2018 Christmas Book Finds

I’m so excited to again bring you some of my friend, Kim Christenson with Talk Wordy To Me, and I’s favorite Christmas book finds!
There are few things that I think are better than snuggling up with your loved ones and enjoying a good book during the Christmas season.
Be sure to check out my last two years of Christmas favorites as well. There is a whole wide world full of good books!
Merry Christmas!
xo,  Julie


The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen
This is a sweet little story of a girl named Ollie who is awakened one Christmas Eve by the sound of Jingle bells! She ventures into the nearby woods racing on her sled to find out the mystery of the bells and who they belong too. This book is absolutely darling with wonderful sketch illustrations against a shimmering Christmas Eve night sky.

Clement C. Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” illustrated by Hollie Hobbie
This telling of the classic poem has a fun little addition as the tiny toddler of the family unknowingly follows his father to see all of the magic that special Christmas Eve. The watercolor illustrations of this book are enchanting. You will want to hop right into this little Christmas scene, and cannot help feeling cozy when reading this fresh take on a classic story.

Last Stop on the Reindeer Express by Maddie Powell-Tuck & Karl James Mountford
This book is ridiculously charming, wholly imaginative, and will definitely pull at your heartstrings. Not all families get to be together at Christmas time. This is where the Reindeer Express comes in! Follow young Mia as she discovers the magic of the Reindeer Express in search of family far away. Every page is bursting with character and color complete with die cuts and lift the flap doors that make the adventure even more fun!  This story helps to remind us what is truly important, especially at Christmas time.

Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht
This book has my whole heart as it brings feelings of such nostalgia of my own family picking out and decorating a tree each year. I love the focus on working together as family and friends to create and preserve a meaningful tradition. Such a fun, colorful, and rhythmic read while you watch the transformation of a bare pine tree into a magnificent Christmas tree.


The Twelve Days of Christmas by Alison Jay
I am a huge fan of crackle-glaze paintings which automatically make this book a big win for me. I love the pictures so much and Alison Jay has become one of my favorite illustrators.  In this adaption of “TheTwelve Days of Christmas”, you will follow along with a young couple who are making their way to a Christmas party. There are hidden things to find on each page which make for a really immersive and enjoyable read.

Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova
This illustrated version of the Dicken’s classic is breathtaking! From it’s gilded pages, satin ribbon place holder and gorgeous pictures throughout,  it will truly become an heirloom for many years to come. I especially love the layout inside. The spacing, the creative use of fonts and text complimenting the pictures as it all flows together. This book is an absolute treasure!



A Little Christmas Tree by Anthony Merrill and Michael Bast

When I read this story to my daughter’s classroom last year, the teacher and I were both teary-eyed. It’s such a meaningful story about a little, imperfect tree that found it’s purpose, even when it seemed like he wasn’t important for a long time. This book is a new family classic and we look forward to reading it every year.

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

I love Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, and Stick Man is written and illustrated in the same charming, British way that my kids and I can’t get enough of. It’s the perfect read-aloud about Stick Man, who gets carried away from his family by a playful dog, and find his way home with Santa’s help.

Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares

I fell in love with this book last year, and it’s still a forever favorite. A beautiful story about two birds who get separated in New York City at Christmastime, and how they find each other at time. The spreads of snowy News York are stunning! This is a must to add to your collection.

Lighthouse Christmas by Toni Buzzeo

I have always had a thing for lighthouses, so I was pretty excited when I stumbled upon this book. It’s a story of a family that lives in an isolated lighthouse (as it goes with lighthouses). They worry about how Santa will make his way all the way to them. But when their father risks his life to save a man at sea, the family learns that the most important things during the holidays are family and love. (And don’t worry, Santa finds them!)

Holly and Ivy by Rumor Godden and Barbara Cooney

A sweet story about three Christmas wishes and how they all come true. This is a longer story, but perfect to read together as a family.

Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

A light-hearted Christmas tale about Mr. Willoughby’s tree, which is just a little too tall. Every time he cuts it, the little piece becomes the perfect size for another animal family. A cute story with a nostalgic, vintage feel.

2017 Christmas Book Classics

I am so excited to share that my dear friend, Kim, with @talkwordytome_ and I put together a Christmas picture book list! We’ve come up with the perfect list of 12 classic and new Christmas picture books to add to your collection. This year I searched for my favorite Christmas classics that were easy for a child to engage in and understand, but that also captivated me with their beautiful illustrations.

p.s. if you want to check out many more of my Christmas favorites that I posted last year, click here. There are just so many that I love!!❤️


The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

This unedited version of “The Night Before Christmas” stays true to the original poem from 1823. It completely comes to life with the illustrations of renowned children’s book illustrator and award-winning artist, Charles Santore. The traditional art form captured in this telling of a classic poem is unparalleled. The Santa Claus portrayed in this book, is quite literally the Santa Claus of my childhood, the one I’ve always envisioned in my mind’s eye. The large book format with large, easy-to-read words for display and storytelling make it a quick choice for an eager audience ready to listen about the magic of Christmas.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, retold for young readers by Adam Mckeown

I fell in love with this retelling of  “A Christmas Carol” because it is one of the best retellings of the Dickens classic I have found for my children. It is uncomplicated and manages to keep the voice and spirit of  Charles Dickens alive throughout the story. A great way to introduce this timeless classic to your young readers!

