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Christmas

The Snowman

Michael Morpurgo & Robin Shaw, based on the original story by Raymond Briggs.

This is a new novelised adaptation of Raymond Briggs' classic story (also available here), bringing all the magic of the original tale into a narrative form.

A boy named James is so excited when snow arrives on his farm that he rushes outside to build the snowman he has been longing to create. Wonderfully, the snowman comes to life and gives James a magical adventure that he will never forget. This cherished story that never loses its magical appeal, is bound to be a favourite for many to curl up with this Christmas.

 

You can also find accompanying classroom resources here.

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The Night I Met Father Christmas

Ben Miller & Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini

It’s Christmas Eve and everyone in Jackson’s family is busy getting ready for the big day. Jackson thinks he knows all the old stories about Father Christmas, including the secrets of flying reindeer and the physics-defying magic of delivering presents all around the world in just one night. But when Father Christmas reaches Jackson’s house in the middle of the night and has a bit of a mishap, Jackson embarks upon a thrilling adventure that allows him to see a whole new side to the jolly man with the red suit. As Father Christmas opens up to Jackson about his personal history, an exciting story unfolds that will take readers on a festive adventure laced with the perfect balance of humour and tenderness. 

 

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The Crayons' Christmas

Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers

The Day the Crayons Quit meets The Jolly Postman in this fun, interactive book from Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers, delighting fans of the much-loved crayon stories by adding a festive twist. The crayons are back and this time they have mail. Open the envelopes, boxes and packets to find out what the postman has been delivering to each colour! Peach Crayon receives a dressing-up package from his mum. Crayon-owner Duncan begins to feel left out, until the crayons give him a brilliant festive surprise of their own. There are activities to press out, assemble and play with inside the various packets and envelopes. While there are nods to the previous stories, it could also work as a fun standalone story about the joy of giving and receiving gifts. 

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Leah's Star

Margaret Bateson-Hill & Karin Littlewood

A tender retelling of the Nativity story through the eyes of Leah, the innkeeper's daughter. The streets of Bethlehem are bustling with people and Leah's family are rushed off their feet housing travellers at her father's inn. When a woman arrives who is just about to have her baby, Leah's father finds them a place to rest in his stable. Wide-eyed with wonder, Leah witnesses a series of very special events including some rather unusual visitors from afar. The story is full of humanity and at its heart it depicts a young girl's personal encounter with the very special baby at the centre of the nativity story. Illustrated with Karin Littlewood's watercolour scenes, this beautiful picture book brings a familiar Christmas story to life through a fresh pair of eyes and is a worthy addition to your collection of nativity story books.

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Little Robin Red Vest

Jan Fearnley

A charming picture book about the joy of giving that has the feel of a gentle Just-So story with a festive twist. 

It is the week before Christmas and it's getting chilly outside. Little Robin washes and irons seven warm vests to keep him cosy in the frosty evenings leading up to Christmas. As each day goes by, Robin encounters a different shivering animal and, full of compassion, he generously offers each animal one of his own vests to wear. Robin's kindness may have prevented his animal friends from getting colder, but when Christmas eve arrives he finds himself with nothing warm left to wear. Fortunately, a festive visitor in a red suit and a soft, white beard spots Robin and finds a joyous way to reward him for his kindness to others. The tale is likely to inspire children to tap into the spirit of giving that Robin demonstrates so unreservedly. 

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A Boy Called Christmas

Matt Haig & Chris Mould

This hilarious novel is a festive favourite with KS2. A Boy Called Christmas tells the story of Nikolas, whose father is a woodcutter who has disappeared on a dangerous expedition to find Santa’s elves. Nikolas sets out to the Far North to rescue his father, encountering danger, new friends and a good deal of Christmas magic along the way. Eventually Nikolas he finds that he has his very own part to play in bringing festive joy to many others.

You may also like the other stories in the series: The Girl Who Saved Christmas (available here) and Father Christmas and Me  (available here).

 

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Dream Snow

Eric Carle

From the creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this is the story of a Santa-like farmer who dreams of snow on Christmas Eve. When he wakes, he discovers real snow has fallen, just in time for him to bring special gifts to his animals. This is a multi-sensory edition, complete with surprise flaps, textures and Eric Carle’s iconic collage-style illustrations that would make an excellent stimulus for Christmas creative projects. We particularly recommend Dream Snow for EYFS and Year 1.

The Christmasaurus

Tom Fletcher

This debut children’s novel from Tom Fletcher is already a bestseller and will be a much requested Christmas present this year. Follow the adventures of William Trundle as he encounters elves, reindeer, snow, Santa Claus and a rather festive dinosaur. Fast-paced and full of humour, The Christmasaurus is a terrific story to read aloud to KS2. 

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

Susan Wojciechowski & P. J. Lynch

This classic Christmas story has won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal and has also been turned into a children’s movie. This book tells the story of Jonathan, a talented woodcarver who always looks alone and unhappy. Unbeknown to the nearby villagers, what lies beneath Jonathan’s cold exterior turns out to be a sorrowful story about his lost wife and child. One wintry day, a widow and her son come to Jonathan with a request that leads to a delightful resolution to the tale. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is a stirring picture book with tremendously detailed illustrations and is suitable for use across the KS2 range.

