We’ll be stringing up our clutter-free advent calendar (and filling it with festive (and activist) activities for the holiday season) again this year, but with so many whisperings from folks we know planning picture book advent calendars, we couldn’t help but to get in on that fun, too.
We’ve made room on our bookshelves this year by swapping books in and out with the seasons, and so advent calendar, or no, December 1 seemed like the perfect date for pulling our wintry and Christmastime books out from the back of the closet.
The concept of the calendar is simple: Wrapping up 24 (or 25, depending on preference) books to open on each day leading up to Christmas. For our calendar, we gathered all of our wintry and Christmas books and supplemented our own collection with books from the library (and books on loan from Grammy). In an effort to save on space, put our small stash of recycled paper to repeated use, and wait patiently on library returns, we’re wrapping up just a week’s worth of books at a time, but you wouldn’t be wrong to wrap all 24 or 25 books in one go if you’d rather.
In case there’s anyone else hoping to start the tradition in their own home—or just looking for a festive list of seasonal reading—below is a list of some of the books that we’ll be reading at our house this holiday season. We celebrate Christmas and so the list includes both religious and secular options, but of course you can cater the list to your own traditions or interests.
If the idea feels festive, but the holiday not quite right, there’s a great list of Hanukkah books this way, a Conscious Kid list of 26 books to support conversations on race, racism, and resistance right here, a Vamos a Leer list of books celebrating Latino winter celebrations here, and InCulture’s list of African-American Christmas and Kwanzaa books this way.
Here’s some of what we’ll be reading:
SNOW words and pictures by Uri Shulevitz
WINTER DANCE words by Marion Dane Bauer, pictures by Richard Jones
THE CHRISTMAS BOOT words by Lisa Wheeler, pictures by Jerry Pinkney
THE SNOWY DAY words and pictures by Ezra Jack Keats
A CHILD IS BORN words by Margaret Wise Brown, pictures by Floyd Cooper (Out of Print. Check the library!)
FOX’S GARDEN pictures by Princesse CamCam
THE POLAR BEAR words and pictures by Jenni Desmond
BRAVE IRENE words and pictures by William Steig
THE TOMTEN words and pictures by Astrid Lindgren
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS words and pictures by Rachel Isadora
THE TREES OF THE DANCING GOATS words and pictures by Patricia Polacco
GOODBYE AUTUMN, HELLO WINTER words and pictures by Kenard Pak
OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW words by Kate Messner, illustrations by Christopher Silas Neal
KATY AND THE BIG SNOW words and pictures by Virginia Lee Burton
THE FOX WENT OUT ON A CHILLY NIGHT words and pictures by Peter Spier
MIRACLE ON 133RD STREET, words by Sonia Manzano, illustrations by Marjorie Priceman
COBWEB CHRISTMAS by Shirley Climo
WHO IS COMING TO OUR HOUSE? by Joseph Slate and Ashley Wolff
UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE, words by Nikki Grimes and pictures by Kadir Nelson (Out of Print. Check the library!)
WHO BUILT THE STABLE?: A NATIVITY POEM, words and pictures by Ashley Bryan
TOO MANY TAMALES, words by Gary Soto and pictures by Ed Martinez
THE NUTCRACKER IN HARLEM by T.E. McMorrow, illustrations by James Ransome
BABOUSHKA AND THE THREE KINGS words by Ruth Robbins, illustrations by Nicolas Sidjakov
BEFORE MORNING, words by Joyce Sidman, illustrations by Beth Krommes
What about you guys? No such thing as too many recommendations!
Lots of the books on this list are ones we’ve found at our local library, but when we buy books, we love to support our local bookstores—Stories Bookshop, Books Are Magic, Greenlight Bookstore, and Community Bookstore, to name a few. I’ve provided links below to where you can find these titles online or in your own neighborhood bookstores.