The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers

Although I have a few favorites of this classic story, this particular one moved right onto my list this year. Author Susan Jeffers wondered what more she could bring to the table of retelling this world-famous story. She realized that she never came across renditions that included the ballet portion, which is what many of us think of when we think of  “The Nutcracker.” She decided she had two main goals to create her own version: First, that it would follow the story of the ballet, and second, that it would actually speak to a child.  It is so beautifully illustrated and as we read it as family my daughter pointed out all the different characters and costumes of the Nutcracker Ballet. This is a wonderful version for young readers without lengthy text.

The Twelve Days of Christmas illustrated by Laurel Long

I am completely smitten with the breathtaking illustrations in this book version of the famous Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The illustrations are rich, vibrant, detailed, and full of imagination and life. To make this stunning artwork even more enjoyable for the whole family, the illustrator has hidden in the elements that were mentioned in previous verses on each page. Be ready to be on the lookout out for turtle doves, golden rings, ladies dancing, and of course a partridge in a pear tree on each intricately detailed page!

The Story Of  Christmas illustrated by Pamela Dalton

This is the story of Christmas from the King James Bible. This particular book has a very special place in our hearts and home. This book is the one we read to our children each Christmas Eve as we recount the birth of the baby Jesus. Working with the medium of Scherenschnitte which, in German, means “scissor cuts,” illustrator Pamela Dalton has created unique and astounding artwork that  follows the events of the Nativity. I never tire of its vibrant, life-giving colors set against the stark contrast of midnight black pages. Most importantly, it is the story of the birth of Christ that holds the most value to me at Christmastime.

The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman

“That’s when the Spirit of Christmas smiled. ‘Remember, this all began with a child. Because it took nothing but love to begin it, it’s not really Christmas if love isn’t in it.’”

Although this book is not a century-old classic,  I had to include it in my list. This book is about catching the spirit of Christmas. In one word, this book is about love. Nancy Tillman, a brilliant author and illustrator, has a mission while creating her books. That mission is to “convey to children everywhere that you are loved.” She has done a phenomenal job with both her artwork and her rhythmic verse.  All to remind us that the magic of Christmas is about spending it with those we love, celebrating what is meaningful to us, and the creation of fond Christmas memories.



I had so much fun scouring library shelves and stores for the best Christmas picture books. I went to my friend Julie Bristow, who has a knack for finding the best traditional Christmas books, to add to my list of new favorites. Here are our top 12 picks! We love the idea of wrapping these up and opening one a day with your family for the 12 days of Christmas. Merry Christmas and happy reading!


A Little Christmas Tree by Anthony Merrill

This one brings tears to my eyes. It is my 3rd-grader’s new favorite Christmas book. She begged to read it to her class, and her sweet teacher was crying by the end of it. It is a beautiful story of a little tree and his mother’s refrain that one day he will bring the true meaning of Christmas to someone’s home. This is one of those books my kids will grow up with and remember with fondness when they have their own homes.

Red and Lulu by Mark Tavares

This is an endearing story (with breathtaking illustrations) about two birds whose favorite time of year is Christmas. We follow the story of how the birds get separated when their tree is cut down and how they find each other again. I love the birds-eye view of Christmas in New York.

Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht

This enchanting book is all about the tradition of picking and decorating a pine tree. The illustrations and rhythmic text make it a perfect Christmas tradition.

A Bunny Christmas by Rick Walton

This was written by my professor at BYU who taught a children’s book class. But that has nothing to do with why I’m including this book. I just love how the words and illustrations make me feel like I’m in a cozy Christmasy scene. There’s something nostalgic and calming about it that keeps me reaching for it all December.

When Santa was a Baby by Linda Bailey

There are a lot of deep and meaningful picture books in the Christmas category, so it’s nice to mix in a more playful one here and there. This one is so clever and fun. Santa’s parents are enamored with their baby, just as any parents are. He has some quirks: Like his loud “Ho ho ho,” his inclination to give all of his birthday presents away, and a fascination with chimneys. He also trains his hamsters to pull a miniature sleigh. My kids think it’s hilarious.

I Believe in Santa Claus by Diane Adamson

This is a new favorite that feels like a classic. After I picked it up at Costco (for $9.99) and quickly added it to my list of favorites, Julie told me she is neighbors with the author! Small world. The words are so understated but the meaning is poignant. The book draws simple, but poignant parallels between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ in a very sweet way. This is one we will keep forever to remember the true meaning of Christmas and the symbolism of Santa Claus.