The holidays are a special time, and this wonderful collection of picture books celebrates the rich diversity of holiday traditions practiced by people all around the world. After all, no matter where you live or how you celebrate, this is the most wonderful time of the year!
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The Legend of Old Befana:
An Italian Christmas Story
by Tomie dePaola
Every day, cranky Old Befana works hard, sweeping her house, her steps, and her walkway. But no one seems to know why. That is, not until three kings arrive at Befana’s house enroute to Bethlehem to see a newborn king. Old Befana wants to take gifts to the baby, too—but how will she get there?
Native American Night
by Gary Robinson
Visions of chokecherries? A wooden sleigh drawn by buffalo? Old Red Shirt coming down the smoke hole? With delightful rhyme and bold, colorful illustrations, Native American Night Before Christmas offers a non-traditional (but very entertaining) take on a Christmas classic!
Who’s That Knocking on
by Jan Brett
One chilly Christmas Eve, a boy and his pet polar bear stop at Kyri’s house to rest. Kyri warns them that every year on Christmas Eve, her cabin is invaded by trolls who come to gobble up the special feast she has prepared. But maybe this year, things will be a little bit different…
Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa
by Donna L. Washington
Kwanzaa is hard for Li’l Rabbit because he’s just too little to help with the preparations. But one thing Li’l Rabbit loves is the big feast of Karamu. Unfortunately, Granna Rabbit is sick and can’t prepare the feast. With a little help, maybe Li’l Rabbit can give Granna a special gift!
The Ninth Night of Hanukkah
by Erica Perl
It’s Max and Rachel’s first Hanukkah in their new house—but where is their Hanukkah box? Can they celebrate their favorite holiday without their menorah, their dreidel, or their father’s lucky latke pan? But Max and Rachel may discover that Hanukkah can be special even without the trimmings.
Tree of Cranes
by Allen Say
After a little boy disobeys his mother and visits the neighbor’s pond, he’s afraid his mother will be angry with him. And it certainly seems that something is wrong. His mother is acting so strangely: folding paper cranes and digging up a tree in the garden. Is there is a reason for it all?
by Rosanne Greenfield Thong
Everyone knows the traditional “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem, but this delightful new version celebrates Hispanic culture and holiday traditions. Take a seat at the table and join the family fiesta with fun, food, and festivities—and learn a little Spanish along the way!
by Astrid Lindgren
In Sweden, there are many legends about the tiny, bearded troll known as the Jultomten, and this picture book tells one of the sweetest. In this lyrical tale, the Tomten arrives at a sleepy, snow-blanketed farm and visits all the animals who live there, reminding them that spring will come again soon.
Little Red Ruthie
by Gloria Koster
This fresh take on a classic fairy tale features a spunky new heroine: Little Red Ruthie! While on her way to her Bubbe Basha’s house, Little Red Ruthie dreams of eating her Bubbe’s wonderful latkes, but she soon runs into a scheming wolf who thinks Ruthie will be the perfect Hanukkah snack!
Together for Kwanzaa
by Juwanda G. Ford
Kayla loves celebrating Kwanzaa with her family. In fact, it’s her favorite time of year! But this year a snowstorm may keep Kayla’s brother away–and Kayla knows Kwanza won’t be the same without Khari. But there may be a way for Khari and Kayla to spend the holiday together.
The Night of Las Posadas
by Tomie dePaola
Sister Angie has been leading the Las Posadas celebration for years, and this year she’s especially excited to have her niece and nephew playing the parts of Mary and Joseph. But when Angie catches a cold and a snowstorm threatens to ruin the pageant, help arrives from an unlikely source.
Christmas Around the World
by Mary D. Lankford
Experience the diversity of Christmas in a dozen different countries with traditions like Filipino lanterns, candlelit Swedish crowns, a Canadian parade of ships, and much more! This collection of rich holiday celebrations is your family’s passport to Christmas Around the World.
Bringing In the New Year
by Grace Lin
(Chinese New Year)
The Lunar New Year is here with all its color, excitement, and traditions! Every page of this vibrant picture book hums with activity as a Chinese family prepares for their big February celebration. Join in as they prepare favorite foods, don festive outfits, and wake up the New Year dragon!
by Harriet Ziefert
Celebrate the coming of Hanukkah with this engaging interactive picture book! Read aloud each perfectly crafted haiku as you learn a new Hanukkah tradition and add a candle to the ever-growing menorah. Brightly colored illustrations will draw you in, bringing you back to this delightful book again and again!
The Baker’s Dozen
by Aaron Shepard
In this gorgeously illustrated picture book, Van Amsterdam–an honest-to-a-fault baker–refuses to give a thirteenth St. Nicholas cookie to an old woman who only paid for a dozen of his delicious treats. His lack of generosity proves unlucky, as his shop mysteriously begins to lose business.
Lucia Morning in Sweden
by Ewa Rydaker
On December 13, Swedish families celebrate Lucia Day with special foods, costumes, and a crown of candles. And now, with this fun and informational picture book, your family can celebrate Lucia Day along with the Svensson children. Be sure to check the back of the book for recipes, songs, and more!
The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper
The shortest day of the year may not seem like an obvious cause for celebration, but this poetic picture book will make you think differently! Ancient cultures recognized the shortest day as a day of festivity, rebirth, and hope, and this book can help your family do the same!
The 12 Days o Yule
by Susan Rennie
This charming Scottish version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” is sure to bring a bonny smile to the face of readers young and old! But instead of French hens, gold rings, and swans a-swimming, you’ll sing your way from one reid robin all the way to twelve dirlin drummers, and you’ll be glad you did!
Shanté Keys and the
New Year’s Peas
by Gail Piernas-Davenport
Oh no! Shanté’s Grandma forgot to buy black-eyed peas for her family’s traditional New Year’s celebration dinner! Now Shanté is on a mission to find black-eyed peas. But when she discovers her neighbors don’t celebrate the new year the same way her family does, what will Shanté do?
A World of Cookies
by M.E. Furman
This clever tour of tasty Christmas traditions travels the globe with stops in the United States, Poland, Egypt, and beyond! Learn about the traditional (and delicious!) treats that children from all around the world leave out for Santa Claus, the Wise Men, and Baba Noel on Christmas Eve!
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Do you have a favorite holiday picture book from around the world? Please share it in the comments below and I’ll add it to our Readers’ Picks box!