December 2023 Book Recommendations

The holiday season is the perfect time to share a gift that can bring your family closer together: the gift of reading!

'Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Sleigh!' book cover

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Sleigh! By Mo Willems (Gr. K-2)  

The Pigeon is back, and this time he has his sights on something much better than on an old bus . . . Santa’s sleigh!

'Meet the Latkes' book cover

Meet the Latkes by Alan Silberberg (Gr. K-2)  

Lucy Latke’s family is just like yours or mine. Except that they’re potato pancakes. And also, they are completely clueless. After lighting the menorah and gobbling the gelt, Grandpa Latke tells everyone the Hanukkah story, complete with mighty Mega Bees who use a giant dreidel to fight against the evil alien potatoes from Planet Chhh. It’s up to the Latke family dog to set the record straight.
'The People Remember' book cover

The People Remember by Ibi Aanu Zoboi (Gr. K-5) 

A moving history of African American life that also explains the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Opening with Africans from many ethnic groups being ripped from their homelands in the midst of births, deaths, storytelling, and other daily occurrences, this picture book walks the reader through many years of history including the Atlantic slave trade, the plight and escape of enslaved people, emancipation, northern migration, faith journeys, and ending with the Movement for Black Lives.

'How to Catch Santa Claus' book cover

How to Catch Santa Claus by Alice Walstead (Gr.K-2) 

Santa Claus is getting ready to deliver presents to children around the world, but the gang of “How to Catch” kids have set traps aplenty! With the help of his trusty Reindeer and Elf, Santa will have to use all his holiday magic to avoid being caught.

'The Christmas Owl' book cover

The Christmas Owl : Based on the True Story of a Little Owl named Rockefeller by Ellen Kalish (Gr. K-3) 

The heartwarming journey of a little owl whose life takes an unexpected turn when her home is chosen to be the most celebrated Christmas tree. Whisked away from all she knows, she encounters a world of kindness, care, and festive cheer in the hands of a compassionate rescuer.

'Twelve Dinging Doorbells' book cover

Twelve Dinging Doorbells by Tameka Fryer Brown (Gr. K-3) 

Every holiday, aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and neighbors come over to eat, sing, and celebrate life. But all our main character can think about is the sweet potato pie Granny makes just for her. Saving the pie becomes tricker as the room grows with dancing and card games and dessert cravings. Just when all seems lost and there’s no more pie, Granny pulls out a sweet surprise.

'Green is for Christmas' book cover

Green is for Christmas by Drew Daywall (Gr. K-3)  

When Green Crayon claims that green is the only color for Christmas, the other crayons let him know that there would be no Christmas without them either. No candy canes or Santa without Red, no snow without White, no bells or stars without Silver, and no cookies or reindeer without Tan! The crayons agree that they all need to come together to make Christmas special.

'The Mexican Dreidel' book cover

The Mexican Dreidel by Lina Elovitz Marshall (Gr. K-2) 

Danielito loves Janucá (Hanukkah), and tonight, he and his Bobe (Grandma)  will light the first candles. Danielito doesn’t know any of the kids in his grandma’s neighborhood, but when he sees them playing trompos (tops) in the street, he asks Bobe if she has one. “No,” she tells him. “But I have a dreidel!” The kids let Danielito join in, and when his dreidel is the last top spinning, something magical happens!

'The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol' book cover

The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol by Arthur A. Levine (Gr. K-2

A mythical, magical tale on how Jewish families came to give and receive gifts over Hanukkah, just as their Christian neighbors do at Christmas.

'ZigaZak!' book cover

Zigazak!: A Magical Hanukkah Night by Eric A. Kimmel (Gr. K-2) 

When two devils try to magically disrupt Hanukkah, the rabbi of the town outwits the tricksters and proves that there is good in all creatures, even devils.

'A Hat for Mrs. Goldman' book cover

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards (Gr. K-2) 

Mrs. Goldman always knits hats for everyone in the neighborhood, including Sophia.Sophia thinks knitting is too hard, so she helps by making the pom-poms. But now winter is here, and Mrs. Goldman doesn’t have a hat–she’s too busy making hats for everyone else! So Sophia decides it’s time to buckle down and knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman.

'Yitzi and the Giant Menorah' book cover

Yitzi and the Giant Menorah by Richard Ungar (Gr. K-2) 

When the people of Chelm receive the gift of a giant menorah from the Mayor of Lublin, they spend the days of Hanukkah pondering how to thank him for his great gift. The villagers come up with idea after idea, but their gift never quite reaches the Mayor. Finally, on the last night of Hanukkah, Yitzi comes up with the perfect idea.

'My Family Celebrates Kwanzaa' book cover

My Family Celebrates Kwanzaa by Lisa Bullard (Gr. K-2)

Kwanzaa traces its origins to the American Civil Rights era. Filled with critical thinking questions and facts, this book will motivate young readers to engage with the narrative and learn all about Kwanzaa.

'Freedom Soup' book cover

Freedom Soup by Tami Charles (Gr. K-2) 

Every year, Haitians all over the world ring in the new year by eating a special soup, a tradition dating back to the Haitian Revolution. This year, Ti Gran is teaching Belle how to make Freedom Soup–just like she was taught when she was a little girl. Together, they dance and clap as they prepare the holiday feast and Ti Gran tells Belle about the history of the soup, the history of Belle’s family, and the history of Haiti,

'Shante Keys and the New Year's Peas' book cover

Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gai Piernas-Davenport (Gr. K-2) 

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s is a southern tradition signifying good luck for the coming year. When Shanté goes out to her neighbors, looking for the requisite peas, she learns all about how other cultures celebrate New Year’s.

'Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!' book cover

Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! By Alexandra Alessandri (Gr. K-3) 

Ava Gabriela is visiting her extended family in Colombia for the holidays. She’s excited to take part in family traditions such as making buñuelos, but being around all her loud relatives in a strange place makes Ava shy and quiet. Will Ava find her voice before she misses out on all the New Year’s fun?

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