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The Best Holiday Story Books for Kids

Updated on September 14, 2012

Make Reading A Family Tradition!

There are so many ways to make a holiday special, from decorations, to treats, to music. One of the most wonderful ways to make a holiday exciting and memorable for children is with a cherished story book. These classics that come out once a year will be the highlight of your holiday celebrations, and may even inspire your child's imagination and love of reading.

This Kid Lit list aims to share some of the best titles in children's literature, and showcase authors that continue to charm our hearts and open our minds to new possibilities. With the right books, and a dedicated reader, children can be inspired to reach the highest heights. This is a selection of some of the best holiday books for kids, from newborn to 8 years.

Hallowe'en Books

One of the best ways to create a spooky and memorable Hallowe'en night is to set the mood with a good ghost story. Children love to laugh and squeal along with these miniature spine-tinglers! When everyone is dressed up in their best costumes, bring out some of your favorite tales to create an amazing All Hallow's Eve!

In a Dark Dark Room

In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories (I Can Read! Reading 2)
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories (I Can Read! Reading 2)

This collection of seven scary, spooky tales has been a favorite with kids and parents for over 2 decades. For some, just the mention of a 'dark, dark room' sends shivers down the spine. This is a great book for reading to groups of kids on Hallowe'en night!

 

It's the Great Pumpkin!

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Peanuts (Running Press))
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Peanuts (Running Press))

Will Linus finally catch a glimpse of the legendary Great Pumpkin as he rises from the pumpkin patch on Hallowe'en night? Will poor Charlie Brown get anything good in his Trick-or-Treat bag?

This classic Peanuts' story is a classic Hallowe'en favorite!

 

Author Charles M. Schulz

Charles Monroe Schulz was born on November 26, 1922 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His love of drawing began with cartoon portraits of the family dog, Spike. His first published work was a picture of Spike that was accepted by Ripley's Believe it Or Not!.

His first comic strips, L'il Folks were created and published in 1947, and were a regular appearance in the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper. Later the strip would evolve into Peanuts and become one of the most popular cartoons of all time. It ran for 49 years, and was published in 75 countries.

"Sparky" Schulz did not wish for the comics to continue after his retirement. In December of 1999, he retired due to complications from colon cancer, and the final Peanuts strip was published on February 13, 2000, the day after his death. He was honored by 42 cartoonists later that year in a nationwide tribute to Peanuts and it's creator.

Story time is one of the most wonderful things about being a child. Whether it's fun and silly, with plenty of 'audience participation', or calm and relaxing, reading with someone you love is what makes books so precious.

When you read to a child, not only are you sharing something magical with them, but you are preparing them for all the learning they will do in their lives. Every time you sit down together with your favorite story, you encourage a love of reading - something that they will use forever.

Books are so much more than words and pictures. Each one has a message, as lesson that can help kids make good decisions and have high hopes. They are windows into other places, times and worlds, and can teach us many things.

The very next time you have the chance, read to someone close to you! They'll be glad you did.

Christmas Books

When your little ones are too excited to sleep on Christmas night, a favorite story may be just the thing to help them drift off. After all, Santa won't come until you're asleep!

These cherished tales and holiday story books are a wonderful addition to your family's traditions, and will be remembered fondly for years to come!

The Grinch

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Classic Seuss)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Classic Seuss)

No holiday celebration would be complete without an appearance by the Grinch! This Christmas tale has been delighting families since the late 1950's, and is sure to be a cherished classic for all time.

This wonderful story about love and the true meaning of Christmas is a great way to send your little ones off to sleep on Christmas Eve.

 

Author Theodore Seuss Geisel

Theodor S. Geisel was born in 1904, in Springfield Massachusetts. He credits his mother with his gift for rhyme. Henrietta Suess Geisel had worked in a bakery before being married, and had a habit of chanting the daily pie specials to customers. When young Ted had trouble falling asleep, she would sing these pie chants to him. Little did she know that she would inspire some of the most treasured books of all time.

He first used the name Seuss when secretly contributing to Jack-O-Lantern magazine at Dartmouth College. Later he would add Dr. as a tribute to his father, who had hoped that he would earn a doctorate at Oxford.

His first children's book, And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was published in 1937.

