I’m getting this post up before the 12 days of Christmas is over. I mean, the wise men took forever to get there didn’t they? I was taking a little break over the holidays with my family and then started this week and 2016 off very quickly with a myriad of projects. However, my tree is still up, and for me, the Christmas season is lingering (and yes, I want it to, it reminds me of love, hope, peace, and quiet) so I’ll still complete my Christmas post. You can all just tuck it away for next year’s book recommendations. This post started out as a goal to complete my friend Michelle Miller’s Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge, which ran from Nov. 23 through Jan. 6, 2016. See I’m just a teensy bit late.
We were all supposed to read Christmas novels, something I don’t always do, but want to do. She offers different levels for reading, a film category, and also “visions of sugar plums,” which is reading books with the kids. I always do that. So I figured besides all the books that the kids and I read together, why not try some adult ones too. I browsed the library for awhile over Thanksgiving break and found more Christmas books and stories than I even thought existed.
I read one of them over Thanksgiving weekend, actually, which was Jennifer Chiaverini’s Christmas Bells! I loved this book and it was a perfect way to get me properly into the Christmas season. I like to write poetry and study it, so with it being set partially in 1860 and featuring Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, I was sold. Remember the poem: I heard the bells on Christmas Day/ Their old familiar carols play/ And wild and sweet/ The words repeat/Of peace on earth, good-will to men! I think it was a beautiful book featuring this poem and story of several people in modern times juxtaposed with the Longfellow story and it all tied up nicely together at the end in a way that brought tears to my eyes. I’ll still need to write a review for it. The funny thing was that then I got it for Christmas. It’s a beautiful cover so I’ll enjoy it on my shelf.
I also chose to read The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge! It’s by Charlie Lovett and is a sequel to Charles Dicken’s famous book, A Christmas Carol. I REALLY loved this adorable, quaint book and also it reminded me of what’s important at Christmas time….and carrying that all year through. It’s a keepsake! I did write a review for that one and you can read that HERE.
At the library, I picked up The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries, edited by Otto Penzler, which is touted as “the most complete collection of Yuletide whodunits ever assembled.” WOW! I want to buy this massive collection. It’s so good. I was able to read quite a few stories in it, off and on, and not only was I meeting new older authors I hadn’t come across, there were some favorites with stories I hadn’t seen before. I’ll just give a sampling:
The best stories I enjoyed reading were by AGATHA CHRISTIE, such as “The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding” showcasing Hercule Poirot, which was published in 1960 as the title story of her collection The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and a Selection of Entrees (London, Collins). I also really liked “A Christmas Tragedy,” which she wrote in The Thirteen Problems (London, Collins, 1932). Interesting enough, I can see a difference in her writing between the two. I really liked the old school feeling of the latter, yet the first one was so humorous.
Of course another favorite theme of mine is SHERLOCK. I really enjoy ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE. “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,” which was first featured in the January 1892 issue of The Strand Magazine, was collected first in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (London, Newnes, 18920. It was a lot of fun to read. I’ve been watching BBC’s “Sherlock” so it was cool to go back and read something authentic from the master.
The kids and I read over 25 items together, reading most nights under the tree from the first week of December through the end.It was something the kids, even as they get older-16, 12, and 8, still look forward to each night. I think for the older two its as much revisiting childhood memories and having quality time with me as much as anything. I treasure that. I absolutely knew I had to make it a priority to do it and I loved every minute of it. I REALLY enjoy the art of picture books and seeing all the various styles. Many times after reading, we’d sing a Christmas carol or two as well and that was so much fun. I love the twinkling of the lights all aglow as the room is darkened. Beautiful.
So if you have kids, here is our extensive list. We did chronicle it each night on my INSTAGRAM and left a few lines of thought. I’ll transpose those thoughts here and you can click the title for the info on the book. I had fun making these two collages to share.
We love the Macy’s Parade. I’m a history buff so I love traditional things and to me, Macy’s has a lot of history! The book was neat and had a lot of history, as it as based on a true story, but also quite fictional as well. The art was really cool.
This is a beautiful picture book and the story was delightful. My 8 year old really loved it.
