29

Favorite Picture Books for Christmas

I love this time of year. And I love sharing my favorite picture books for Christmas.

Whether it’s the touching story of a special gift for a little girl, the antics of a silly pig named Olivia, a magical journey to the North Pole, or a life-changing moment for an ornery camel, you won’t want to miss a single book on this list.

Read the short synopses of my favorite picture books for Christmas below, and then download my free library list and take it with you on your next visit to the library.

And if you’re looking for an extra special way to incorporate read-aloud time into your holiday festivities this year, check out our Advent Calendar for Book Lovers. It’s the perfect way to make reading a part of your Christmas traditions.

Favorite Picture Books for Christmas

Humphrey's First Christmas book cover

Humphrey’s First Christmas
by Carol Heyer

Humphrey’s First Christmas is the story of a star, a newborn babe in a manger, and a life-changing moment for an ornery camel.

Let It Snow book cover

Let It Snow
by Holly Hobbie

In classic Toot & Puddle fashion, Let it Snow reminds children that showing your friend how much you care is the greatest gift of all.

An Orange for Frankie book cover

An Orange for Frankie
by Patricia Polacco

Set during the Great Depression, An Orange for Frankie is a charming and true tale of gifts and giving, of generosity and love.

An Otis Christmas book cover

An Otis Christmas
by Lauren Long

Otis’s new horn is the best Christmas present ever … but he doesn’t realize just how special it is until his friends need a miracle on a stormy night.

Auntie Claus book cover

Auntie Claus
by Elise Primavera

It all begins when young Sophie starts to wonder about her eccentric auntie. Her quest to discover the truth takes Sophie to places she’s only dreamed of.

A Christmas Tree for Pyn book cover

A Christmas Tree for Pyn
by Olivier Dunrea

This is a story of love between a hard-hearted father and a tiny but determined girl who wants a Christmas tree more than anything in the world.

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree book cover

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
by Robert Barry

Mr. Willowby’s fabulous Christmas tree is too big for his parlor, so he cuts off the top and gives it away. But that’s just the beginning of this sweet story!

Olivia Helps With CHristmas Tree

Olivia Helps With Christmas Tree
by Ian Falconer

It’s the day before Christmas and all through the house … uh-oh, Oliva has been helping her mother with the Christmas preparations again!

Silent Night Tree book cover

Silent Night Tree
by Susan Jeffers

In this exquisitely illustrated picture book, Susan Jeffers brings the well-known lyrics of one of the season’s best-loved carols to life.

The Spirit of Christmas book cover

The Spirit of Christmas
by Nancy Tillman

Is the best part of Christmas found in sparkles, tinsel, and bright, shining balls? You may find that The Spirit of Christmas is much, much more.

The Twelve Days of Christmas book cover

The Twelve Days of Christmas
by LeUyen Pham

Though you may have heard the song again and again, LeUyen Pham’s heartwarming illustrations breathe new life into this familiar holiday classic.

The Polar Express book cover

The Polar Express
by Chris Van Allsburg

Join a young boy on the journey of a lifetime across fields and through forests, and into a magical world found only in a child’s dreams of Christmas.

The Crippled Lamb book cover

The Crippled Lamb
by Max Lucado

The Crippled Lamb offers a sweet reminder that sometimes the very best place to be isn’t the place you would choose to be.

One Starry Night book cover

One Starry Night
by Lauren Thompson

On a serenely starlit night, a manger creates the backdrop for a cast of animal characters—and a very special family.

Manger book cover

Manger
compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Imagine what the animals in Bethlehem might tell us if they could share their thoughts about the night that Jesus was born.

Great Joy book cover

Great Joy
by Kate DiCamillo

A little girl with a big heart shows what it really means to share Great Joy during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.

A New Coat for Anna book cover

A New Coat for Anna
by Harriet Ziefert

Set in the aftermath of WWII, A New Coat for Anna is the true story of a determined mother, a little girl, and a special gift for Christmas.

Silver Packages book cover

Silver Packages
by Cynthia Rylant

Frankie learns that a simple act of kindness, no matter how small it may seem, can become a blessing that lasts a lifetime.

