Here is our list of children’s books that can add a wonderful tradition to your holidays. It’s been two years since we published our holiday book bag, so you’ll find lots of new titles!

Whether you are sharing a picture book with a young pre-reader or have an independent reader looking for something a little more “grown up,” there’s something for everyone. Note: they are in alphabetical order.

Arctic Airlift by Richard Ross. When Robert, listening on his radio in the Midwest, learns from an Airship Captain that the Polar Ice Pack has cracked in several places, he knew that could spell trouble for Santa, and Christmas. Can Robert get help to Santa from where he sits in Middle. This is a Santa story. [ read together: 7 to 10; read independently: 8 to 12]

Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera. Sophie is very curious about the “business trip” that Auntie Claus takes. How can a business trip last three months? She decides to stow away in Auntie’s luggage and find out for herself. This is a holiday story with a simple lesson for the season: believing isn’t always about seeing! This is a Santa story. [read together: 4 to 8; read independently: 7 to 10]

Benjamin P. Blizzard Welcome to Christmastown by Karen L. Nivens. This is a holiday story about a polar bear whose efforts to do his best and be helpful seem to cause more trouble … and make life interesting for Santa’s elves. [read together: 4 to 10; read independently: 8 to 12]

The Blacksmith’s Gift by Dan T. Davis. Mr. Kloss,a carpenter, loves children. For years, he crafted beautiful wooden toys in hopes of having a child to play with them, often at the expense of earning money for his work. When the blacksmith asks him to build a dollhouse for his daughter in time for Christmas, Mr. Kloss discovers his destiny as a carpenter and father. This is a Christmas story, blending religion and secular traditions. [read together: 5 to 12; read independently: 8 to 12]

Christmas at the Candle Factory by Barbara L. Johns Midnight, the cat, has always loved Christmas. She is Grady’s right-hand-paw when it comes time to creating special treasures for the holiday. But Elvis, the new cat, was ruining everything: candles, the fun of the holiday, and now, even her mood. Would Christmas ever be the same again? This is a seasonal picture book that doesn’t involve a big man in a red suit, but offers a wonderful story all the same. This book also comes with an online activity guide! [read together: 4 to 8; read independently: 6 to 9]

A Christmas Stocking Story by Hilary Knight. It’s Christmas Eve and the animals wash their stockings to have them ready for Santa to fill. Only their stockings don’t seem to fit, and the gifts aren’t quite what they expected. This is a Christmas story that blends sharing and problem-solving. [read together: 0 to 7; read independently: 6 to 9]

Elf Dog Pamela Woods Redman. An Elf Dog puppy, separated from his family on Christmas Eve, tries to find his way home. In the process, he discovers what families are, in part, through celebrating other holidays throughout the year. Although this is a holiday book, the nature of Elf Dog’s adventures make fun reading any time of year. [read together: 4 to 8; read independently: 7 to 9]

Ernest’s Special Christmasby Laura T Barnes. The barnyard animals are getting ready to celebrate Christmas. When Ernest realizes his friend Chester is missing, he goes out into the snowy night to find him. In the true spirit of Christmas, it is the love of all the animals that bring Chester home. This is an animal story, with no specific mention of Christmas beyond the date. [read together: 2 to 8; read independently: 6 to 9]

How the Pirates Saved Christmas by Jim Kaserman and Sara Jane Kaserman. It’s December 1778, and Samuel Reed has joined the crew of The American Dream, a pirate ship enlisted by the Patriots to help garner supplies and thward the British. When they come upon an abandoned ship with toys, the crew must decide whether to continue on for their safety, or offload the ship and distribute its cargo. This is a middle reader chapter book with the backdrop of the Revolutionary War. This is a secular story. [read together: 5 to 12; read independently: 8 to 12]

I Wish for Snow by Nicole Perkins. We have not yet profiled this book. It is a seasonal picture book describing cultural traditions in Madagascar. [read together: 4 to 9; read independently: 6 to 9]

Little One, We Knew You’d Come by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The book offers beautiful, gallery-quality illustrations of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. [read together: 2 to 8; read independently: 6 to 9]

