Making a non-holiday December read aloud books list was more challenging than I expected! As you will see below this list is not entirely holiday free, but you will find that no matter what December holiday you celebrate, all of these December books will fit into your winter reading list.
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I included a mix of snowy, winter-y reads plus one or two that are good for reading while snuggling under the covers. There is something for everyone no matter what age your children and of course I had to include some winter poetry as well. So set aside your holiday preparations, relax and spend some special time reading aloud to your family.
December Picture Books
Winter is Here by Keven Henkes. Henkes has spring and fall picture books in this series and I’m willing to bet money that a summer book is on the way! Henkes ingeniously introduces language concepts while still writing an engaging text that will take preschoolers on a journey through the marvelous experiences that winter has to offer.
Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick. As the snow falls, the workmen reject the smallest snowplow, sure he can never handle the severe winter weather bearing down on the city. But then driver Gus volunteers to drive the lovable Walt and together they tackle the blizzard in an effort to prove the naysayers wrong. Wonderfully winter-y and feel-good-y. (That’s a word, right?)
Winter Dance by Marian Dane Bauer. Bauer’s pleasing text reads like free verse as a fox experiences the snowfall. He asks the other animals what he should do to get ready for the winter. Each creature has its own opinion, but nothing is right for the fox. He can’t fly like the birds, or create a chrysalis like the caterpillar. But then he meets another fox who gives him just the right advice and the dance begins. Marvelous.
Mika: The Bear Who Didn’t Want to Sleep by Erik Kriek. Don’t you love the retro look of this book? This Dutch import is simply wonderful. Mika doesn’t want to hibernate! The young bear wants to stay awake and see the Northern Lights. Sneaking out at night he asks the other animals where he can find the lights. Finally, with the help of the Old Owl, he reaches his goals and basks in the colorful glow, just in time for his parents to find him.
Stories of the Night by Kitty Crowther. Little Bear’s mother tells him three bedtime stories in this fun read aloud. Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award-winner Crowther has fashioned three distinct and engaging tales, with each one encouraging the little one to go to sleep. Simply wonderful and a little quirky – just the way I like my books.
Winter Eyes by Douglas Florian. Florian is a poet every child should know and he has themed poetry collections for everything under the sun. This December, pick up his collection of winter poems and enjoy reading them out loud by the fire or just before bedtime to create a special connection with your kids.
December Chapter Books
The Lotterys More or Less by Emma Donoghue. I aim to make all my monthly read aloud book lists full of books I’ve never featured before. I am cheating a teeny-weeny bit here because I have featured the first Lotterys book on a previous list. The Lottery family is a large, multicultural, blended, adoptive and homeschooling family! This December, their visitor from Brazil gets injured and has to remain with the family over the holidays. His addition to the festivities–and the Lotterys celebrate everything–from Holi to Christmas to Hogmany, as well as power outages across the city, adds a humorous layer to the already crazy antics of the family. Great fun to read aloud to the whole family.
The Flight of the Swans by Sarah McGuire. I read a lot of middle grade books and even when I love them, I don’t usually have a problem putting them down and walking away for a bit, but I could not do that with The Flight of the Swans! I was captivated by this retelling of the Grimm fairy tale, “Six Swans.” Princess Ryn’s new stepmother has bewitched the King and when she threatens to kill Ryn’s six brothers, Ryn bargains for their lives by agreeing to stay silent for six years. The evil queen then turns the brothers into swans and Ryn sets out on a six year quest to save them. Best for reading aloud to ages 8 and up.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser. It is just before Christmas and the Vanderbeekers are going to be forced to move from their beloved Harlem brownstone unless they can change the mind of their grumpy landlord who just happens to be their upstairs neighbors. This creative, bi-racial family sets to work to win him over in this appealing and heartwarming story the whole family will adore! Read aloud for all ages!
Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr. We fell in love with Astrid in this Norwegian import and this book was by far one of our favorite read alouds of the year so be sure to put it on your December read aloud list. Plucky Astrid, who earned the nickname, “The Little Thunderbolt” may remind you of other intrepid heroines like Pippi or Inge Maria from When Mischief Came to Town (another one of my absolute favorite read aloud books). She loves to explore her beloved Glimmerdal, and her best friend is a crotchety old godfather, Gunnvald. One winter, a family comes to stay in the holiday cottages and Astrid finally gets some local friends to go adventuring with. But then she learns a secret about Gunnvald and things might never be the same. Read aloud for ages 7 and up.
More wintery reads:
Monthly read aloud book list series: