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Season's Readings: Best Holiday Books

Whether your family celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, these children's books can help you illustrate the stories at the heart of your holiday tradition. From enduring classics passed down through the generations to offbeat tales with a contemporary bent, your child will discover the joy and wonder of the season between their pages.


Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas
Ages 4-8
A cherished holiday classic, this rhyming tale of Santa's annual visit (gorgeously illustrated in full color) is one your child will beg to hear again and again.

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Ages 4-8
Watching the annual TV special of everyone's favorite four-legged misfit is a popular holiday pastime, but it still pales next to reading Rudolph's timeless story to your child.

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Light the Lights

Light the Lights: A Story about Christmas and Hanukkah
Ages 5-8

If yours is one of the thousands of interfaith families in the U.S. today, this book is a must-have addition to your child's library. Light the Lights is a warmly illustrated book about a young girl whose family observes both the Christian and Jewish aspects of the holiday season.

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Hanukkah!

Hanukkah!
Ages 4-8
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award, this picture book explains the meaning and traditions behind the Festival of Lights. The poetry, which is woven into the tale, and the beautiful watercolor illustrations will appeal to readers of all ages.

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Best Christmas Pageant

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Ages 9-12
When six unruly kids take over a church's annual Christmas pageant, they experience the Christmas story for the first time, and help others rediscover its true meaning in the process. This book has been a holiday favorite for 35 years and counting.

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Ages 4-8
There's not much more to be said about this beloved, feel-good tale of good conquering all. If you haven't already shared this Dr. Seuss classic with your child, she's in for a treat!

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Horrible Harry and the Holidaze

Horrible Harry and the Holidaze
Ages 9-12

A group of elementary school kids get the chance to learn about Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Korean New Year, and even Three Kings' Day. While this isn't the story's sole plotline, it's still a nice way to introduce your child to the different holidays that fall during this season.

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Polar Express

The Polar Express
Ages 4-8
One Christmas Eve, a young boy boards the mysterious Polar Express train on its journey to the North Pole. What happens when Santa chooses him to receive the first gift of Christmas? Settle in with this award-winning page-turner at bedtime and find out.

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My First Kwanzaa

My First Kwanzaa
Ages 0-3
The title says it all: a kid-friendly tale about a little girl's Kwanzaa celebration with her family. The author, who has written several books on holiday firsts (including Chinese New Year and Ramadan), shares lots of fun facts (including Swahili word pronunciations and a brief history of the holiday) that even adults will find educational.

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Hurray for Today

Hurray for Today: All About Holidays
Ages 4-8
Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat explains the origins of various holidays throughout the year. In addition to Christmas and Hanukkah, other celebratory days like Groundhog Day, Presidents' Day, and St. Patrick's Day get a nod, too. This is one selection that won't be collecting dust on the bookshelf during the remaining 11 months of the year.

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Olivia Helps with Christmas

Olivia Helps With Christmas
Ages 5-7
The popular porcine heroine is ready to deck the halls and celebrate the holidays in this Christmas-themed installation of the series. A must-read for any child enamored with the mischievous Olivia and her hijinks.

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Stained Glass Ornament Book

Stained Glass Ornament Coloring Book
Ages 5-8
Perfect for keeping the kids busy so you can take a breather from the holiday rush! This book features more than 100 holiday ornaments for your child to create on translucent paper. Each ornament creates a beautiful, stained-glass effect when hung on a window or on the tree.

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Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming

The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming
Ages 4-8
Fans of (alleged) children's book author Lemony Snicket should brace themselves for yet another dose of the unexpected: An irate potato latke figures as the central character in this decidedly untraditional Hanukkah tale.

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Paint Your Own Dreidel

Paint Your Own Dreidel

(all ages)
This 32-page activity book comes with a miniature wooden dreidel, gold and white paint, and stencils for an interactive holiday experience. It also features a brief history of Hanukkah and the rules of the quintessential holiday game.

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Kwanzaa Fun

Kwanzaa Fun: Great Things to Make and Do
Ages 9-12
The step-by-step instructions in this activity book make it simple for young children to create traditional Kwanzaa crafts like unity dolls or a mkeka (African textile mat). The book also outlines the brief history and seven principles of the holiday.

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