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Top Children's Holiday Books for 2011

By Edited Jul 13, 2015 2 4

Children's Books Perfect for Children AND Adults

Considering the Unique Gift of a Book

Every year, it has been my pleasure to conduct a complimentary winter holiday workshop for teachers.  The workshop, complete with holiday songs, refreshments, and a beautiful Victorian setting, focuses on use of a great children’s book right for the holidays.  The workshop tradition has been a long-standing one with a twenty-plus year history.

Finding the Perfect Bookfor the top Ten Children's Holiday Book List

Intriguing indeed is the search for a great book every year.  The search goes on all year and does not limit the search to titles newly published that year. Through conducting the infamous workshop, and it IS infamous among teachers, I have amassed many children’s holiday books.  A need is that the chosen book be laugh-out-loud funny or have such a great storyline that the emotional tug from its reading brings about teary eyes.  The book must somehow relate to winter or the winter holidays. That’s quite a demand of a book!  Not many titles qualify.  After twenty years of doing the workshop, it is time to declare arguably the top ten children’s holiday titles on my shelf.

Making a Top Ten Children's Holiday Book a Gift

The titles deserve a top ten listing for their flexibility for what they offer to the reader.   I support the idea that the perfect holiday gift of all to adult or child is an illustrated book, carefully chosen, with a heartfelt message handwritten inside the front cover or front leaf pages. 

Spinning a Party from a Top Ten Children's  Holiday Book  

Make it party time.  All of the top ten children’s holiday book titles listed make fabulous party themes.  At the teacher workshop each year, the characters, setting, and details of the book work right along the holiday decorations to make a themed setting.  Read the book to start your party.  Sometimes food can follow along with items mentioned in the text.  Put on some party music.  Make the book and an accompanying side item a gift.  A few gift ideas follow with descriptions of the books. (69483)

 Top Ten Children’s Holiday Book Titles

Agatha’s Feather Bed

by Carmen Agra Deedy

Agatha's Feather Bed

I have to say, this is my number one, all time favorite.  The story is a wintry one and not one focused on Christmas.  Agatha, the main character in the tale is the owner of a

 fabric store and lives above her business. She is a conservationist and believes that people need to know “everything comes from something.”  The reality of that statement comes to light when she purchases a new feather bed, only to have six angry, naked geese knocking at her window demanding their feathers back!  This is just a delightful book.   Many teachers over the years have told a tale of buying it for all of their friends as a holiday treat.  Put it together with a new feather pillow and the gift is ready to go. 

Santa Claustrophobia

by Mike Reiss

Santa Claustrophobia
OK, let’s face it.  Dieting and politics weave through the news headlines daily.  This book hits the spot! The Doc diagnoses poor Santa as having a bad case of Santa claustrophobia when he expresses fear of being stuck in the chimney.  After all, Santa should listen to Doc Holiday as he is the therapist to the stars. The Doc sends Santa to Aruba for a needed vacation and pulls together all the “holiday stars” to take his place delivering gifts.  Who are those holiday stars?  Joining in the delightful tale are none other than the Easter Bunny, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Christopher Columbus, and April Fool! Oh how funny this story becomes when the lovable characters try to pull off being Santa.   Give the book and a destination travel book of interest to the recipient.

Polar the Titanic Bear

by Daisy Corning Stone Spedden

Polar the Titanic Bear
Remember the criteria for choosing the titles?  Agatha’s Feather Bed and Santa Claustrophobia are laugh-out-loud funny.  Polar the Titanic Bear is the emotional one to bring tears to one’s eyes.  It is a fabulous story and one based on the true saga of a family on the Titanic.  As the family moves into a lifeboat on the fateful night of the collision, a tiny, Steiff stuffed bear accompanies them under a little boy’s arm.  Polar, the bear discovers himself forgotten in the empty lifeboat once the survivors have all boarded the rescue ship.  A sailor saves the day, and Polar gets returned to his owner.  Actual pictures of the Titanic add to the story.  The fact that this is a documented story from life makes this a heartwarming tale.  Do not miss this one. What’s the perfect gift?  The book and a small stuffed bear make this one a real gift possibility.

Tree Man

by Carmen Agra Deedy

Tree Man
OK, let’s go back to laugh out loud funny.  An airplane accidentally drops a bag of Christmas cards into the Brazilian rain forest.  There, three animal friends find the cards and see a whole new world.  These cards have pictures of a big man in a red suit.  Then there are the trees with fruits quite unlike their own.  This man in a suit always is surrounded by presents.   Trees are precious in the rainforest.  So, what this all must mean is that the animal friends need to give presents to this “Tree Man” in return for him bringing them one of those trees with the special fruit.  Join in on the adventures of the anaconda, sloth, and toucan as they try to make sense of a world foreign to them. Tree Man, accompanied by a Christmas fruit, oh sorry, ornament, makes the gift scene cheery.

