Festive reads for children – The 12 best Christmas books
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- Published on Thursday, 03 December 2015 13:20
- Last Updated on 03 December 2015
- Monica Costa
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I love Christmas because I can spend quality time with my son, my nieces and my extended family. I particularly enjoy reading stories to and with my son. Even if the stories are for younger children, Christmas books have the taste of ginger biscuit with a glass of milk. They leave a lovely after taste for a long time. Here is my selection of the best Christmas books for children.
The Snow Queen
Pushkin has recently published a new translation of the beloved classic fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson (1805-1875) which inspired the award-winning movie FROZEN.
The Snow Queen is a timeless tale of love, loss, loyalty and innocence; it inspired both the Academy Award-winning Disney hit Frozen and the C.S. Lewis classic The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. With this beautifully illustrated, new translation of one of the most loved fairy tales from a master storyteller, Pushkin is bringing this classic tale of good and evil to a whole new generation of children. Hans Christian Andersen’s tale was one my childhood favourite, and is still my favourite. It is one of the best stories ever written about the loss of compassion – and the healing.
Kai and Gerda are best friends, until one day two shards of glass from the Devil’s cursed mirror land in Kai’s eye and in his heart. From that day on, he can no longer see goodness in anything – not in the beautiful roses that grow in his garden, and not even in the kind-hearted Gerda. One wintry evening, whilst out sledding, Kai is kidnapped by the evil Snow Queen, and swept away to live in her kingdom of ice. Refusing to believe that Kai is gone, Gerda sets off on the perilous journey to find him. If she can find him, will she be able to melt the ice in his heart?
Hans Christian Andersen’s other stories include The Red Shoes, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Little Mermaid. Andersen’s stories have been translated into more than 125 languages, have become culturally embedded in the West’s collective consciousness and have inspired ballets, plays and films.
The Snow Queen
There’s another edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s magical tale published by Hutchinson, part of Cornerstone Publishing £9.99 and illustrated by Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. The story of a friendship and adventure is retold through the beautiful and intricate illustrations of Sanna. Cloth-bound in deep blue, with silver foil embellishments, The Snow Queen is a unique work of art.
Sanna Annukka is familiar to many from her collaborations with Marimekko and her artwork for Keane’s album, Under the Iron Sea. For her second book project, she illustrates Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, The Snow Queen.
A beautiful gift to give and receive.
The Nutcracker By Jane Ray (£11.99 from Orchard Books)
From award-winning artist, Jane Ray, comes a beautiful contemporary gift edition of this best-loved Christmas ballet story.
Christmas eve is the most magical night of the year, when the house is scented with wood smoke and spices, and there are secrets under every bed! Snow whispers down like feathers and every child waits, breathless, for the curtain to rise on Christmas day . . . And for one little girl, this Christmas eve is more magical than any before. When the clock strikes midnight, her new nutcracker doll comes to life and leads her through battle with the wicked Mouse King and his troops all the way to the Kingdom of Sweets. From award-winning artist, Jane Ray, comes a beautiful contemporary gift edition of this best-loved Christmas ballet story.
Jane Ray’s truly exquisite artwork has gained acclaim both in the UK and internationally. She is one of the most talented and distinctive illustrators in the children’s book world and regularly exhibits her work at various galleries. Jane lives in London.
The Fairy Tale Hairdresser and the Sugar Plum Fairy (from Penguin Random House)
The Fairytale Hairdresser meets the Sugar Plum Fairy in this modern twist on the Nutcracker story.
The Prince of the Land of Sweets has gone missing! Could the wicked Mouse King and Queen be to blame?
Join the Fairytale Hairdresser and her princess friends in a tale of enchanted toys, delicious dancing delights and fabulous fairytale fashion.
Abie Longstaff is the eldest of six children and grew up in Australia, Hong Kong and France. She knows all about squabbling, chaos and bossing younger sisters around. Abie lives in North London with her family and a very pesky cocker spaniel who chews the post. Lauren Beard is an illustrator based in Manchester. As a young girl she always loved drawing and reading, and would write and illustrate short stories for her two younger brothers.
The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Mark Marshall (£6.99, ages 3-6 from Little Tiger Press)
Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse . . .
It’s Christmas Eve and the whole house is sleeping – all except one little boy, woken up by the jingle of bells and the clatter of reindeer hooves on the roof. As he tiptoes downstairs, who will he find? Mark Marshall’s captivating illustrations place a little boy at the heart of Clement C Moore’s much-loved, classic Christmas poem. The bright and bold picture book with a glittering cover is a perfect Christmas gift for young children and a great way to introduce a new generation to this iconic poem.