The Dog That Saved Christmas

Nicola Davies & Mike Byrne

Published in Barrington Stoke’s ‘super-readable’ and dyslexia-friendly style, this is a short chapter book that readers will find easy to pick up and hard to put down.

Jake stands out from many of the other children at his school and Christmas is a time that is especially difficult for him, with the bright lights, loud noises and changes in routines causing him a great deal of anxiety. When Jake befriends a lost dog, which he calls Susan, a beautiful bond begins to form that helps Jake to stay calm and cope with the difficulties he faces. After a while, Susan’s real owners turn up to reclaim their missing dog and Jake and his family needs to find a way forward while their world feels like it has fallen apart.

This is a touching and inclusive story that is well suited for the 6-8 age bracket or for less confident readers in the upper primary years. The narrative sensitively explores the idea that Christmas is not an easy time for everybody, while also drawing out festive values of family, kindness and compassion for those in need.

 

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Babushka

Dawn Casey & Amanda Hall

There is something for all year groups in this magical Christmas folktale from Russia. Babushka is busy tidying her house when three unexpected guests arrive looking for a new born baby king. When Babushka decides to follow the men, she finds that the snow has covered their tracks and she doesn't know which way to go. Babushka keeps on searching, giving gifts from her basket to every suffering child that she passes. Babushka is a beautifully illustrated story from another culture that brings together the festive themes of generosity and what it means to pursue your beliefs even when it seems difficult.

Snow (Walter de la Mare)

Walter de la Mare & Carolina Rabei

If you are looking for a means of introducing classic poetry to your class, this book would be an excellent choice. The classic poem ‘Snow’ by Walter de la Mare is presented as an accessible picture book with stunning illustrations. The poem describes a stark wintry landscape broken into by the tune of a robin. What we love about this edition is how the illustrations of the houses behind the frosty snow scene pick up on small details of the poem and expand them to bring to life extra layers of meaning. This text would make a wonderful stimulus for Christmas writing projects across both key stages.

A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas

Philip Yates

This book serves as a fun way of introducing the classic poem The Night Before Christmas to younger children. On a pirate ship filled with mischievous brigands who have visions of treasure chests dancing in their heads, you will find Sir Peggedy cracking his whip and driving giant seahorses. A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas is a clever and humorous book with a story that will engage younger children and that could act as a stimulus for older children to change the original Christmas poem into their own imaginative new setting. 

Silent Night

Lara Hawthorne

The Christmas carol 'Silent Night' is familiar to many, but how often do people pause to think about what the words mean? Lara Hawthorne brings the classic Christmas song to life in this beautifully illustrated hardback picture book. Dedicating each double-page spread to a different rhyming couplet from the original carol, this book tells the story of the nativity through vibrant illustrations that are teeming with a mood of joy and good news.

The brightly drawn characters and settings in the story are placed against a deep black sky with clusters of stars. Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus are depicted as dark-skinned and there are plenty of nods to middle Eastern patterns in the stylised designs. What I enjoyed the most is the way the illustration captures the way the original carol - and the nativity story itself - conveys an equal measure of peacefulness and joyful celebration.

A worthy addition to your collection of nativity story books.

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon

Michael Morpurgo

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon is a beautifully poignant Christmas story by popular author Michael Morpurgo. In a quiet village overshadowed by dragon-filled mountains there lives a little girl called Mimi. When Mini finds a baby dragon, she makes a brave decision that will transform her village forever. This is a festive adventure story that combines the magic of Christmas with the important themes of being courageous and searching for peace. Morpurgo has a number of other Christmas books, including Christmas Stories, The Goose is Getting Fat, The Best of TimesThe Best Christmas Present in the World and On Angel Wings (click links to view on Amazon).

Hopscotch and the Christmas Tree

Katy Segrove & Katerina Vykhodtseva

A fun Christmas picturebook with a message about staying positive. The animals living in Rainbow Mews are disappointed to find that their beloved old Christmas tree is no longer up to surviving another festive season. Struggling to source the perfect replacement, the little cast of animals find themselves thinking outside the box to create a wonderful solution to reclaiming their festive cheer instead.  An uplifting, appealing and original Christmas story suitable for KS1 and reception.  ​

How Winston Delivered Christmas

Alex T. Smith

A cross between a Christmas story and an advent calendar, this charming hardback book is structured into 24½ chapters – one for each day of advent. Each day’s offering includes the next chapter of the story and easy-to-follow instructions for an accompanying craft to make or activity to try.

Winston is a little mouse who finds himself caught up in a special adventure with a festive theme. When Winston stumbles across a lost letter addressed to Father Christmas, he makes it his mission to deliver the letter to the North Pole in time for Christmas. It's not an easy expedition, but along the way Winston is helped by a cast of generous friends and helpful strangers. This is a heart-warming story that celebrates simple acts of kindness towards other people and together with the craft activities it makes a wonderful book for families, groups or school classes to enjoy exploring together in the run-up to Christmas.

The Christmas Promise

Alison Mitchell & Catalina Echeverri

This book presents the traditional nativity story from a Christian perspective, showing how the baby in the manger was a special king that had been promised from years before in order to bring hope, forgiveness and peace. With striking illustrations and an easy to follow storyline, The Christmas Promise is a book for exploring how the story of the birth of Jesus fits into the wider Christian narrative of the Bible.