Little Whistle’s Christmas by Cynthia Rylant. It’s Christmas in Toytown, and the toys realize they don’t know who made them. They write a note to Santa, asking if he made them. On Christmas Eve night, a special package arrives in the store, and they have their answer. This is a Santa story. [read together: 2 to 8; read independently: 8 to 10]

Maisy’s Snowy Christmas Eve by Lucy Cousins. Maisy (a mouse) invites all her friends to her house for Christmas. It’s snowing, and everyone but Eddie (the elephant) makes the trip safely. Maisy and her friends make all the preparations, but ultimately have to search to find Eddie so they can have a The true spirit of Christmas–sharing the joy together–is the foundation of this book. This is a nice choice for an emerging reader. [read together: 2 to 6; read independently: 6 to 8]

An Ornament’s Tale by Chet Spiewak. The Christmas tree is here, and the ornaments are excited about their role in helping to celebrate Christmas. But the Halloween decorations still have tricks left over, and decide to play one on Percy and his friends. It’s now Christmas Eve and the ornaments are still in the attic. Will they miss Christmas this year? This is a seasonal story that answers a child’s questions about how decorations live the rest of the year. [Read together: 4 to 9; read independently: 7 to 9]

An Orphan’s Promise; a Christmas Story by Dan J. Davis. Ruby has a plan, and she has convinced the headmistress at the orphanage that it will work. With the winter winds blowing and after four days’ journey, Ruby reaches the Kloss house. She immediately volunteers to work as a carpenter’s apprentice. It is 1910, and girls do not become carpenters. But Mrs. Kloss has her own thoughts on the subject! Ruby has found a place in the world. But is it her home? This is a holiday chapter book about personal discovery, faith, and family. [read together: 5 to 12; read independently: 9 to 12]

Runaway Dreidel! by Leslea Newman. On the first night of Chanukah, a young boy receives a new dreidel. It spins on endlessly, engaging family, friends, and neighbors in an adventure to capture it. This is a Chanukah book. [read together: 2 to 8; read independently: 6 to 9]

Sandra Claus: A Tiny Gift to Santa brings a New Tradition to Christmas by Douglass Clark Hollmann. On Christmas Eve night, Santa opens his door to find a baby girl in a basket. He and Mrs. Claus name her Sandra. One year, when she was traveling with Santa, Sandra discovered that baby animals, like little children, want something for Christmas, too. This is a Christmas book that goes beyond traditional stories and incorporates themes of adoption, faith, friendship, and a love of animals. [read together: 6 to 12; read independently: 8 to 12]

The Tailor’s Gift: A Holiday Tale for Everyone by David M. Stern. When her lambs couldn’t sleep, Momma sheep tells them a story about Shimmel Cloth, the tailor on the mountain. Shimmel has a very amiable relationship with the villagers, who bought the clothes he made. One night, the North Wind blew chimney ashes onto homes. As Shimmel and his sheep watched the destruction, they knew they needed to find a way to help the town. This is a holiday picture book about giving, perseverance, and the silver lining in every cloud. The book only speaks of winter, not any faith. [read together: 4 to 12; read independently: 8 to 12]

Tinker’s Christmas by Sandra Cropsey. Tinker wants desperately to be one of Santa’s chosen elves, yet his clumsiness always seems to get in the way. Tinker perseveres and thaks to his extra work and the faith shown him by the Clauses and Father Chris, Tinker found his special place. This is a Santa story that embraces the true meaning of Christmas. [read together: 5 to 9; read independently: 8 to 10]

Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?
by Jan Brett. As legend tells it, a young boy and his ice bear stopped by a hut on Christmas Eve to get warm. Kyri and her father, were, at the same time, warding against the trolls that invade their home every year and disrupt their celebration. This is a secular tale built around a Norwegian legend. [read together: 4 to 8; read independently: 6 to 9]

A Wish for Wings that Work by Berkeley Breathed. Remember Opus and Bill The Cat? Opus, the Penguin, wants nothing more for Christmas than to be able to fly. Instead, his ability to fly through water helps save Santa and Christmas. This is a Santa story. [read together: 4 to 8; read independently: 6 to 9]