The Polar Express

by Chris Van Allsburg

The Polar Express(69500)
This is probably one of the best known titles spotlighted in the top ten children’s holiday book list here.  After all,  a movie  has been around for a while.  The tale is a magical one though and fitting for adults and children alike.  As the town sleeps, a small boy boards a magical train bound for the North Pole.  Santa gives the boy a bell while at the North Pole, but unfortunately, the bell is lost on the way home. Mysteriously, the bell shows up under the tree on Christmas morning.  The boy’s mother laments fact that the broken bell does not make a sound. The boy can hear the bell.  The moral of the story is that only believers can hear the bell.  Who would not love that story?  The gift thoughts are many on this one.  The book and a bell ornament of some sort ring loudly as possibilities.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

by Dr Seuss

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
This one too is a classic and oh so easy to find.  Also a movie, this one begs packing into a great basket along with the movie DVD and even stuffed Mr. Grinch.  The rhymed verse is delightful.  The familiar story is like tales of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.  The fictional Grinch, a bitter old creature, has a change of heart as he realizes that Christmas is more than just the presents and trimmings.  Aw, one has to love it. 

The Jolly Christmas Postman

by Allan Ahlberg

The Jolly Postman
I have always adored books, movies, or plays where characters familiar to us take on new roles.  That is the case with this precious, interactive book.  The Jolly Christmas Postman delivers mail to the residents of the village, while all the while the reader gets to share his adventure and the contents of the letters in his mailbag.  The pages are envelopes with letters stuck inside.  Find out what Goldilocks says to the Three Bears in apology for her bad behavior.  Attorney correspondence gets involved as Mr. B.B. Wolf reads  a demand letter from the legal counsel of Miss Riding-Hood.  The creativity behind this tale is magnificent.  Again, it begs for attention from adults and children alike.  As a gift, it works all by itself or with some delightful stationary.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale

by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright

The Cheshire Cheese Cat
This is a brand new title for 2011, so it has not been used for a teacher workshop yet.  The tale of Skilley, the alley cat, carefully unwinds.  An unusual and unlikely friendship and bond form when Skilley makes a “deal” with the mice in a famous tavern.  Silley protects the mice and in turn, Skilley is given the delightful cheese of the inn. A tale involving a famous author with serious writer’s block and an evil tomcat unfolds.  See how the food fits right in on the gift front?  The book and some good cheese and maybe even wine make the gift a special one.

Rosebud and Red Flannel

by Ethel Pochocki

Rosebud and REd Flannel
I hesitate to put this title in the list although it runs a close second to Agatha’s Feather Bed in terms of being my favorite.  Hesitation stems from the book going out of print a while back.  Copies are still available though through online sources, so it is too good to not include.  A high brow, stuck up nightgown, Rosebud, finds true love in the end with a shy pair of longjohns, Red Flannel, in this wintry tale.   At first, the beautiful Rosebud has no use for the non-spectacular Red Flannel.  After all, she has fine lace and was made in France.  Red Flannel came from the Army-Navy surplus store. The two whirl off the clothesline on which they are hanging during a snowstorm. Red Flannel wraps his arms around Rosebud and saves the day.  Needless to say it is a happily ever after ending, but read to find out what happens to them after the storm!  The book and a pair of new pajamas or a nightgown spell perfect on this one as a gift.  

The Gingerbread Pirates

by Kristin Kladstrup

The Gingerbread Pirates
Picture the baking of cookies to leave for Santa. These cookies, baked by Jim and his mom, are gingerbread men pirates.  One of the pirates, Captain Cookie, complete with his toothpick peg leg, dares to free his gingerbread shipmates from their captive cookie jar during the night.  Oh how cute is this story!  Jim finds a special gift underneath the Christmas tree that allows for continued fun with the pirate adventure.  On this one, I would do a Christmas pirate party.  Pirate cookie cutters are easy enough to find.  The perfect gift of course is the book and some delightful gingerbread pirate cookies!  It just does not get more special than that!

Enjoy the top ten children’s holiday book list titles.  All will delight the reader and give stupendous gifting opportunities!  Be sure and write that special note inside.  Buy two copies, one to give and one to keep when purchasing.  These titles are deserving of a place in your personal library offering enjoyment for years to come. 



Dec 4, 2011 12:01pm
I love these suggestions. I find that great kid's books are also great adult's books, too. Thumbs up on the featured article!
Dec 5, 2011 6:53pm
Hi, footloose. Thank you for the comment. My favorite standby gifts whether for adult or child are books for sure. No card is even needed as the inside cover begs for a sender greeting!
Dec 5, 2011 6:25pm
Great job on the article. These books sound like they would be a wonderful addition to a child's library.
Dec 5, 2011 6:48pm
Hey there, AuroraWindsor. Thank you so much for the comment. Truly there is something just great about books for children that warms the soul. Have a super holiday season.
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