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Twelve Holiday Books for All Ages

Thanks to the Collection Development team and Kristina Cohen for their assistance with this post.

No matter how old you are, nothing is more delightful than reading a good book or two over the holidays! A wonderful family activity is reading together.  The books become traditions and children want them read year after year.

If you are looking for something to read this holiday season, perhaps something different, the books below all look like good reads.

Young Children

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson: The six horrible Herdmans, the worst children in the history of the world, take over the annual Christmas pageant in this hilarious classic.

Together for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford While celebrating Kwanzaa and its many traditions with her parents, Kayla hopes that her big brother Khari will get home from college before the holiday is over.

Ages 8 and up

Candlelight for Rebecca (An American Girl Series) by Jacqueline Dembar Greene: While Rebecca Rubin helps her building’s ailing superintendent take care of his homing pigeons, she puzzles over what to do with the Christmas centerpiece her teacher insisted her make but which has no place in her Jewish home.

It’s Kwanzaa Time! By Linda and Clay Goss:  An entertaining collection of stories, songs, activities, games and recipes that focus on and explain the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, responsibility, cooperation, purpose, creativity and faith.

Runaway Dreidel! By Leslea Newman: In this rhyming tale in the style of “The Night before Christmas,” a family’s preparations for Chanukah are disrupted by a wildly spinning dreidel.

Seven Spools of Thread by Angela Shelf Medearis: When they are given the seemingly impossible task of turning thread into gold, the seven Ashanti brothers put aside their differences, learn to get along, and embody the principles of Kwanzaa. Includes information on Kwanzaa, West African cloth weaving, and instructions for making a belt.

All Ages or Family Reading 

Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn: This entertaining “as told to” story combines solid historical fact with legend to deliver the definitive story of Santa Claus.

Christmas: A Candid History by Bruce David Forbes: Tells the story of Christmas – from its pre-Christian roots, through the birth of Jesus, to the holiday’s spread across Europe into the Americas and beyond, and to its mind-boggling transformation through modern consumerism.

Hanukkah Trivia by Jennie Helderman and Mary Caulkins: Stump your friends and family with 150 fun and fascinating facts about this midwinter Jewish holiday.

How to Spell Chanukah: 18 Writers on 8 Nights of Light These essays, by Adam Langer, Tova Mirvis, Steve Almond, Eric Orner, and others, range from the comedic to the snarky, the poignant to the poetic, and includes such topics as the jealousy experienced in December when the rest of America is celebrating Christmas (we never get to join in the reindeer games!); the problem parents have dampening their children’s desire for more presents (call it Greedikah!); and the weight gain associated with eating 432 latkes in eight nights (dayenu, enough!).

Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins: How 30 beloved spiritual and secular Christmas songs were born. Meet their composers and lyricists, and follow the songs’ paths from obscurity to enduring popularity.

A Cookbook

Fruits of the Harvest: Recipes to Celebrate Kwanzaa and Other Holidays by Eric V. Copage: Offers more than 125 treasured recipes from people of African descent all over the world. Along the way, learn about African American culture, including the seven principles of Kwanzaa and how people of African descent all across the globe celebrate the best their cultures have to offer through food and communion.


  1. This is a great list! I still love The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and I’m in college. But I’m surprised The Polar Express and Dr. Suess’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas didn’t make the list. Those are my all-time favorites!

  2. Dorrie

    Have to say I’m disappointed. List has little as it relates to the true meaning of
    Christmas. 🙁

    • Betsy Burgess

      Thanks for the comment. We tried to pull different titles that would give people a change across a variety of traditions. I’m sure Bookshare has books that relate to the true meaning of Christmas. Have you been able to find some?

  3. Corinne Graham

    Just received five I-Pads for students in my school district. I used an early learning grant to get them. Will be downloading the Read2Go this week and look forward to getting some of these to young students with disabilities. Thank you from a Special Education Director in Minnesota!

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