The 41 Best Christmas & Holiday Books for Kids

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or other holiday traditions (or none), this time of year is perfect for curling up with a good book and with so many holiday books for kids to choose from, you’ll find one for every winter’s eve.  From snowy escapades to animal antics, Christmas lore, and more the following list includes new releases for 2020 that are sure to become favorites for your family year after year.

The magical illustrations and beloved stories will leave your little ones enchanted. Babies and toddlers will enjoy some of the hard-backed picture books, while preschoolers will giggle at Fritz the Farting Reindeer. Older kids will love reading chapter books like Junie B. Jones and Nancy Drew. Reading together as a family is a Christmas tradition that everyone can partake in. Also, don’t miss our Christmas jokes, Christmas crafts, and Christmas recipes.

The Legend of the Christmas Witch

Peguin/Viking

The story introduces readers to Santa’s long lost, misunderstood sister, Kristtōrn, who just happens to have been raised alone by a witch of the woods. Kristtōrn embarks on a journey to find her twin, but is met with fear of her powers. And Kristtōrn has a temper. It leads to a confrontation that leaves the fate of Christmas itself in balance.

Ages: 5 to 8

Get it here, $16

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Candlewick Press

Perhaps the most classic tale of the holidays, this newly bound version is a family tradition in the making.

Age: 1 to 6

Get it here, $18

Paperscapes: The Nutcracker

Welbeck Children's

This reimagined version of the holiday classic is stunning and innovative. Press-out characters help tell the tale of Clara and her famed Nutcracker doll that immediately makes new fans of the Christmas ballet known across the world.

Ages: 6 to 8

Get it here, $17

Peanuts Countdown to Christmas

Simon Spotlight

There's a story every day of December leading up to Christmas is this new collection. The entire Peanuts gang is here to celebrate the best things about the season, getting everyone in the spirit.

Ages: 6 to 8

Get it here, $10

The Real Santa

Random House Books for Young Readers

Everybody loves Santa, but what does he really look like? Does he match the drawings in your favorite books, or does he look like you and me?

Ages: 4 to 8

Get it here, $17

Where's Waldo? Santa Spotlight Search

Candlewick

Even Waldo is getting in on the holiday spirit. This creative new version of the man in the striped shirt comes with a "spotlight" that helps young searches find fun scenarios in an otherwise dark page.

Ages: 5 to 9

Get it here, $16

The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Peek-Through Picture Book

Doubleday Books

Peekaboo adventures await on this fun book that makes gifts magically appear.

Ages: 3 to 7

Get it here, $9

Snow Still

Amazon

This larger-sized board book features beautiful wintery illustrations centered around a deer and other woodland creatures. By Holly Suprlice. 

Ages: 3 and up 

Find it on here, $9

Peek-a-Flap Ho Ho Ho

Cottage Door

This adorable board book lets kids get super interactive with all of the fun, colorful flaps that are sturdy enough for even your roughest lil' reader. Written by Holly Berry-Byrd and illustrated by Yuyi Chen. Ages: 2-6 Get it here, $8

Christmas ABC

Candlewick Press

Jannie Ho’s bright illustrations feature a ton of smiling little faces and iconic holiday imagery, this board book is a perfect way to learn the ABCs all year long.

Ages: 0-3

Get it here, $11

Little Christmas Tree

Candlewick Press

Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s lift-the-flap adventure is not your average board-book! With gorgeous illustrations, your little reader takes a journey through a wintery wonderland of nature, discovering woodland creatures along the way.

Ages: 2-5

Get it here, $12

Snow Kisses

Little Brown

Judi Abbot’s sweet board book is like a snuggle in a story, full of cozy winter images. A perfect book to read over a cup of cocoa this winter!

Ages: 2-4

Get it here, $8

Looking for more holiday books for babies and toddlers? Check out this list.

Preschool & Early Elementary

New for 2020: Fritz the Farting Reindeer: A Story About a Reindeer Who Farts

This new book from Humor Heals Us brings you the story of a reindeer with gas. We know the kids are going to think it's a hoot for sure. 

Ages 2-12

Get it here, $12 

The Shortest Day

Candlewick Press

Written by Newbery Medal winner Susan Cooper and illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Carson Ellis, this magnificent book based on Cooper's "The Shortest Day" a poem written for John Langstaff's Christmas Revels. It is the story of the shortest day, of the Solstice, and how our Yuletide traditions have evolved from the desire to burn against the impending darkness of winter. Absolutely gorgeous. 

Ages: 4-8

Get it here, $15

Dasher: How a Brave Little Deer Changed Christmas Forever

Candlewick Press

This season's enchanted book award goes to the stunningly illustrated Dasher by Matt Tavares (Red and Lulu). As with other holiday tales in the hands of Matt Tavares, classic holiday icons meet a whimsical, magical new twist as we follow young Dasher as she meets Santa for the first time. 

