The days are growing shorter and the holidays are just around the corner. Whether you’re looking for a gift for a special kid in your life or a new book for a classroom library, the California Kindergarten Association is ready to turn you into everyone’s favorite elf. Here are five great picture books which are guaranteed to bring holiday cheer. (All purchases made on Amazon after clicking through any of our links help to support CKA at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your help!)
- Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, Robert Barry – This book is a personal favorite of CKA’s president, Ada Hand. She shares these thoughts, “ I read this book years ago to my K-1 students and they loved the message of everyone sharing at Christmas. Now that it is available with color pictures, it is even better. It has a sing-song style that conveys rhyming words. The story is precious as the characters were ‘blessed’ by every successive cast-off from Mr. Willowby’s tree. Each grateful recipient of their little piece believed that it was,’grand to have a tree, exactly like Mr. Willowby. ‘ By the time I get to the rabbit family and the carrot star, the tears are rolling. I buy this treasure of a book in quantity to give as gifts throughout the year. You and the children in your life will fall in love with this classic. It would also make a delightful classroom play.”
- CKA Board Member, Helen Faul shares her favorite two holiday books: “The Wild Christmas Reindeer, Jan Brett, is an endearing story about Teeka, a little girl who lives in the Artic, and how she solves the task of preparing reindeer for Santa’s sleigh. She learns through trials and many errors the importance of love and respect as opposed to yelling. The classic artistic panels so characteristic of Jan Brett border each page and forecast the next event in the story. This feature leads the reader to help children learn the prediction skill that is characteristic of proficient readers.
- “Every year in my kindergarten class I read The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher, Robert Kraus. The cadence of rhyme held children’s attention and children loved to chime in with the repeated phrase “Christmas cookies with out sprinkles are like raisins without wrinkles…….” The book allows for comparison to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. After reading the book, the class would decorate graham crackers with frosting and sprinkle sprinkles on the crackers. Then we would think of other things that graham crackers without sprinkles are like — graham crackers without sprinkles are like celery without peanut butter, graham crackers without sprinkles are like candy canes without stripes, etc. This enables children to expand their understanding of language.”
- CKA Treasurer, Heather Hardaway Morrow shares, “Gingerbread Baby, Jan Brett – A fun twist to a beloved classic! Jan Brett is the author and illustrator of many wonderful children books including The Mitten, The Hat, and Town Mouse Country Mouse. In this tale, Jan Brett sends the Gingerbread Baby singing and dancing through a village eluding capture by several characters, however an additional story unfolds in the “windows” along the page borders of a clever lad’s plan to rescue the Gingerbread Baby. Readers will enjoy the detailed illustrations and “surprise” ending.”
- CKA Board Member, Wendy Sewell shares, “Dream Snow, Eric Carle. Best known as the author/illustrator of The Very Hungry Caterpillarand for the beautiful illustrations of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, the hallmark of an Eric Carle book is his vibrant use of color – and this book is no exception. It’s almost Christmas, and it has yet to snow. The farmer falls asleep and dreams of snow, and…his dream becomes reality. This sweet book has an ending that’s open to interpretation and is sure to spark discussion. Plastic overlays of snow which cover the pages and a seasonal tune that plays at the push of a button add an extra special touch to a book which is sure to become a favorite.
Have a favorite seasonal book of your own? What picture books are part of your holiday memories?