How do you find new Christmas picture books? Do you scan the library shelves for reindeer and Santas? Do you peruse the featured shelves at bookstores in November and December? Or maybe you just wing it and rely on the books you are already familiar with.
It can be overwhelming, keeping up with all the new children's books published every year. Add in trying to find the ones worth reading, much less buying and it's easy to just pull out How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the umpteenth time.
This list will help you with your quest for magical new Christmas books to read to your children as they cozy up with hot cocoa and visions of sugarplums.
I've chosen a variety of Christmas books published in the last few years with YOU in mind. These are books I know you will enjoy over and over and will want to tuck under the tree to share with your children.
I've also made sure to curate a book list that I think will uncover a few hidden gems! Books that might not light up or play music or tempt little ones with tired licensed characters. So trim the tree, hang up a few paper snowflakes and start your Christmas reading! (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne. The illustrations in this book are gorgeous! The text is the classic Christmas song, and you may not be able to resist singing as you go along. The cast of characters is diverse, and Mary and Joseph are depicted with dark skin. I love the boldness of the black sky and the overall serene feeling of the book. Even if your family celebrates a secular Christmas, this is a beautiful book to share and teach the story of the Christ child story.
Presents Through the Window by Taro Gomi. My son loved the quirky humor in this Christmas book by a favorite author of ours! Santa sets out in his helicopter to deliver presents. He is in a hurry and he peeks through the windows to make sure he delivers gifts to the correct recipients. But he doesn't exactly get things right! Clever die-cut pages add to the fun and giggles. Don't worry! Everything goes right in the end.
The Real Santa by Nancy Redd, illustrated by Charnell Pinkney Barlow. I adore this sweet and cozy Christmas book, which imparts the magical wonder of believing in Santa. A boy sees so many versions of Santa–on ornaments, figurines, wrapping paper, books, etc. He wonders which version truly reflects what Santa looks like so he comes up with a plan to find out. One of my favorite parts is all the outfits the extended family members don! Christmas sweaters and matching PJs enhance the cozy feeling. Ages 3 and up.
The Christmas Book Flood by Emily Kilgore, illustrated by Kitty Moss. In recent years, the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod, or Christmas Book Flood has become more widely known. On Christmas Eve in Iceland families give books to each other and then spend the rest of the evening reading. What's not to love about that! Well, now you can add Jolabokaflod to your family's holiday celebration by reading this joyous, rhyming, beautifully illustrated new Christmas book!
Construction Site on Christmas Night by Sherri Duskey Rinker. I don't think there is much chance you will miss this latest Christmas installation in the very popular Construction Site picture book series, however the series has been a good friend to my youngest son and so I include it here, not just for him, but because I am certain your children will also enjoy it.
Coming Home by Michael Morpurgo. This is a beautiful, poetic new Christmas picture book that will put you in a lovely, serene mood just in time for the chaos of Christmas morning. The action is narrated by a migrating robin who wishes to get home. Along the way he encounters difficult weather and choppy seas, but gets help from a kind human. The end note gives information about the migration habits of the Scandinavian robin, who migrates at Christmastime each year.
MORE: Timeless Christmas Books
Waltz of the Snowflakes by Elly MacKay. This beautiful wordless Christmas picture book is a lovely story that is perfect to read in tandem with your yearly trek to see The Nutcracker. You do have a yearly trek to The Nutcracker, right??? At first, a girl does not want to get dressed up to go out in nasty weather to the ballet. But once she gets there the magic takes over. She and her mother sit next to a boy and his father and the children's faces light up at the stage action. Gorgeously illustrated double page spreads capture the magic of the show.
The Christmas Extravaganza Hotel by Tracey Corderoy. This is a marvelous book to read aloud! So much fun to do the voices! A frog shows up at the home of a bear thinking it is the Christmas Extravaganza Hotel. The bear tells him he is not at the right place but invites him in. He takes a look at the brochure the frog has and tries to make the frog's Christmas experience live up to the crazy activities in the brochure. Both frog and bear have a delightful time and forge a new, lifelong friendship. Super duper fun as well as heartwarming.
Miracle on 133rd Street by Sonia Manzano. On Christmas Eve, José's family is getting ready for a big dinner, but when the roast won't fit in the oven, José and Papi ask for help from the local pizzeria. On their way they notice that their neighbors are not feeling the Christmas spirit. But once the roast is finally ready, the delicious smell brings everyone together to recapture the true spirit of the holidays. A wonderful, diverse celebration of a book!
The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen. This Christmas story is adorable. Ollie loves reindeer! She wears a little reindeer suit and carries around a stuffed toy. On Christmas Eve she hears jingle bells and goes outside to investigate! What does she find? A magical adventure and a reindeer, of course! Sweet and lovely!
This is Christmas by Tom Booth. A cute little chipmunk wants to know what Christmas is. “What is Christmas, Mama?” he asks. His mother then takes him on a tour through the landscape. Little chipmunk sees the activity around him, like geese singing, and badgers decorating and each time he asks him mama, "Is this Christmas?" She answers yes, each thing is a part of Christmas. At the end, on Christmas morning, the chipmunk experience the community celebrating and the joyful understanding of what Christmas is truly all about.
Last Stop on the Reindeer Express by Maudie Powell-Tuck. A magical, mysterious mailbox sends the bespectacled Mia on an adventure to meet up with her grandpa during the Christmas season. The book is a charming, interactive experience: flaps to lift, doors to open and die cut pages to wonder at. Great fun and very inventive.
Once Upon a Snowstorm by Richard Johnson. I fell head over heel in love with this book's illustrations. In the woods a father and son are separated as the snow begins to fall and blanket the landscape. The boy falls asleep but wakes up to find himself surrounded by animals who become his friends. Technically this isn't a Christmas book per se, but still will become a favorite to read during the holidays.