A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a tradition that I've started with Ava in which she receives a christmas storybook on the 1st December every year to enjoy in the run-up to christmas. These storybooks can be fun, meaningful or a mixture of both. I've created a list of storybooks I would recommend, and which I would hope to add to Ava's collection over the years...
The Jesus Storybook Bible is a wonderful resource for all year round. It is a children's bible which has Christ's rescue plan weaved throughout its stories and tells of the wonderful love of God which is a "never-stopping, never giving-up, unbreaking, always and forever love". I've been reading Ava this since she was born - its beautifully presented and so faithfully shows how all of the bible points to Jesus.
Annika's Secret Wish: Beverly Lewis
Beverly Lewis is one of my favourite authors... I adore her books and this is the first (and I believe only) children's book she has written, but it is such a cute story and perfect to get you feeling all wintry and cosy. It also includes lots of swedish traditions and focuses on the gift of giving and receiving even longed-for gifts!
The Tale of Three Trees: Traditional Tale
This is possibly my all time favourite christmas story - last year I included it in my christmas cards. It is such a wonderful story with real meaning behind it. It tells the story of three trees who all have different dreams for their lives... none of their dreams are quite realised in the way they expected, but the reality is far better than they could ever have imagined. Its a wonderful way to teach children what christmas is really all about through a really lovely story. Absolutely beautiful.
I love this story - its a Percy the Park Keeper classic and is just adorable. Percy is always responsible for looking after the animals, but when a blizzard hits, he invites them all in to share his cosy home - with hilarious consequences! Nick Butterworth is one of my favourite children's authors and this book is a lovely, cosy, snuggle-up kind of book!
This is a christmas classic! My sister and I loved the original "The Jolly Postman" growing up, and the christmas version just adds a whole new level of excitement! As he meets lots of favourite fairy tale characters, and delivers his christmas post, there are lots of flaps, pull-outs and colourful illustrations which make this an absolute must in your christmas library!
The Night Before Christmas: Clement C. Moore
There are literally hundreds of versions of this classic christmas poem presented beautifully and for all different ages. It's one of the books I've bought for Ava this year. Its been a christmas must ever since it was first published in 1823 and there are so many lovely versions of it. This most recent version comes with a CD and beautiful illustrations!
This is a heart-breaking, tear-jerking, soul-healing book about a little crippled lamb who is always left out, but who gets to be part of the biggest story ever told and realise that he is loved more than he could ever imagine. A different perspective of the nativity, but in typical Max Lucado style, a must-read.
For older children
The Shoe Box: Francine Rivers
A short but moving book, suitable for slightly older children, about a boy who carries a shoe box everywhere with him. It includes lots of Rivers own memories and traditions and is a lovely christmas read for adults and children with a profound message.
I grew up LOVING Laura Ingalls Wilder books and this one, the first in her little house series, is set in the big woods of Wisconsin with cocoa and snow-storms and everything wintry. A beautiful story of life back in the mid-west... a book to treasure it is a wonderul depiction of life in simpler times!
Little Women is another all-time classic set in a wintry Boston during the American Civil War. It is a wonderful story which starts off with the girls wondering how to spend christmas when the soldiers are away... a heartwarming classic that I have read on repeat since I was about 10! I simply love Louis May Alcott's way of storytelling and the character's are just so real.
Hope this gives you some ideas for reading yourself/with little ones in the run up to christmas to get you feeling all cosy and snug and christmassy!