Holiday Cranberry Christmas book cover

Cranberry Christmas
by Wende Devlin

When old Cyrus Grape chases the children of Cranberryport away from the skating pond, Mr. Wiskers decides that something must be done.

Mortimer's Christmas Manger

Mortimer’s Christmas Manger
by Karma Wilson

Mortimer the mouse is very happy in his new home. But this story gets even better when Mortimer decides to make room for a very special family.

The Christmas Wish book cover

The Christmas Wish
by Lori Evert

Stunning photography tells the tale of Anja, a little girl who sets out on a magical Nordic adventure to become one of Santa’s elves.

The Jolly Christmas Postman book cover

The Jolly Christmas Postman
by Allan Ahlberg

The Jolly Christmas Postman is much more than just a picture book; it’s “a present full of presents” to share with your loved ones this Christmas.

Under the Christmas Tree book cover

Under the Christmas Tree
by Nikki Grimes

It’s the perfect book for Under the Christmas Tree—a collection of poetry that celebrates the best that the holiday season has to offer.

Who Is Coming to Our House? book cover

Who Is Coming to Our House?
by Joseph Slate

The excitement and anticipation is contagious as the barnyard animals busily prepare their house for the arrival of a very special guest.

The Light of Christmas book cover

The Light of Christmas
by Richard Paul Evans

The Light of Christmas is a sweet reminder that the spirit of Christmas isn’t found in the greatness of the gift, but in the heart of the giver.

Christmas Day in the Morning book cover

Christmas Day in the Morning
by Pearl S. Buck

A farm boy, barn chores, Christmas morning, and the love between father and son: this book has all the makings of a classic Christmas tale.

Snowmen at Christmas book cover

Snowmen at Christmas
by Caralyn and Mark Buehner

The fun-loving snowmen who frolicked on the pages of Snowmen at Night are back! But now they’re celebrating Christmas … snowman style!

The Christmas Miracle book cover

The Christmas Miracle
of Jonathan Toomey

by Susan Wojciechowski

Can the gentle questions of a young boy soften a bitter man’s heart and remind him of the miracle of Christmas?

Why Christmas Trees Aren't Perfect book cover

Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect
by Richard H. Schneider

Enjoy the beautifully illustrated story of a perfect pine tree that discovers that some things are more important than being perfect.

The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit book cover

The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit
by Emma Thompson

When they discover the McGregors are having William the Turkey for Christmas dinner, Peter and Benjamin help their friend out of a big predicament.

FREE Favorite Picture Books for Christmas Library List

Favorite Picture Books for Christmas Library List download

Create your own Advent Calendar for Book Lovers. Gather the picture books on this list and have a great time reading together this Christmas! Click to download my list to take to your local library.

Favorite Picture Books for Christmas Recommended by Our Readers

  • One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham (Recommended by Michelle via blog comment)
  • Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble (Recommended by Betsy F. via blog comment)
  • The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett (Recommended by Debbie N. via blog comment)
  • Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco (Recommended by Debbie N. via blog comment)
  • If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff (Recommended by Debbie N. via blog comment)
  • Give Him My Heart by Debi Gliori (Recommended by Debbie N. via blog comment)
  • The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson (various versions available) (Recommended by Nancy B. via blog comment)
  • Christmas! the whole story of the God who loves by Natasha Metzler (Recommended by Gretchen via blog comment)
  • The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot (Recommended by Robin W., AALP Customer Service)
  • The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt (Recommended by April via blog comment)
  • The Christmas Rose by Sepp Bauer (Recommended by Erica via blog comment)
  • Christmas by Peter Spier (Recommended by Raye via blog comment)
  • Josie’s Gift by Kathleen Bostrum (Recommended by Kendra B. via blog comment)
< Previous Post  Next Post >

Leave a Comment

Hope K

says:

Love this! I will have to see what we have around the house and what our library has. Thanks for putting this list together!

Gale

says:

I’m planning to do a unit related to Christmas Songs and Hymns next year…so very glad to find your suggestions here! I see a couple that would fit in perfectly.

