This year to accompany our other advent activities, I’m going to do something that I’ve wanted to do for the last two years. In lieu of a traditional advent calendar, I’m going to wrap up 24 Christmas themed books and let the kids choose one each night to read until the big day!
I’m not going to choose just any Christmas books. I want the books to have meaning and I want our readings to be fun, cuddly family time but also to be purposeful. So each story we read will be focused on the reason we celebrate: the birth of our wonderful Savior. Want to know what’s in our countdown?
Here are 24 Christ focused Christmas books for Advent suitable for toddlers to early elementary aged children.
1. The Nativity Illustrated by Julie Vivas
This book takes the story straight from the KJV version of the Bible and adds unique and colorful illustrations that bring a special realness to Mary and Joseph and all the other familiar people that are a part of the journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus.
2.The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
This story written by the popular Christian author follows a little lamb who is different than the rest of the flock as he learns that God has a special place for those who feel left out. When the rest of the sheep get to travel to a new meadow, Josh the lamb is left behind only to find that he is exactly where he is supposed to be!
3. Alabaster’s Song: Christmas Through the Eyes of An Angel by Max Lucado
Another great book from Max Lucado, this story tells about a little boy who talks to the angel atop his family’s Christmas tree at night while everyone else is sleeping. Much to his surprise, one night the angel talks back and tells him that he is actually one of the angels from the great host that sang on the night of Jesus’ birth!
4. The Small One by Alex Walsh
This book from Disney is a creatively written tale about a boy who needs to find a home for his donkey, Small One, after his father determines that they can no longer afford to feed and care for an animal that cannot carry his workload. Where will Small One find a new family in Bethlehem when he is not as big and strong as the other donkeys?
5. How Many Miles to Bethlehem? by Kevin Crossley Holland
This poetic storybook with beautiful artwork on every page retells the nativity story from the perspective of each of the people involved. I love to read this book over and over. The pictures are breathtaking and the flow of the words makes them roll off your tongue. Add this to your must read this holiday season list!
6. One Starry Night by Lauren Thompson
This book is great for the smallest of the small ones in your home. In brief lines, we follow the animals across the land as they go about their night only to discover that something wonderful has happened on this night like any other!
7. The Little Donkey by Gerda Marie Scheidl
A little donkey hears of the birth of a king in a stable in Bethlehem and longs to go see the baby himself but is forbidden to go by his master. Going against his master’s wishes, the donkey travels to see this newborn King because he cannot fight he longing that wells up inside him. But will a lowly donkey like him be allowed to see the precious babe?
8. The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
This Christmas classic is well known and loved story about a little mischievous angel who wreaks havoc with his childish antics. When the time comes for God’s Son to be born, what gift can he offer to someone so special?
9. Listen to the Silent Night by Dandi Daley Mackall
Using rhyme and colorful pictures, this books makes us ponder whether that Silent Night was really so quiet!
10. A Shepherd by Heywood Broun
Amos the shepherd decides to stay behind with the flock and not travel to Bethlehem after angels came and sang about the birth of the Christ child. He think the flock is too scared to be left alone. But what will be do when he receives a message from God Himself?
11. Little Star by Anthony DeStefano
Ever wonder how the Star of Bethlehem got the job? This book spins the story through the eyes of the Christmas Star himself.
12. Baby Blessings Christmas by Alice Joyce Davidson
This chunky board book is perfect for little hands. It breaks the Christmas story down into small bits so that it is easily digested by small children and is appealing to the eye with colorful pictures and shiny tidbits here and there. It also includes age appropriate discussion questions at the bottom of every page to help you see what your child is absorbing from the reading!
13. Jesus and the Very Best Birthday by Sunny Griffin
This book comes from an older series called “Did You Know? New Testament Stories.” We have several of them and I see them all the time in used bookstores and on church bookshelves! Every page is a question that informs your children of fun facts about the story. Perfect for the younger age set, it will teach them in simple terms the basics of the birth of Jesus.
14. The Story of the Three Wise Kings by Tomie DePaola
The popular children’s author retells the story of the three traveling wise men from the East as they make their way towards the newborn King.
15. The Friendly Beasts Illustrated by Tara Larsen Chang
This is merely the classic Christmas song put in storybook form using artistic pictures. It includes a CD with the song and other Christmas classics so you can sing along!
16. A Night the Stars Danced for Joy by Bob Hartman
I love the artwork in this retelling of the first Christmas from the shepherd family’s perspective. Follow them as they journey to see the King and realize what His birth means!
17. The Stable Where Jesus Was Born by Rhonda Gowler Greene
In a lowly stable, filled with animals, a baby entered the world who would change the world. Feel the anticipation of the animals and others who would get to see the precious baby on the night he was born.
18. The Night Before Jesus by Bud Heise
19. The Birth of Jesus by Maissa Bessada
We own several of Catherine Storr’s books about bible events and people. She lays out the stories in a factual manner without being boring. The book isn’t flashy, but the realistic pictures hold the attention and the book tells of the birth of the Savior in a light but meaty way.
21. God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren
I have spoken a few times on my blog about this fantastic book. It shares the conversations between a little polar bear and her mother as she ponders if God is more important than Santa and whether or not we can really find Him.
22. The Story of Baby Jesus by Alice Joyce Davdison
Here’s another book from Alice Joyce Davidson, but this one is from the Alice in Bibleland series. In these books, a little girl named Alice steps through her Bible into the biblical lands and times. In this installment, she gets whisked away to witness the birth of the Savior!
23. The Christmas Angel by Hans Wilhelm
The smallest angel wants to join the others when the travel to Earth to sing and announce the birth of God’s Son, but he is told that he is much too young and small to make the trip. In an accidental fall that sends him plummeting off a cloud and down to the earth below, the angel becomes frightened and lost. With the help of three friends, he gets his wish of meeting the new baby!
24. There Was No Snow On Christmas Eve by Pam Munoz Ryan
Finally, this sweet book compares what Christmas day looks like for us and what it looked like for the holy family as they prepared for the birth of Jesus.
Whew! There are so many great choices out here, it was hard to choose just 24, but here they are! I can’t wait to cuddle up with my children each night and read them!
What are some of your favorite Christmas books?