I have always loved children's Christmas books, and at one point, I had a rather large collection. Incorporating books into holiday celebrations is a great family tradition.
I am excited to tell you that this has been an amazing year for holiday books. All of the books listed here were published during 2012. I think that you will be pleasantly surprised at how many wonderful authors have shared their creative talents. I hope that you enjoy reading these items as much as I have.
The Birds of Bethlehem Tomie dePaola.
A perfect first Christmas book. This inventive and fresh Nativity story is told from a bird's-eye view. On the morning of the first Christmas, the birds of Bethlehem gather in the fields; not only to eat but to share the exciting news. People from all over have descended on Bethlehem and an angel has appeared in the night sky. Something extraordinary is coming! The birds agree that they must find this wondrous thing, and off they fly to the stable where a child has been born. In simple language and dazzling pictures, beloved author-illustrator Tomie dePaola shares the awe and anticipation of the first Christmas. His cast of brightly colored, curious birds will appeal to young children, making this a perfect introduction to the story of Christmas.
Mary's Song  Lee Bennett Hopkins
In the stillness of a Bethlehem stable, after the sheperds and animals leave, Mary sings a lullaby to her newborn son, enjoying the wonder and awe of his birth and pondering what his life will bring.
Who Built the stable?: a Nativity Poem  Ashley Bryan.
Who built the stable where Jesus lay? Multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Ashley Bryan has a very good idea in this beautiful and moving new layer to the nativity story. Riding in an open Jeep across the plains of Africa, beloved and nationally acclaimed author and illustrator Ashley Bryan found himself comparing the terrain to Jerusalem, and the bumpy journey to that of Mary's travel on a donkey. And he came up with a question: Who built the manger where Mary and Joseph found shelter? The answer is conveyed in this beautifully crafted picture book that envisions a young boy, a shepherd and carpenter both who, out of love and kindness, cleared the way for another shepherd and carpenter to be born on Christmas day. The boy looked in the infant's eyes, and in his heart he knew The babe would be a carpenter He'd be a shepherd too. Told in gentle rhyme and illustrated with Ashley Bryan's enormous talent, this is a picture book that captures the reason for the season in all its wonder and beauty. Who Built the Stable? is a celebration of Christmas, of the kindness of children, and of the new hope born with each new baby.
Pete the Cat Saves Christmas James Dean
'Twas the day before Christmas and Santa was ill. In the cold winter wind he had caught a bad chill. Will Christmas be canceled? Will it come to that? "Never!" cried Santa. "Let's call Pete the Cat!" In this rockin' new spin on the traditional tale The Night Before Christmas , Pete the Cat proves that giving your all in the spirit of Christmas is the totally groovy thing to do.
Our Very Own Christmas Story Annette Langen
A brother and sister joyfully re-enact the events of Christmas in this sweetly illustrated picture book. With flashlights and their imaginations in hand, the siblings make their way from the walls of their house to the snowy fields of Bethlehem. With big sister whispering the words to her younger brother, the young actors take little listeners along on their adventure celebrating the birth of Jesus.
The Great Christmas Crisis  Kim Norman
First the reindeer rebelled and now it's the elves' turn! This fun follow-up to The Great Reindeer Rebellion is as over-the-top entertaining as its forerunner. 'Tis the month before Christmas, and things aren't great. The elves are complaining, "We're all running late!" The candy-cane twister needs major repairs; there's not enough cotton to stuff the toy bears. The North Pole's in trouble: Santa MUST find out why. Told in fun rhyme and featuring embossed, spot-glossed pages, this holiday-bright book takes kids on an undercover mission with Santa himself, and gives them an inside peek at what really goes on in the elves' workshop.
Santa on the Loose!  Bruce Hale
When the toys are missing from Santa's sleigh, Santa must uncover who took them and get them back before Christmas comes.
Santa Retires  David Biedrzycki.
Santa Claus is tired of delivering toys and decides to retire to somewhere warm, but things do not work out as expected.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? Jane Yolen
From decorating the tree to wrapping presents, little dinosaurs love to celebrate Christmas. With holiday surprises around every corner, the award-winning team of Yolen and Teague create an engaging, fun gift sure to be read again and again.
The Christmas Quiet Book  Deborah Underwood
The holidays are filled with joyful noise. But some Christmas moments come wrapped in quiet: the hush of snow, the silence of a winter walk, the peacefulness of twinkling lights. Deborah Underwood and Renata Liwska celebrate all kinds of Christmas quiets in this magical ode for readers to savor while snuggling up by the fire or settling in for a long winter's nap.
Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas : A Safety Guide for Scaredies Mélanie Watt.
'Tis the season for worrying, planning, decorating, wrapping, entertaining, carolling and, worst of all, fruitcake! Scaredy Squirrel returns with a quirky safety guide filled with practical tips and nutty step-by-step instructions to help readers prepare for a perfect Christmas. A fun-filled guide sure to appeal to all the Scaredies out there!
Christmastime  / [illustrations by] Alison Jay ; [concept and words by Libby Hamilton].
A cozy, visually rich celebration of Christmas to pore over Readers are off to the North Pole in this brimming holiday treat. Readers will be pulled into a nostalgic, exquisitely detailed moment of the yuletide journey: a trip in Santa's sleigh, supper with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, watching the elves hard at work, and finally arriving home in time for Christmas morning. Secret clues, plus hidden allusions to classic Christmas carols, elevate this from a gorgeous book to an interactive holiday treasure hunt; a natural fit for the whole family at Christmastime.
Christmas Parade  Sandra Boynton.
A delightful Christmas picture book filled with hilarious characters and dynamic art from the one and only Sandra Boynton! BOOM biddy BOOM biddy BOOM BOOM BOOM! What's that noise filling the room? From this rousing beginning unfolds Christmas Parade , a merry picture book from Sandra Boynton . As the dynamic parade of forty-six spiffy and intent animal musicians marches by. Written with the irresistible rhythm of a lively marching band and illustrated by the author with those signature Boynton characters, Christmas Parade is a superb present for young children and families everywhere. Biddy BOOM.
Dinosaur vs. Santa  Bob Shea.
Everyone's favorite little red Dinosaur faces Christmas with his usual gusto in this hilarious holiday offering.
Nothing says Christmas like a Christmas tree, and the Rockefeller Center tree in New York City has said it beautifully since 1931. But how does the tree get there? One year, the tugboat captain (and author) George Matteson, his wife, and their daughter traveled by tug to fetch the giant tree. This dramatic picture book tells the story of their real-life journey up the Hudson River, and James Ransomeâ's striking paintings capture the excitement of the trip and the pride of the young girl who helped steer the tug into New York Harbor.
Together at Christmas Eileen Spinelli
It's Christmas Eve, and a family of ten mice shivers in the snow. One by one, each mouse finds a place to stay warm, only to discover that they'd rather huddle together on this holiday night. With gently rhyming text and charming illustrations, this picture book is a wonderful read aloud at Christmas time.