Tuesday, December 2, 2014

This post is part of the series in Book Recommendations for Kids by Age and Month of the Year. It has December book recommendations for children who are 6 Years and older. Each book is paired up with additional resources that you can use to extend the story further.
Winter Holiday Books for Children Age 6+ with Extension Activities
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 2012 when Smarty was 6.
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1. Three Wise Women

Three Wise WomenThree Wise Women by Mary Hoffman is an interesting take on Three Wise Men story from the Bible. Three women from very different cultures are compelled to follow the Star of Bethlehem and visit newborn Jesus. Unlike their male counterparts, they don’t bring extravagant gifts, but their presents are very heartfelt. This book can be great for comparative reading with older kids, for talking about what makes a good present, and, of course, for making DIY gifts.  Blue Bear Wood has a great round up of DIY beauty gifts that kids can help make, and I especially liked these lavender rosemary bath fizzies from Mama Papa Bubba.
Lavender Bath Fizzies

2. A Christmas Treasury

Christmas Treasury Older kids might be ready to read a longer collection of Christmas stories. We really love our Christmas Treasury edited by Scott Gustafson, which includes many Christmas classics adapted for younger readers, such as The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and a sad The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen. It’s a wonderful book to read around a Christmas tree – either a real one or a crafted one. Fun a Day has a wonderful round up of Christmas tree crafts and these pipecleaner trees from Play Trains look magical.

Pipe-Cleaner-Christmas-Trees-for-Train-Sets-and-Small-Worlds-3 3. Santa Claus Around the World

Santa claus Around the World
Did your older children stop believing in Santa? Explore the origins of the legend across multiple countries and cultures with Santa Claus Around the Worlda fascinating non-fiction book by Lisl Weil. While you are at it, make a Santa craft out of this terrific round up of Santa craft activities by One Time Through or visualize Santa’s House with this cute Santa house diorama craft from an Australian blog Creative Fun Central.
Santa Claus Diorma

4. Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The Best/Worst Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson exists both as a chapter book and a picture book, and we read both versions at different ages. It’s a heart-warming story about a family of disadvantaged “difficult” kids who are transforming themselves and their community through their participation in a Christmas pageant. This book can open great conversations about kindness and helping people who are less fortunate than we are. Perhaps you and your kids will be inspired to follow Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar to focus on kindness and serving others this holiday season.
Random Acts of Kindness Printable Calendar

5. How the Russian Snow Maiden Helped Santa Claus

How the Russian Snow Maiden Helped Santa Claus
I was born in the former Soviet Union, and never celebrated Christmas until I moved to the United States at 24. We celebrated New Year Day the way Christmas is celebrated in the West, but the Orthodox Christmas was a “holiday for old folks” during my youth. Now, of course, Russian Christmas has a revival, but it is still celebrated in January, not in December. How the Russian Snow Maiden Helped Santa Claus by Gail Buyske takes a clever advantage of this fact in the story that links East and West. Last year we did a great family project to go with this book – hand painted Matryoshkas.
Hand Painted Matryoshka

6. A Family Hanukkah

A family Hanukkah
We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas and read many Hanukkah books over years. I like A Family Hanukkah by Bobbi Katz for older kids, because this {rather long} story seamlessly incorporates an explanation of Hanukkah into a main story. This book is long out of print, but we could find it in our local library. Since Menorah is such an important part of Hanukkah, a menorah craft could be a great extension for this story. Creekside Learning has a pretty and easy menorah craft with colorful washi tape.
Washi Tape Menorah

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Your Turn

Do you have a favorite chapter book or a longer book set at Christmas time?


Ticia said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." It's one of my absolute favorites.

I need to see if our library has the Three Wise Women, it looks interesting.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

Handmade Matryoshka dolls are on my "to make someday" list.

Carrie said...

Some great recommendations!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!