Raye

says:

Fantastic list! Thanks! We “read” Peter Spier’s Christmas this year and my toddler loved it. It has no words, just pictures, but the illustrations are lovely and depict all the things a family does during the Christmas season, from shopping, to decorating, to giving to others, to attending church on Christmas eve, to un-decorating and taking out the trash after Christmas.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for the review of Peter Spier’s “Christmas”, Raye. It sounds lovely.

Kendra Bowie

says:

We read “Josie’s Gift” by Kathleen Bostrum and loved it! It is set during the Great Depression, and is truly a sweet story about Christmas giving.

April

says:

We like “The Tale of Three Trees.” We do unwrap a book each day, and several of these are in the pile we’ve collected, many from goodwill, etc. I’d like to add the Patricia Polocco one you suggested.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for the recommendation of “The Tale of Three Trees”, April.

Isabella

says:

These are great! There are several books on this list that we already own and some new ones that I had never heard about, but will definitely be checking out Thank you!

Erica

says:

Another great one is the Story of the Christmas Rose. I’m not sure how we got it (handed down by grandparents I think), but it has become one of our kids’ favorite.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for the recommendation, Erica. It sounds lovely.

Erika Damschen

says:

Thank you for this great list!! I would add The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston. It’s an Appalachian story, gentle and very meaningful. Barbara Cooney is the illustrator, another plus!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Oooo, thanks for the recommendation, Erika!

Meghann Gaudet

says:

Thank you so much or this wonderful list of books! I have been looking to add more to our Christmas collection.

Jamie

says:

Just a comment on The Little Match Girl – yes, it is an amazing story but parents should pre-read and judge if appropriate for little ones. It is a very sad story involving the death of a little girl (she freezes to death.) Not for sensitive little ones. I read it to my kids out of a book of Christmas stories and thankfully it was a bit over their head, but it is more for older kids or adults I would say.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Jamie, for this.

Our family loves Natasha Metzler’s new book Christmas! the whole story of the God who loves.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for this recommendation, Gretchen!

Wonderful idea for the Christmas picture book Advent calendar!! Your book list is excellent! #PictureBookLove

Michelle

says:

One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham is my favorite Christmas picture book! A touching story about a woman who takes in an injured neighbor boy on Christmas Eve and shares the redemption story with him.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
Thank you for this lovely recommendation.

betsy Flynn

says:

Apple Tree Christmas
by Trinka Hakes Noble is one of our family favorites. Written over 20 years ago – we bought it as a Christmas gift for the first of our eight children. Our family, like you, has a tradition of adding to our collection of Christmas picture books. The Christmas book box is the second box that is brought up from the basement after the Thanksgiving holiday. The first box contains our Christmas music and the third is the box that holds the Christmas jigsaw puzzles. Apple Tree Christmas always pulls at a heart string and causes my eyes to get a little misty. Thank you so much for your list, many of your selections are already in our box, but some are new to me! A new book quickly becomes a treasured blessing.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Betsy, for these great ideas!

Debbie N

says:

I love Christmas books! I share a few of your favorites and will have to check out some more from your list. Here are a few I love to read to my kids: Give Him My Heart (Debi Gliori), God Gave Us Christmas (Lisa Tawn Bergren), The Wild Christmas Reindeer (Jan Brett), Christmas Tapestry (Patricia Polacco), Baboushka (Arthur Scholey), The Legend of the Poinsettia (Tomie dePaola), and If You Take a Mouse to the Movies (Laura Numeroff). I’m sure there are more. :)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Debbie,
Thank you for the great list of additional titles!

Colleen

says:

So excited to try this!!!!!

Kristin Del Mul

says:

What a fantastic list! Thanks!

Stephanie

says:

Is there a particular order of these books that you use for the countdown?
I’m so excited about this idea!!

I LOVE The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. Makes me cry every time. The drawing of the widow in it looks just like my daughter in one of her costumes when she played Jane Eyre. I sent a picture of her to the illustrator, and he agreed with me. I probably have 75% of the books on this list. The Little Match Girl is another tear-jerker, especially if I’m playing Peter, Paul & Mary’s ‘Christmas Dinner’ in the background.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for the lovely recommendations, Nancy. These sound lovely.

Leave a comment