This month is full of celebrations! From Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to Christmas–and, for many, a combination of any of the three–December is all about spending time with loved ones. Here is a list of wonderful books to read with family and friends!
A Pinata in a Pine Tree : A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas by Pat Mora (Grades K-3)
In this lively spin on “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” a little girl dances across the pages as she accumulates gifts from her amiga. Beginning with “a pinata in a pine tree” and culminating in “doce angelitos celebrando” (twelve angels rejoicing), the double-page spreads each contain a pronunciation guide for both gifts and numbers.
Santa in the City by Tiffany Jackson (Grades K-3)
Deja believes in Santa, but…how can he get into her apartment without a chimney? Where will he put his sleigh if there aren’t any parking spaces on her city street? The adults in her life do their best to answer her questions, but Deja isn’t satisfied. On Christmas Eve, Deja’s plan to stay awake so she can quiz Santa herself fails. But on Christmas morning Deja finds proof that Santa has been there.
I Got the Christmas Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morison (Grades PK-1)
A young girl in an urban setting is overjoyed that the Christmas season has arrived. The story begins with the girl waking up to snow falling outside her bedroom window. The text and illustrations show the child using her senses to experience a winter day during the Christmas season. “I heard the spirit in the air.” She and her mother spend the day shopping, ice skating, caroling, and visiting Santa Claus; the girl’s joy in her surroundings is evident, and the message that “THE SPIRIT IS YOU!” and the holiday is as much about giving as receiving is an important one.
The Real Santa by Nancy Amanda Redd (Grades K-3)
As his loving extended family begins their traditional Christmas Eve celebrations, a young boy tells us how much he loves Santa. He is curious to know, however, of all the different representations of Santa that adorn his house, which one does the real Santa look like? The child stays up all night in order to find out. The answer, when he finds it, is satisfying: “Santa looks just like me.”
Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas by Pamela Ehrenberg (Grades K-2)
It’s almost Hanukkah, and Sadie’s bicultural family is preparing its traditional dosas. Sadie’s older brother complains that his sister’s habit of constantly climbing might be less than helpful to family members making dosas. But when the family gets locked out of the house, Sadie’s climbing skills save the day.
The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin : A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah by Martha Seif Simpson (Grades K-2)
Contrary to what the title says, the dreidel will spin-it just won’t spin for the spoiled, greedy kids who are its first and second owners. Once it’s in the hands of a child “of simple means,” who understands that “the miracle of Hanukkah truly could not be bought,” the dreidel spins, longer than any dreidel they have ever seen.
Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna Washington (Grades K-2)
Li’l Rabbit isn’t having a good Kwanzaa this year. As he tries to fix everything himself, he learns that things are most easily made better when you accept the help of friends and family.
Mr. Shipman’s Kindergarten Chronicles: December Celebrations by Terance Shipman (Grades PK – 1)
Mr. Shipman is a Kindergarten teacher, and he loves teaching his students about the winter holidays.
Wintercake by Lynne Rae Perkins. Grades 1-5.
When Thomas the gopher misplaces the basket of dried fruit he needs to make his seasonal wintercake, friends old and new come together to save the day. The recipe for wintercake is included!