Wow, this book was phenomenal. it was about how people of many races and faiths in an apartment building passed around a candle for various religious and cultural celebrations. It shined bright for them all and they all came together to support and help one another.It was so beautiful, perfect for the tumultuous world we live in today. My 8 year old had tears of happiness as she “got” the message. Very highly recommended.
This book we read over several nights as it has a page full of text for many countries of the world. We took turns reading about various countries and how they celebrate. It was very interesting! The 8 year old was surprised to find out how hot it is over Christmas in Australia!
This book was first published by Hans Christian Anderson in 1844. The version was adapted by the author and she illustrated it. It’s beautiful! I loved the scenery! Perfect winter tale.
The illustrations on this book were adorable and the girls loved them. The story was bit like a playful version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears but between mom and her three cubs. It highlighted the important of spending time with your children and being patient and playful. Really cute.
I love Jan Brett’s art and her art surrounding this famous Christmas poem was well-done as always.
My 8 year old picked this one and she read it to us. Very cute story and illlustrations about Santa and his reindeer.
I absolutely LOVE this book! I love all things Nutcracker, but still, this was really well done! This is a new 2015 title about the three men in Utah, unlikely fellows, who studied ballet and made the ballet popular in the United States! This is a must have for any collection. Art and story both are lovely.
What an adorable bunny in this book. I just melted. He’s just playing in the snow. She’s an award winning artist and I can see why. This was one of my top faves.
Of course we must read this one. We are huge mouse fans! What mischief does he get into now…very cute one for Christmas.
My son brought this essay home to us and read it. It’s an essay that ran in the December 1961 issue of McCalls Magazine and was about her Christmas in NY when she received the unexpected gift of a year off to write her book. Made me cry as it was very touching.
My 8 year said they read this at school so she wanted to read this one again. You can’t go wrong with his books. Very informative.
This was a beautiful book all about sharing and wonderful for the time of year. I’ve always loved Davy and my 8 year old was in love with this book.
Every year it’s a tradition for us to read this book and watch the movie, as well as go to Macy’s delivering our letter to Santa and picking up a new Virginia ornament. This story is so magical to me. I love the true account of her letter and the response in the back of the book.
From one of the 8 year old’s favorite illustrators and writers, this is one we own. We love her art. It’s very simple but it reminds my little one of her younger times which she likes. It’s a great toddler book.
We read the Usborne adaptation of this which is quiet brief but still an annual favorite. We watched The Muppets Christmas Carol as well. I love to try to read the entire book and watch one of the other versions of the movie each year too. It’s one of my son’s favorite books.
This is my middle daughter’s favorite book ever. She’s loved it since she was little. I surprised her by showing her I had it out and she got so excited. It’s such a fun book and again, Jan Brett’s art is amazing! We love gingerbread here!
Another Jan Brett favorite. I adore polar bears and the art and story behind this one is so gorgeous. I love how she researched among the Indian people to write and draw it.
If you know Little Critter, you’ll know this illustrator. The pages of this book were full of art. We had a great time finding all the little animals in the art and the funny things they were doing. The drummer mouse was a star and I loved how the story ended. Another fave of mine.
This was the story of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus and his birth. Wonderful to tell this story with the kids. A simply understood story and a good discussion piece.
Another of the middle child’s favorites. She received this book in Kindergarten from her teacher and reads it every year. Super FUNNY!
I actually named the middle child’s middle name after this character. We adore her here. It’s the middle child’s book so she read it to us. All good things to say about this annual favorite.
This was a book I had never seen before but I’m so glad we found it. We picked it as we love the water and lighthouses. I found out it was based on a true story and the history of lighthouse families having a flying Santa deliver to them at Christmas! This service has been going on since 1929 and still is to this day, mostly now to Coast Guard families. The other cute thing about this book was the one eared cat!
What a wonderful wonderland of animals in the beautifully illustrated book. It’s a Finnish writer and artist. First year I’ve read this one and we really enjoyed it.
Any of these your family reads or will read now?
So overall we had a lot of fun reading over the holidays, baking cookies, watching movies, and being together. As always it went to fast. We hope you and all your families had a wonderful holiday season also!
Happy 2016!! Best wishes from all of us!