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 2011 when Smarty was 5.
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1. An Angel Came to NazarethAgain, I will start with a book that focuses on the religious meaning of Christmas. An Angel Came to Nazareth is written in verse and beautifully illustrated by Maggie Kneen. The poem talks about different travelers going to Bethlehem and about the animals carrying them. My daughter really enjoyed this book, but the story is not really based on the Bible. If you want an age appropriate Biblical story, check out my holiday book recommendations for 4 year olds or visit Christmas story resources from my friend Ticia at Adventure in Mommydom. She has a Christmas storybook for young kids and a lot of hands-on activities for Nativity story including this small world Bethlehem play.
We enjoyed all Julia Donaldson books, and Stick Man was not an exception. I admit that Smarty was seriously worried about the character all the way until the very end (a happy end, of course). It’s a great book about what matters to us during Christmas time or any other time of the year. By the way, despite the cover, Stick Man it can be read whenever you want, but it has a special appeal during Christmastime. And, of course, the book lends itself very well to art projects. Red Ted Art did several Stick Man art projects over years including this adorable Santa Stick Man ornament.
3. The Christmas Alphabet
Most 5 year olds have probably mastered their ABCs, but the special part about The Christmas Alphabet by Robert Sabuda is its amazing pop-up paper art. All our family admired his intricate paper designs that could unfold into various Christmas objects for each letter of the alphabet. This book could be enjoyed by younger children as well under the condition that they read it with adults. We were lucky to get a relatively new copy from the library, but some of paper masterpieces were already crumpled or torn. A good extension for this book would be to make your own pop up cards. Tinkerlab has an excellent tutorial on simple pop-up cards for creative kids.
4. The Little Fur TreeThe Little Fur Tree is written by Margaret Wise Brown, the author of timeless Goodnight Moon. This edition features new illustrations by Jim LaMarche and apparently removes lyrics and notes that existed in the original edition. The story is fairly long and better suitable for children who are able to pay attention for some period of time. It starts with a little tree dreaming of belonging somewhere, and one year its wish comes true. A father of a sick little boy gently digs a tree out and brings it home to his son. The tree is decorated and loved and then replanted back in the meadow. The story ends with a happy twist that you will see when you read this wonderful book. A lot of attention is paid to decorating the tree, so we followed the story with making this DIY pins and sequins ornament.
5. Snowmen at ChristmasSnowmen at Christmas is a modern-day classics created by Caralyn and Mark Buehner. The art in this book is beautiful, and it makes you want to jump inside this magical world where snowmen gather together at a town square to celebrate Christmas. All other books in this series are just as good, but this one is our family favorite. Any snowman craft will work with it, but I wanted to feature one sweet treat that kids can help make for themselves or as gifts – these snowman cookie pops from B-Inspired Mama look perfect for this book and this season.
6. It’s a Miracle!We discovered It’s a Miracle!: A Hanukkah Storybook by Stephanie Spinner in our library when Smarty was 4 and we've been reading it every year since for Hanukkah. It’s a long book, but the idea is to read one story on each Hanukkah night. The book only shares details about the holiday in the passing, but instead Grandma is telling her grandson fascinating stories which eventually are tied together in the end of the book. We didn’t do our own Hanukkah craft when Smarty was 5, but these baker clay (aka salt dough) Hanukkah decorations from Creative Jewish Mom look grogeous.
More December Books Recommendations
- Winter Holiday Books for 2 and 3 Year Olds
- Winter Holiday Books for 4 Year Olds
- Winter Holiday Books for 6 Year Olds
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