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $10

Little Robin's Christmas

Penguin Random House

Jan Fearnley's new book tells the story of a sweet little robin who has seven vests to wear for the seven days before Christmas. But one by one, he gives away all of his warm vests to other animals in need: the baby otter shivering in his mama's arms; a prickly hedgehog; and even a little mouse who is so cold Robin gives away his last vest. When Robin is alone shivering on Christmas Eve, he gets a very special gift. A sweet story, beautifully illustrated. 

Ages: 2-5

Find it here, $17

The Crayons' Christmas

Penguin Random House

The blockbuster duo Drew Daywalt (author) and Oliver Jeffers' (illustrator) are back and this time it's a holiday theme! Readers can celebrate the holidays with Duncan and his beloved crayons as they make their mark on the holiday. The book is also made up of six envelopes filled with games, cards, punch-out ornaments, a poster and more, making it a great gift for kids. 

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $12

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Penguin Random House/Quirk

Based on the film (written by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus) and illustrated by Kim Smith, Kevin is back and he's lost in New York. Even if you haven't watched the movie with your kiddos, you'll laugh out loud reading the picture book version. 

Ages: 4-8

Get it here, $17

Construction Site on Christmas Nite

Chronicle Books

From the author (Sherri Duskey Rink) and illustrator (A.G. Ford) who brought you Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, this holiday book is an instant-classic for kids of all ages, but especially that preschool aged, construction loving crowd. Join Excavator, Bulldozer, Crane, Dump Truck andCement Mixer as they get ready for Christmas. They're in for a few surprises, too!

Ages: 3-5

Get it here, $8

The Snowy Nap

Penguin Random House

The newest book by acclaimed children’s book author and illustrator Jan Brett revists Hedgie from The Mitten as he travels around the farm preparing to hibernate. All the farm friends tell him how much he will miss out on in the winter so Hedgie tries to stay awake. Full of lavish illustrations with Brett’s signature detailed margin drawings, this is a story that can be read again and again.

Ages: 4-8

Get it here, $9

Little Owl’s Snow

Penguin Random House

Celebrate the winter season with this perfect book by Divya Srinivasan, the latest in her enchanting Little Owl series. Follow Little Owl as he experiences the first snow and the longing for old friends.

Ages: 3-5

Buy it now, $11

Oliver Elephant

Candlewick Press

Little Noah heads out for a day of Christmas shopping with his mommy, his baby sister and his beloved stuffed elephant, Oliver. But then suddenly, Oliver is gone. Will they find him? (Spoiler alert: yes.) Rhyming text takes kids through the sights and sounds of a vintagey-feeling department store during the holidays.

Ages: 2-5

Get it here, $17

This Is Christmas

Simon & Schuster

“What’s Christmas, mama?” asks the little chipmunk as he and his mama visit all of their forest friends. Is Christmas all about the decorations, the cards or the presents? The answer, you will find, is one that will make your heart three sizes bigger just by reading it. It’s all about the love. Tom Booth’s gorgeous retro illustrations make this a treasured book you'll read year after year. 

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now. $12.75

Elf in the House

Candlewick Press

Forget that Elf on the Shelf, there’s a sweet but mischievous elf on the loose in a little girl’s house. Written by Ammi-Joan Paquette and illustrated by Adam Record, who previously teamed up for the popular Ghost in the House, this will be a treasured classic year after year.

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $16

Plum: How the Sugar Plum Fairy Got Her Wings

Simon & Schuster

Husband-author-dynamic duo Sean Hayes & Scott Icenogle inventive origin story of how the Sugar Plum Fairy came to be is the perfect new holiday book for any kid. Richly illustrated by Robin Thompson, find out how little Plum goes from orphan to magical creature, thanks to the her compassionate heart and the love of her dads.

Ages: 4-8

Buy it now. $14.88

If Picasso Painted a Snowman

Amazon

What would a snowman look like if Picasso created it? What about Georges Seurat, Marc Chagall, or Vincent Van Gogh? This clever book takes a winterscape and teaches children about many famous artists, and how different styles and points of view can illustrate the same thing: a snowman! By Amy Newbold, illustrated by Greg Newbold.

Ages: 4-8

Get it here, $12

Sherlock's Night Before Christmas

Gibbs-Smith

"'Twas the night before Christmas/on old Baker Street/and Watson and Sherlock/were quick on their feet..."This clever take on Clark Clement Moore's classic Christmas poem is just a slim little book, making it perfect as a stocking stuffer. Julie Peterson (author) and Sheryl Dickert (illustrator) have teamed up before on Mr. Darcy's Night Before Christmas and Scrooge's Night Before Christmas. 

Ages: All ages, best for 5 and up 

Get it here. $9.99

Pick a Pine Tree

Candlewick Press

This enchanting, rhyming book by debut author Patricia Toht is best read by the light of your Christmas tree! You’ll love the gorgeous illustrations by Jarvis as you read all about the ritual and excitement of decorating the Christmas tree.

