Tis the Season for Holiday Books

'tis the Season for Holiday BooksWith the holiday season upon us, we remember the joy and magic of holiday books! It might be the characters in the classic Little Golden Books like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bells, or The Night Before Christmas. Polar Express holds a special place in my heart. For the preschooler and toddler in my life, Doc McStuffins Jingle Bell Doc and Daniel Tiger’s Snowflake Day jump start a nightly ritual.

When our 4-year-old wanted to know more about Hanukkah, Light the Menorah, by Jannie Ho, walked her though the simple history and nightly celebrations of a family during the eight nights of Hanukkah. With interactive “pull tabs,” we lit a new candle each night as the story progressed. Our toddler loves anything Biscuit or Curious George, so Happy Hanukkah! Curious George, and Biscuit’s Hanukkah served as great introductions.

For a humorous flashback to YOUR childhood, read Richard Scarry’s The Night Before the Night Before Christmas! With the other traditional Busytown characters, Mr. Frumble gets too excited for Christmas! He heads to the North Pole to help Santa Bear who has mixed up the dates and is delivering presents a night early!

Or, you and the littles can laugh and sing along to the words in There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell, by Lucille Colandro. This time the Old Lady swallows a bell, bows, gifts, reindeer and a sleigh!

While we love the classics, silly and the interactive books, my mom introduced me to a new book this year that encourages us to remember the magic, celebration, and joy of the season. Odds Bodkin published The Christmas Cobwebs in 2001, but the moral is probably even more applicable today. He tells the story of a family who loses everything, except a box of heirloom Christmas ornaments, in a fire. The fire forces the family to move to a cobweb infested shack where the father instructs the family not to disturb the spiders’ homes. Eventually, the family is forced to sell their very special ornaments for money. Christmas time arrives and the family tree stands bare. On Christmas morning, however, the family awakes to a beautiful tree, decorated by none other than the gracious spiders who spun beautiful cobweb ornaments all night long.

Often used in kindergarten and first grade classrooms, The Christmas Cobwebs is a beautiful story for all ages. Younger children awe at the magic of spiders spinning ornaments. Terry Widener, the illustrator, uses large, engaging pictures to capture young attention spans. Living in a shack, with no ornaments to trim the Christmas tree, the family in the book reminds older children that family is more important than material things. No matter what age, this books reminds us all of the magic of Christmas. I can’t help but think that Odds Bodkin is encouraging us to focus on that magic, joy and celebration that exists despite the presents.

Tis the season! Enjoy the magic through reading.

Katie EngerAbout the author: Never realizing she’d fall in love with a Kansas boy and return to her birth city, Katie grew up in Copley, Ohio. She and her husband, Jeff, met at Miami University, enjoyed Cincinnati, Ohio for a few years, and moved to Kansas City after getting married in 2007. They now reside in Overland Park. 

Katie spends her free time exploring Kansas City with her husband and daughters, Emily (almost 4) and Olivia (18 months). Zoey, her very excitable Boxer often joins the adventures. Katie received her bacherlor’s degree at Miami University of Ohio and taught elementary school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since moving to Kansas City, she found a passion for the medical industry and works full time for a pharmaceutical company. Katie thanks her mother and grandmother for instilling in her a love of reading and writing!

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