This is the second year that I’ve taken to wrapping up books we own and books we’ve borrowed and setting them on a shelf to open one by one through the month of December. An advent calendar, for book lovers. I have mixed feelings about the new tradition, to be honest. I’m impatient, for one thing. And fickle. I can’t remember where in the pile The Polar Express sits unopened and there have been certain nights when I’m in the mood to read one particular story or another, never mind the number on the outside of the parcel. (Yes, I’ve already done my share of rejiggering the order of appearances.)
Whether or not you’re in the midst of counting down days to Christmas one book at a time, here are a few additions we’ve made to our wintry and Christmassy reading list this year.
Like last year, I’ve included a range of secular wintry titles alongside others that are decidedly more biblical. As always, I’ve searched for books that feature predominately characters of color, and that have been written and illustrated by folks of color, too. Faye’s taken a particular liking to the story of nativity this year and so I’ve been especially intent on finding diverse renderings of that story in particular. Ashley Bryan’s Who Built the Stable is our current favorite alongside Synthia Saint James’s color-blocked illustrations of a black baby Jesus (and family) in Hallelujah: A Christmas Celebration. For a bit of child-bearing realism, the very pregnant Mary in Julie Viva’s The Nativity is truly not to be missed. And I’ve just placed an order at a local shop for a copy of Lara Hawthorne’s brand-new and beautiful Silent Night. Those and lots more below—and this way, too. If you have other favorites to share, please do!
+ BEAR AND WOLF, words and pictures by Dan Salmieri
+ CHIRRI AND CHIRRA, THE SNOWY DAY by Kaya Doi
+ FIRST SNOW, words and pictures by Bomi park
+ HALLELUJAH: A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION by W. Nikola-Lisa, illustrations by Synthia Saint James
+ I GOT THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT, words by Connie Schofield-Morrison, illustrations by Frank Morrison
INTO THE SNOW, words by Yuki Kaneko, illustrations by Masamitsu Saito
+ MICE SKATING, words by Annie Silvestro, illustrations by Teagan White
+ ONCE UPON A SNOWSTORM by Richard Johnson
+ OSKAR AND THE EIGHT BLESSINGS words by Tanya Simon and Richard Simon, illustrations by Mark Siegel
+ RED AND LULU, words and pictures by Matt Tavares
+ SILENT NIGHT, illustrated by Lara Hawthorne
+ THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL words by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrations by Jerry Pinkney
+ THE LITTLE REINDEER, words and pictures by Nicola Killen
+ THE NATIVITY, words and pictures by Julie Vivas
For the curious:
The paper tape labels I used on the books are from Appointed.
The wrinkly wrapping paper was salvaged from packing materials.
Most of the books on this list are ones we’ve been able to find 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.
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