Ages: 3-7
Cost: $15.29
Get your copy here

Red and Lulu

Candlewick Press

Meet two cardinals Red and Lulu, who make their nest in a very beautiful evergreen. It acts as their home and protects them from the sun in the warm months, and keeps them cozy and warm in the winter months. And once a year, the tree is decorated. Then, one day, the tree is gone. Set in New York City at Christmas time, will Red & Lulu find their home again? Written and beautifully illustrated by Matt Tavares.

Ages: 3-7

Get it here, $13

The Little Reindeer

Simon & Schuster

Written and illustrated by Nicole Killen, the kids will love the story of a little girl befriending a lost reindeer and their magical adventures. The illustrations are mostly black and white with pops of red, and the book itself has lots of bells and whistles, like die-cut pages and foil.

Ages: 4-8


Get it here, $16

The 12 Sleighs of Christmas

Amazon

Santa’s sleigh is in a terrible state, and the elves try all manner of options—think zeppelins, big rigs and motorcycles for starters. Perfect holiday story for your vehicle loving crew. Fun, rhyming prose by Sherri Dusky Rinker and lively, colorful illustrations by Jake Parker.

Ages: 3-6

Get it here, $8

A Christmas for Bear

Candlewick Press

On a chilly night Bear hears a tap at his front door and discovers Mouse is there to help Bear throw a Christmas party. Curmudgeonly Bear and hopeful Mouse make a hilarious pair as they rummage about for party supplies to throw the best possible party (and Christmas) for Bear. Written by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.

Ages: 5-9

Get it here, $16

The Legend of Old Befana: An Italian Christmas Story

Simon & Schuster

Befana, the witch who is always sweeping, always sweeping. She rewards good little boys and girls, just like a certain jolly old elf. From Tomie dePaola, the author of Strega Nona (of course!).

Ages: 4-8
Cost: $16.19
Buy it here.

Let It Glow: A Winter's Walk

Amazon

A winter wonderland of die-cut landscapes, this truly unique book will bring you right into a snowy landscape with lit-up windows, carols singing and shining stars. This rhyming book by author and illustrator Owen Gildersleeve will delight the kids for years.

Ages: 4-8
Cost: $16.50
Buy it now.

The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker

Amazon

The classic story of The Nutcracker comes to life with music in this exciting book that allows children to not only follow along with the storyline, it has press buttons to play excerpts from the corresponding music, composed by Tchaikovsky. Incredibly unique, for any fan of The Nutcracker or as an excellent introduction to the holiday classic. Written and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle.

Ages: 6-9

Get it here, $20

Chapter Books

Christmas in Camelot (Magic Tree House Deluxe Holiday Edition)

Penguin Random House

This holiday classic by Mary Pope Osbourne got a makeover this year and now features beautiful illustrations by Antonio Javier Caparo. 

Ages: 7-10

Find it here, $18.99

Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (Deluxe Holiday Edition)

Penguin Random House

Your favorite sassy 1st grader is back in a special deluxe edition of the hilarious holiday story, Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (P.S. So Does May). Barbara Park's beloved characters come to life with Denise Brunkus's entertaining illustrations. 

Ages: 6-9

Get your copy here, $21.99

A Nancy Drew Christmas

Simon & Schuster

Just in time for the holidays, your favorite girl detective is on the case! While spending her winter vaycay in Montana at a picture-perfect ski resort, Nancy soon discovers that all is not as perfect as it seems. A string of destructive crimes are riddling the resort and Nancy must solve them before Christmas is ruined!

Ages: 8-12

Get your copy here. $12.32

The Polar Bear Explorers Club

Simon & Schuster

The first in Alex Bell’s imaginative new series, The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club, takes your kids on a daring adventure full of winter magic, faraway places and a few outlaws. Stella Starflake Pearl wants to be an explorer, but girls are forbidden. To prove herself, she sets off on an excursion. When she and three other junior explorers are separated from the group, she gets her chance. 

Ages: 8-12

Get it here, $12

Mistletoe and Murder (a Wells & Wong Mystery)

Simon & Schuster

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are spending their Christmas holiday in snowy, quiet Cambridge. But just before Christmas a terrible accident takes place—or is it murder? It looks like their Detective Society is the only one around to solve it. And their lives (and their Christmas dinner) are at stake!

Ages: 10 and up

Get it here, $12.32

Silent (but Deadly) Night

Alladin

For your older kids, this fart-friendly story will have them giggling the whole way through. Dr. Proctor, Nilly and Lisa are on the case again: this time they’re going to save Christmas. But what they need is a sleight, some flying reindeer, time-travel soap and—you guessed it—fart powder. By Jo Nesbo, illustrated by Mike Lowery.

Ages: 8-12

Get it here, $10

— Amber Guetebier & Karly Wood

 

RELATED STORIES 

The Best Holiday Books for Babies & Toddlers 

8 Holiday Books That Are Also Movies 

The Best Books to Give Kids This Year 

Brag-Worthy Gifts for Book Lovers 

 

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