Is it Christmas Yet? by Jane Chapman (£6.99, ages 1-3 from Little Tiger Press)
Christmas is coming and Ted is SO excited, he’s just about ready to pop! “Is it Christmas yet?” he cries. “It is it Christmas yet?” Poor Ted – will it EVER be Christmas?
A lovely chunky padded board book edition of a favourite Christmas story by the award-winning Jane Chapman. Is It Christmas Yet? is the perfect festive gift for little ones with Christmas excitement! With sturdy pages that are easy for little hands to turn, along with beautiful illustrations and a vibrant, funny text, this is an ideal book to read with children in the run up to Christmas.
The Magical Snow Garden by Tracey Corderoy and Jane Chapman (£6.99, ages 3-6 from Little Tiger Press)
Far away, where snowflakes twinkle like stars, Wellington the penguin dreams of growing a garden. “Impossible!” say his friends. “You can’t grow a garden in the snow.” But Wellington is determined to create something truly magical…
Snuggle up and share this heart-warming picture book about refusing to give up on a dream. Written by Tracey Corderoy, The Magical Snow Garden is an unforgettable story about how each of us can achieve our dreams. Now in paperback – and with a glittering cover finish!
One Snowy Rescue by M Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton (£6.99, ages 3-6 from Little Tiger Press)
Little Hedgehog is back with another magical adventure! It’s winter and he’s snowed in. “Oh no,” Little Hedgehog cries. “I hope Mouse isn’t snowed in too! I must check on her…” With a wriggle, he pulls himself out of his window and SPLAT! into a big snowdrift. And so begins a very snowy rescue!
Everyone’s favourite hedgehog (and his red woolly hat!) returns in the ninth book of the best-selling Little Hedgehog series. A wonderfully wintery story, this is the perfect Christmas gift for little ones, who will love stroking the fuzzy textures throughout!
Waiting for Santa by Steve Metzger and Alison Edgson (£6.99, ages 3-6 from Little Tiger Press)
It’s Christmas Eve in the forest. “Will Santa bring us presents?” squeaks Mouse. “Of course not!” huffs Badger. But clever Bear has a plan. He sets his friends to work making reindeer snacks and decorating a huge tree to attract Santas’ attention. “We just have to believe!” Bear tells them. But will Santa really come?
From author Steve Metzger comes a tale of belief and friendship to light up the holiday season. Packed with plenty of surprises and with a beautiful foiled cover, this is the perfect festive book to reassure young children.
Katie’s London Christmas by James Mayhew (from Hachette)
Christmas is a magical time of year, when absolutely anything incredible can happen–and the adventure Katie has is truly fantastic. When Katie and Jack are woken up late on Christmas Eve by a loud sneeze, little do they realize that they are about to embark on the most amazing evening Soon they are flying high across London, over snow-dusted landmarks, through the star-scattered sky with the one and only Father Christmas, in his sleigh, with his magical reindeer But can they help Father Christmas to deliver all his presents and be back in time for Christmas morning? This story is illustrated with James’s extraordinarily beautiful artwork and features some of London’s best sights, including Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, and many more landmarks. The foiled cover adds an extra bit of Christmas sparkle to make the book utterly irresistible.
Kipper’s Snowy Day By Mick Inkpen (Paperback £5.99 from Hodder Children’s Books)
Kipper loves the snow and when he sees great white flakes tumbling down one morning, he can’t wait to be out enjoying himself. Kipper’s friend Tiger isn’t nearly as good at snow games as Kipper is, because of his silly, woolly clothes – but they still manage to build a wonderful snowdog.
Mick Inkpen is one of the top-selling picture book artists and writers in the world and is consistently in the top ten most borrowed authors in UK libraries. The Kipper and Wibbly Pig stories have millions of readers worldwide. He has won the British Book Award twice for Lullabyhullaballoo and Penguin Small and the Children’s Book Award for Threadbear. He has also been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Smarties Award three times, winning Bronze for Wibbly Pig’s Silly Big Bear. In addition to this, Kipper won a BAFTA for best animated children’s film.
Peppa Pig Peppas Christmas Wish – Board book (£4.99 from Ladybird)
Peppa Pig and her brother George are excited about Christmas as they get ready for the celebrations. First there’s Santa’s grotto, where Peppa and George tell Santa what they would like for Christmas. Then Granny Pig has an important festive job for them and Peppa gets to make a very special wish. Will her Christmas wish come true?
A brand-new festive Peppa story, based on the hit TV animation – airing on Five’s Milkshake and Nick Jnr.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums