the Messiah is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies in Isaiah and Hosea. There are also New Testament quotes and paraphrasing from Luke.

Little Children Leading the Way

Throughout the book, if you look closely you’ll notice that it is the children who recognize and welcome Jesus most readily. Young readers will love imagining themselves as the girl who cheerfully waved to Mary as she traveled to Bethlehem, or the shepherd boy who smiles at the angel as the older shepherds stare in fear and awe. The First Christmas really does a stellar job trying to draw young readers into the story of Jesus’ coming.

A Wonderful Explanation of the True Meaning of Christmas

Overall, this is a beautiful book that does a noteworthy job of explaining the true meaning of Christmas. With its lyrical verses, this poem is a great alternative Christmas poem to replace or complement the secular poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. With its focus on the true Christmas story, this picture book is really a great gift or addition to any Christmas collection.

Want to get a glimpse inside the book? Check out this great preview of The First Christmas from the publisher, Sophia Institute Press!

Looking for more picture books about Advent and Christmas? Check out my Christmas book list!

I received a copy of “The First Christmas” from Sophia Institute Press in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Other Great Book Lists for Catholic Kids!

Need more book suggestions than you can find here? Here are some other great blogs, lists, and books about books which focus on appropriate reading for Catholic children and teens.


Michael O’Brien’s A Landscape With Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind has been integral in forming my views on literature. In the first half, O’Brien discusses the importance of books in forming a child’s imagination and soul. The second half is O’Brien’s lengthy list of recommended reading for Catholic children and teenagers.

 

 

 


Catholic Mosaic: Living the Liturgical Year With Children by Cay Gibson is a fantastic resource about Catholic picture books for all feasts and seasons. She also has a Christmas edition, Christmas Mosaic, An Illustrated Book Study for Advent and Christmas, which has over 200 book suggestions and even study guides for featured picture books.

 

 

Jessica at Shower of Roses Blog is a Catholic blogger who suggests Catholic books for nearly every feast day imaginable! She has her lists divided by month so it’s easy to look for books for upcoming feast days.

I agree with most of the book choices on the Mater Amabilis book lists. Mater Amabilis is a Catholic version of Charlotte Mason, an independent learning program. Both programs value self-paced learning with lots of reading, so have lengthy lists of great book suggestions.

I also like the book suggestions used for each grade of  Mother of Divine Grace homeschool’s curriculum. These tend to have more suggestions for history and social studies.

Seton Home Study school has even more extensive lists by grade, though these are hard to find on their website. Your best off searching them online by grade: for example “Seton Fifth Grade Reading List” to find the list for fifth grade.

Good Christmas Books for Catholic Kids

This post contains affiliate links. Please see footer for full disclosure.

Advent is nearly upon us!  As we turn our thoughts to preparing for this blessed season, here is a merry miscellany of Christmas books to encourage the true spirit of Christmas in your home.  I hope you enjoy reading these beautifully illustrated versions of the Christmas story, stories about popular saints, Advent-calendar style Christmas collections, and stories about the origins of various Christmas symbols and traditions.  With a story here for everyone from the very young to those only young at heart, these books are also great to give as gifts!

Board books for the very young:

Who is Coming to Our House? has a gentle, rhythmic text which details the animals preparing their barn for Christ’s coming.

The Story of Christmas is a simple retelling of the Christmas story which I particularly like because of its emphasis on Jesus’ birthday as the reason for Christmas and a short explanation of why we give gifts at Christmas: “to show our love.”

Christmas in the Manger is a very simple rhyming version of the Christmas story.

Picture books for young and old:
The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale is a whimsical story about a baker who learns that sometimes a dozen is really 13, thanks to St. Nicholas’ intervention. This book is perfect for reading on St. Nicholas’ Day prior to decorating gingerbread St. Nicholas cookies!

Saint Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins is my favorite version of the true story of St. Nicholas. This book’s iconography is a fitting visual companion to the story’s focus on Nicholas’ desire to be an icon of Christ, imitating his Lord in word and deed.

The Cobweb Curtain: A Christmas Story is a unique Christmas story about a tiny spider who helps save the Christ Child from Herod’s soldiers. The theme of the littlest helping and a fun connection to tinsel make this one worth buying.

The Legend of the Candy Cane: The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy is another fun explanation of a favorite Christmas tradition: candy canes. Very young children can understand this simple story with its explanation of the Christian symbolism of candy canes.

The Legend of the Poinsettia is another story to explain a Christmas symbol. This legend offers one explanation of the pointsettia: how little Lucida’s selfless, humble gift of weeds to the Christ Child is miraculously transformed to bright red star flowers.

All for the Newborn Baby is a sweet lullaby sung by the Blessed Virgin to Jesus, describing how all of nature is rejoicing at His coming.

Mortimer’s Christmas Manger is a favorite of mine. This adorable, wee little mouse named Mortimer hears the Christmas story read and decides to give up his bed for the baby Jesus in the family nativity scene.

The Nativity combines the Nativity story from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke with beautiful, illuminated manuscript style illustrations.

Bambinelli Sunday: A Christmas Blessing uses the story of a little boy who makes his own infant Jesus statue to introduce your child to an Italian tradition in which the Pope offers a special blessing on the third Sunday of advent to all the infant Jesus figures in St. Peter’s Square.

Bambinelli Sunday: A Christmas Blessing

Little Star is the story of how only the humblest, small star can see past the newborn king’s humble surroundings and recognize his kingship.

The Christmas Candle is a fanciful take on what might happen if a candle gave one Christ’s eyes, and made one see each stranger as a loved family member.

The Christmas Candle

 

Mary, Did You Know?: The Story of God’s Great Plan takes a fresh look at this favorite Christmas carol, offering Scripture verses and interpretive pictures to accompany the verses.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is a story of how a small boy and his mother’s kindness helps a “scrooge” to recover and bring about a Christmas miracle.

Jacob’s Gift is a Max Lucado story about a young carpenter’s apprentice who learns to see Christ in those he meets.

The Christmas Horse and the Three Wise Men is a wonderful imaginative story about three animals, a horse, an elephant, and a camel who must work together using their unique skills to bring the Wise Men to the infant Jesus.

The Three Gifts of Christmas with Audio CD is a wonderful look at how a spoiled princess is guided by her wise parents to learn lessons about selflessness, sympathy, and the joy of giving.

The Crippled Lamb is a touching story about God’s special plan for even the littlest and weakest creatures.

Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers is the Christmas story retold from an angel’s perspective with beautiful, light-filled illustrations.

The Donkey’s Dream chronicles the dreams the donkey who carried a pregnant Mary dreamed, while exploring some of Mary’s titles. Beautiful illustrations again!

Kristoph and the First Christmas Tree is a powerful story which stars Saint Boniface smiting down the oak tree the pagans worship, and explains the miraculous origins of the linking of evergreen trees with Christ’s birth.

Lucia, Saint of Light is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the legend of Saint Lucia and how her feast is celebrated in Sweden.

Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale is a simple Christmas story young children will love about the kind animals making room for smaller and smaller animals, and eventually the Christ Child.

Legend of the Christmas Stocking is a feel-good inspiration story of a young boy who chooses to use his hard-earned savings to bring joy to poor children at Christmas.

The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus’ Birth is a beautifully illustrated story about young Jack learning from his gentle mother the true meaning of Christmas as they bake Christmas cookies to give to the poor.

The Last Straw is the story of Hoshmakaka the camel (kids love this story just for that name) who must learn humility to see the Christ Child.

Merry Christmas, Strega Nona is Tomie de Paola’s beloved story of a village coming together to make Christmas special for an old woman.

Who Was Born This Special Day? is a very simple story for preschoolers as the animals determine by process of elimination that it is the Christ Child who was born on Christmas day.

Christmas from Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber is an inspiring true story about a World War II Pilot who dropped candy to the German children as a sign of hope and good will.

Saint Francis and the Nativity offers a possible explanation of how the tradition of Nativity scenes came to be: through the collaboration of Saint Francis of Assisi and a simple shepherd boy.

The Miracle of St. Nicholas is the story of a miraculous Christmas in war-torn Russia brought about by the faith of a small boy, the intercession of St. Nicholas, and a community coming together.

The Tiny Star: The Greatest Star the World Has Ever Seen! can be enjoyed by even very young children, who will love its message that even the littlest can have an important task.

Apple Tree Christmas is a charming story about a family who lives above a barn and practices the true spirit of Christmas.

Stations of the Nativity is a series of meditations on fourteen events leading up to the birth of Christ. Complete with reflections and prayers, this can be prayed similar to the Stations of the Cross.

The Trees Kneel at Christmas is a beautiful, humorous story of two Lebanese immigrant children who hope to see the miracle of the trees kneeling that their Grandmother told them happened in Lebanon.

Destination: Bethlehem is an advent book with twenty four chapters, one to read each evening in December, as you accompany the characters through Palestine on a journey to Bethlehem, meeting many Bible characters along the way. Perfect for a family read-aloud!

The Story Of The Other Wise Man is for an older reader. This beloved story by Henry Van Dyke is about a fourth wise man who never does get to see baby Jesus, but instead beautifully illustrates the Bible message of seeing and serving Christ in those one meets on one’s journey.

Waiting for Christmas: Stories and Activities for Advent is a specifically Catholic resource focused on various ways of celebrating Advent: stories, songs, poems, and activities.

24 Christmas Stories to Welcome Jesus is, as the name implies, a story a day until Christmas collection. The stories range from the various gospel accounts of the Nativity to Christmas stories and traditions from around the world.

Why the Chimes Rang and Other Stories are old stories from the beginning of the twentieth century which illustrate the true spirit of Christmas.

Why the Chimes Rang: A Christmas Classic

 

Kersti and Saint Nicholas is by Hilda Van Stockum, one of my very favorite children’s authors, and therefore simply a joy to read. Four-year-old Kersti knows she falls into the naughty category, but her appeal to the good bishop on behalf of all the little ones who struggle to be good is a wonderful illustration of mercy versus strict judgment.

Kersti and Saint Nicholas

 

The Gift of the Magi is a famous O. Henry short story about sacrifice, true love, and the true meaning of Christmas.