My daughter is now 8, and she is a very fluent reader. Very often I hear the same question, What did you do with her when she was little? Well, we read a lot, and I maintained a diary of our reading activities in weekly What My Child Is Reading entries in my blog. I decided to make these reading diaries more useful and create a new series on my blog where I will share our best books for each month for ages 3, 4, 5, and 6. Moreover, I will pair each book with an extension activity – sometimes with ours and sometimes with activities from my creative friends from Kid Blogger Network. For the month of December I decided to focus specifically on the holidays that our family celebrates during this month – Christmas and Hanukkah. In this post I am featuring books that we read in December 2009 when Smarty was 3.
Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate and this post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure, please click here and thank you for supporting my blog!
1. Advent StorybookI will start this list with a book that we bought on sale when Barnes & Noble was clearing out their 2008 Christmas books. We were reading Advent Storybook by Antonie Schneider every December since then. This book is divided into 24 short stories, with the idea that every night one story is read. This book focuses on religious aspects of Christmas, but even though we are a very secular family, we really enjoy it. I wrote more about our non-religious Advent traditions in Advent for Secular Families.
2. The Night Before ChristmasThe Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore is a classic that everyone who grew up in English speaking countries must have read or was read to as a child. There are innumerable editions of this poem, but this one will make a gorgeous Christmas gift for older children and adults as the paper art pop-up scenes by Robert Saluda rise majestically from the pages. Of course, there is a special night to read this book, and I really loved the idea from The Imagination Tree to make a special surprise box to open on Christmas Eve.
3. Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear
My daughter really enjoyed a classic book by Don and Audrey Wood The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear, so I was glad to find this sequel in the library called Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear. The concept is pretty similar in the beginning with Mouse anxiously devising ways to protect his presents, but the story takes a turn in the second half with Mouse deciding to share his presents instead. It’s a good message to give at Christmas to our kids who are naturally more preoccupied by receiving than by giving. A good extension activity would be making homemade gifts for friends and family. I chose to share a beautiful handprint snowman ornament keepsake from 123 Homeschool 4 Me, since young preschoolers will have a decent amount of participation in making this gift, and it can be a great memory for Christmases to come.
4. Little Tree
Little Tree is a visual treat from renown illustrator Chris Raschka who put his own modern spin on the poem by E.E. Cummings. The pictures in this book reminded me a lot the paintings by one of my favorite painters Marc Chagall. They have the same dreamy quality and have strong geometric motives. Buggy and Buddy has two projects that would work beautifully as story extensions for this book – paper shape Christmas tree and sponge painting Christmas tree.
5. Gingerbread BabyJan Brett has many beautiful books set at Christmas time, but some of them proved to be too intense for my 3 year old. The only Jan Brett book that she really enjoyed was Gingerbread Baby. Unlike the many variations of Gingerbread Man around the world, this one ends well, and Smarty really appreciated the happy end for Gingerbread Baby who lived happily ever after in his gingerbread house. There are so many things that can be done with this book. We ended up making our first gingerbread cookies which Smarty didn’t like. Perhaps making this gingerbread playdough men from Kid Activities Blog would be a lot less trouble :)
6. My First ChanukahI am partially Jewish, and I really want my daughter to appreciate her mixed heritage. This is why we celebrate Hanukkah, least religious and most child-friendly holiday (OK, maybe after Purim) on Jewish holiday calendar. My First Chanukah (this is an older, less common spelling of Hanukkah) is a great introduction to this holiday for kids and adults of any religious and cultural background. We extended the book by making a star of David with craft sticks.
More December Books Recommendations
- Winter Holiday Books for 4 Year Olds
- Winter Holiday Books for 5 Year Olds
- Winter Holiday Books for Kids Age 6+
More Booklists For Kids?Follow my Pinterest Board Best Children Books Booklists
Follow Natalie Planet Smarty Pants's board Best Children Books Booklists on Pinterest.