Dr. Seuss wrote three more, then used his talents to help the war effort. He returned to children's literature after the war, and would eventually write the books that we all know and love.

Yes, Virginia

When Dr. Philip O'Hanlon dodged his daughter's question about the existence of Santa Claus in 1897, who knew that it would be the beginning of a much cherished holiday tradition?

Young Virginia O'Hanlon had been worried about whether or not the rumors were true - that there was no such thing as Santa Claus. Naturally, she asked her father, who told her to write to the New York Sun for, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so."

Luckily for Virgina, and the rest of the world, her letter was received by Francis Pharcellus Church. This editor took it upon himself to renew a young girl's faith in Santa, and inspire his readers to find hope in troubling times. Although the original editorial was near the bottom of the page, it was noticed - and loved - by so many people, that it is now a Christmas staple all over the world.

Yes, Virgina, there is a Santa Claus has been reprinted more times than any other editorial in the English language. It has inspired several television specials, books and even parodies. The original letter written by Virginia was appraised for fifty thousand dollars in 1998.

Controversial Poet Clement C. Moore

Born in New York city in 1779, Clement Clarke Moore was the son of an Episcopal bishop and scholar, Benjamin Moore. His family's legacy in New York lives on today, most notably as the Clement Clarke Moore Park, at 10th Avenue and 22nd Street. It was dedicated to the author more than 100 years after his death. His descendants include the Ogden family, including the artist Mary C. Moore Ogden, who illustrated an edition of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas".

Some historians speculate that Moore's ownership of the famous poem is false. The original Christmas rhyme was first published anonymously in the New York Sentinel in 1823. The newspaper hinted at Moore as the poems author, though he wouldn't be named for penning the work until 1837. Official ownership of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" would not pass to Clement Moore until 1844, when his children encouraged him to put his name to the now familiar Christmas poem.

Although some suggest that the poem may have been written by Henry Livingston Jr., most printings of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" credit Mr. Moore with the original concept. The rhyme and the story have both been used not only in print but in television and film many times. In 1974 the Rankin/Bass production team (Frosty the Snowman, The Last Unicorn) brought us a fun and memorable animated story that embellished on the original poem. And of course who could forget Tim Burton's dark spin-off "The Nightmare Before Christmas".

The Velveteen Rabbit

The Classic Tale of the Velveteen Rabbit: Or, How Toys Became Real (Christmas Edition)
The Classic Tale of the Velveteen Rabbit: Or, How Toys Became Real (Christmas Edition)

Reading this wonderful story about love and friendship is a great way to spend time together on Christmas Day. The timeless tale about a stuffed rabbit who discovers that love is a magic that can make dreams come true, is one that will be a cherished favorite for years to come.

 

Valentine's Day Books

Although this might be considered by some to be a Hallmark holiday - just a way to sell cards and candies - parents and caregivers can use any occasion as a way to do something fun with kids. Valentine's day is the perfect time to learn about love and sharing, romance and caring! Have a tea party with pink lemonade, and read some fun Valentine stories!

Love, Splat - By Rob Scotton

Love, Splat (Splat the Cat)
Love, Splat (Splat the Cat)

This charming sequel to Splat the Cat is a fun story about the birds and bees. Poor Splat is smitten with Kitten, but he's so confused! She's always poking him and acting mean, and his rival Spike is thwarting his efforts to win Kitten's love. Will Valentine's Day be a disaster for Splat?

 

The Day it Rained Hearts - by Felicia Bond

First published in the 1980s as Four Valentines in a Rainstorm, this holiday classic has re-emerged with new illustrations. The original story remains intact, allowing new parents to share this Valentine favorite with their own children.

Day It Rained Hearts
Day It Rained Hearts

When it starts raining hearts, Cornelia Augusta, grabs four of these strange raindrops and hurries home to turn them into Valentines. With a little creativity, and a lot of love, she creates special cards for her friends Rabbit, Turtle, Mouse, and Dog. Her thoughtful gifts bring them as much happiness as this story will bring to you and your family.

 

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree with CD
The Giving Tree with CD

This story about the lastingness of love, and unconditional generosity is a wonderful addition to any child's library, any time of the year. Shel Silverstein's beautifully illustrated tale is a wonderful gift to give, to remind kids that holidays aren't just about the chocolate!

