This year I added to our small collection of holiday books. We have many of the beloved classics, but I wanted a few non-traditional holiday titles to spice things up. So I reached out to my friend Leighanne from Written & Bound, who is a verifiable children’s book guru. She’s a reading specialist and blogger–I can always depend on her to introduce me to fantastic books. Here are a few words from Leighanne along with her top picks for unique Christmas Books:

Each year on Pinterest, I watch the “25 wrapped holiday books for Advent” tradition come and go. I’m slightly disappointed in myself that, once again, I couldn’t get it together in time to find, purchase, wrap and share twenty-five books with my kids.

I think the tradition seems so sweet and exciting. I would love to do it.

But, I’m simply not that organized or don’t have the resources. I’m just unsure what holds me back from getting it done, but, for some reason, it isn’t happening.

So, this year I gave myself a gift of self-acceptance and simply focused on my strengths. I love reading to my kids. There are so many difficult and tiresome tasks in motherhood, and finding new and unique books to share with my kids is one of the things that gives me energy.

I teach reading as a learning specialist, so I see lots of fun books come across my desk. This year I plan to visit a bookstore with my five-year-old as a special holiday date and share a few of my favorite titles while we are there.

Simple, easy. I can do this!

Since my oldest child is also learning to read, I’ve been occasionally pointing out short CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words that we see often (like red and hat) without putting on too much pressure. I hope you enjoy the following books as much as we do.

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1. Waltz of the Snowflakes by Elly MacKay

I’m a huge fan of wordless books for kids of all ages. It allows them to practice storytelling, internalize story structure and stretch their vocabulary. In this wintry book, a girl and her mother have tickets to the ballet. The girl seems hesitant about their date and venturing out into the cold weather. When the show begins the illustrations become even more warm and inviting. The girl’s admiration for the ballet grows and her experience becomes magical.

2. Christmas Eve Tree by Delia Huddy

I love the detailed and whimsical illustrations in this book. A homeless boy finds a tree that everyone seems to have overlooked because of its scraggly appearance. The boy asks if he can have the tree and is able to share a sentimental Christmas with the tree. The story is a coming-of-age story, as it grows into something unrecognizable, surprising everyone and even itself with its accomplishments.

3. When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey

This is a lighthearted and funny book about how Santa became Kris Kringle. As a baby, Santa’s parents were taken by his love for the color red, his enjoyment of the cold weather and his larger-than-life laugh. Picturing Santa as a baby is an easy way to make kids and parents giggle.

4. Nativity by Cynthia Rylant

Rylant writes and illustrates striking and simple books about complex topics. What I love most about Nativity is that it goes beyond the story of Jesus’s birth and reminds children of his message. The entire text is taken straight from the Bible and includes only a few words per page, which holds children’s attention.

5. Samurai Santa: A Very Ninja Christmas by Rubin Pingk

This is a perfect book for both boys and girls. My own daughter has been into jumping and screaming “hi-yah” for weeks and she absolutely loved this book! In the story, a little ninja risks receiving toys from Santa in hopes of making his real dream come true: a perfect snowball fight.

What are your favorite non-traditional holiday books?

Leighanne Scheuermann is a Learning and Reading Specialist, working both in a school setting and also with individual families. She loves creating simple solutions for parents when they encounter questions about their child’s learning. She is on the rollercoaster ride of parenthood, as a mother of two young girls. Leighanne holds a master’s in Social Work and a master’s in Reading and shares resources at Writtenandbound.com

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