 

The Best Holiday Book Ever!

Everyone has a favorite holiday tradition - a movie or story that they share year after year. Which essential holiday classic do you turn to?

Which is the best holiday story book?

See results

Mother's Day and Father's Day Books

These special holidays for parents are the perfect time to say thank you for all of the wonderful things that moms and dads do - like reading stories! If you're an aunt or uncle, you can make a special outing with your nieces and nephews to pick out a special gift for their parent. And don't forget that these days are for grandmas and grandpas, too!

Reading one of these books with your own kids is a wonderful way to celebrate your special day together.

Guess How Much I Love You - By Sam Mcbratney

This special cloth bound edition of the heartwarming classic is a perfect gift for book collectors, parents and loved ones. Since the release of "Guess How Much" more than ten years ago, adults and children alike have fallen in love with the charming bunny and his Daddy who love each other so much.

Guess How Much I Love You Sweetheart Edition
Guess How Much I Love You Sweetheart Edition

The Little Nutbrown Hare is so determined to stay up late, that he tries to come up with bigger and better ways to tell Big Nutbrown Hare how much he loves him. These bunnies love eachother all the way to the moon!

 

Love You Forever

Originally written as part of grief counselling after losing a child, Robert Munsch's "Love You Forever" was never meant to be a published work. Luckily for sentimental parents everywhere, it eventually made it into the hands of an editor, and is now one of the most essential books for new parents everywhere.

Love You Forever
Love You Forever

This touching poem always brings smiles and tears to the faces of parents. It makes a beautiful bedtime song, and cherished gift for new parents, as well. Robert Munsch's timeless classic is a welcome addition to every family's library.

 

Cinderella

The wonderful illustrated stories of K.Y. Craft make an excellent give for mothers and daughters.

Cinderella
Cinderella

This retelling of the classic fairy tale is not only a return to the pre-Disney story that kids will enjoy, but is also illustrated so beautifully that it's almost too good to be true. This book is a wonderful treat for any child that would like a romantic fairy tale, and makes a great gift for the whole family.

 

Author and Artist Kinuko Y. Craft

Born in Japan, Kinuko Craft moved to the US in 1964, and has been astounding and delighting us with her artwork ever since. While she is most well known as a fantasy artist, she has also been commissioned to create original art for book covers, magazines and opera posters. Her work can be seen on the covers of titles by Diana Gabaldon, Carl Sagan, and many more.

Ms. Craft was educated at Kanazawa Municipal College of Fine and Industrial Art in Japan, as well as the School of the Art Institute of Chigaco. In addition to her editorial and freelance work, she has published several children's books. She has also spent much time as a judge in various competitions, and is a member of the advisory board to the Norman Rockwell Museum.

K. Y. Craft's amazing works of art are done primarily in oils and watercolors, and have won over a hundred various awards.

Reader Favorites

If your favorite holiday book isn't featured on our list add it here and share your traditions!

Do you have an all time favorite holiday book? If you don't see it on this list, share it here! There's always room for more wonderful children's books!

Please feel free to leave feedback about Kid Lit!, and don't forget to rate Holiday Storybooks.

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We read How The Grinch Stole Christmas every year on Christmas Eve. Nice selection of children's holiday books!

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Thank you for the fantastic list of children's books!

    • thepartyanimal2 profile image

      thepartyanimal2 8 years ago

      Yahoo you are a winner in The Squidoo Home for The Holidays Lens Contest So Go Grab your badge.

    • AwakenYourSpirit profile image

      AwakenYourSpirit 8 years ago

      It's no mystery I'm a fan of stories, given I have two lenses devoted to them (so far - and more to come!). Here's the one I think the visitors to this lens will enjoy the most, and where I've lensrolled your lens:

      Short Christmas Stories

      Have a delightful holiday season!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

      I laughed out loud when I saw that you have my favorite scary book for Halloween, In a Dark, Dark Room. Kids love it because it is just scary enough, has large print and predictable language.

      Please come tell me your favorites on my Beginning to Read Lens.

    • profile image

      Joan4 8 years ago

      Oh I love the idea of KidLit! Wonderful! Great selection here, too! I love Velveteen Rabbit for all ages!