I love Santa. My kids love Santa and nothing gets us more excited for his arrival than books. Here are some of our very favorite books about Santa to share with your kids. All books lists include affiliate links.
Babar and Father Christmas by Jean De Brunhoff was one of my very favorite Christmas stories as a child. As an adult I have had some great belly laughs at some of it’s writing .Babar books in general beg to be pre read , just trust me. In this book Babar goes looking for Father Christmas because he wants to ask him to visit Elephant country. He searches all over Paris and finally ends up in the North Pole and finds after much effort Father Christmas. I love the details in this book, as a child I would lay looking at the pictures of Santa’s workshop and imagine what visiting it would be like. As an adult I appreciate the smallest details like how Father Christmas’s flying machine ( not a sled) has P.N #1 on it , meaning of course Pere Noel #1.
Peter Claus and the Naughty List by Lawrence David. Peter Claus hopes to follow in his dad’s footsteps someday. But then he ended up on the naughty list. Peter doesn’t think the naughty list is fair. He takes his dad’s sleigh and gathers all the kids on the list and bring them to the North Pole to explain to Santa why they did some of the not so nice things. One-by-one Santa takes the kids home while listening to their tales. He agrees if the kids do one nice thing to make up for a naughty thing they still might find a gift under the Christmas tree. This is a great story that realizes it’s hard to be good all the time, but that doesn’t make them bad. ‘All people do naughty things once in a while. It can’t be helped,” Santa explained. “Saying you’re sorry is what matters most.” ( review by Carrie Anne )
Guess Who’s Coming to Santa’s for Dinner? by Tomie dePaola is a funny book about the classic family gathering. I don’t know about you but our family Christmas dinners were more comical than Norman Rockwell and I related so well to all the different family personalities, and quirks. My son thought the fact that one of Santa’s friends brought a polar bear was hilarious, but was perplexed by the absence of any elves. I like that Santa is exhausted by his family but in the end happy he hosted such a large family gathering. My son liked it, and loved the illustrations but it is a longer book so take a flip through it to see if your child is ready yet.
Oh, What a Christmas!by Micheal Garland is a sweet story about how Santa made do when the unexpected happened. As we all know reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh but when the reins break and Santa comes crashing down they are nowhere to be seen! Luckily a rag tag group of farm animals step in and save the day. The message that it’s not the reindeer but rather the magic that makes the difference is loud and clear . I like how this book can also open a dialog about how even special days can have unexpected bumps and you make do with what you have , just like Santa in this story.
Christmas Morning by Cheryl Ryan Harshman wasn’t what I expected , it was more. It’s written in the spirit of ” The House That Jack Built” and the text builds and builds starting with snow falling on a house as children sleep and ending with Christmas morning. What I wasn’t expecting is that the author tells the story of The Nutcracker , albeit a very simplistic version, in the rhyming text as well. The illustrations of the Rat King is a little frightening but nothing that will prevent you from reading it.
How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky is a fun and surprisingly practical story about Santa and how he developed the skills needed for his one of a kind job. It starts with Santa as a young man and as he keeps bouncing from job to job he acquires skills like going in and out of chimneys as a chimney sweep with ease and without getting dirty, develops a relationship with reindeer as a zoo worker and gets chubby eating all the food at a all night diner gig! There are more but i don’t want to spoil the story. My son loved it, especially once the elves showed up, which was when the toys did too! I know when i was a kid I wanted to know how Santa got his job, and there are movies dedicated to this so this book jumped on the bandwagon and did a great job , it’s very cute!
Santa Duck and His Merry Helpers by David Milgrim is really funny. Santa duck is the duck liaison to Santa and he goes around to find out what all the other ducks want for Christmas. His younger siblings want in on the action too and start telling ducks that they can get them bigger and better gifts in an effort to out Santa Santa Duck. Santa Duck explains that bigger and better gifts is not what Christmas is about . Christmas is about giving and sharing with your family. My son who is 6 and I both laughed at the smart alec ducks and while rude and annoying in many ways they were right when they said Santa Duck was hogging all the fun by being the only duck allowed to dress as Santa and be his helper. Cute book !
Santa Kid by James Patterson is a favorite library book in our house this year . My son inherited his love and curiosity of the inner workings of the North Pole from me and this book feeds that wonder. It also taps into something preschoolers are often seeking, power and a voice that gets heard. In the story Santa’s daughter saves the North Pole and Christmas from a corporate take over. I liked this book, and my son did too. It doesn’t focus on the religious celebration but rather on Santa and it doesn’t take a very sophisticated kid to know it’s make believe, 3 pages in my son said ” Mommy, this is a made up story right? Santa isn’t a regular Daddy, that’s silly!” What it does is focuses on giving kids power to save something. Maybe it’s just my 4 year old but he spends all day pretending to save the day and this book spoke right to that desire to be powerful and good!
Santasaurus by Niamh Sharkey is my new favorite Christmas book. It’s perfect for all the dinosaur crazy kids and ones not even into dinosaurs will still enjoy the sweet story. Ollie, Molly and Milo are dino siblings who are getting prepared for Christmas by making decorations, eating treats and writing letters to Santasaurus. Milo asks for a trip on Santasaurus’s sleigh and on Christmas Eve he sneaks down to find Santasaurus waiting for him. I love this book because as a child I couldn’t think of anything more magical than going with Santa on his sleigh, well maybe hanging out in his toy shop, either way this brought back that wonder. The illustrations are bright , fun and add to the magical feeling of this book.
How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow is a great book to go along with this activity. The book is styled as an expose about how Santa and his many many elves get all the work for Christmas done. I will caution you now that this is a long book, with even longer asides. I made my son head up to bed with me and the book early in order to get it read and still have time to chat about it after. I love the “insider” feel about this book and so did my son. There were many asides that made both of us giggle especially the comment about how many requests Santa gets for ponies each year. I loved that it encouraged kids to write to Santa but I have to say I sorta miss that it didn’t include much about magic. Still I can’t tell you how much my son loved this book ( I knew he would) and how impressed I was when he asked me if I thought this was how it worked. That opened a great discussion about how we imagine the North Pole and how stories and movies are just one person’s imagination and no one knows the truth .
Hurry, Santa! by Julia Sykes is an okay book. I wanted to like it more than I did. The pictures are cute, the idea of Santa being late for Christmas morning has a lot of potential and the author tried but it just never gelled for me. I would still check it out from the library and test it out with your child, but I won’t be adding this to my must buy list.
McDuff’s New Friend by Rosemary Wells was a classroom classic in my last year teaching. I think I read it every day for 3 weeks straight and then a few weeks after Christmas too! In it McDuff the little Westie dog saves the day finding Santa stuck in the snow! I love Susan Jeffer’s retro illustrations and the little details like the dad feeding the baby, the doggy sweaters the McDuff wears in the snow, and how Santa gave them all gifts they needed in the story .
A Small Christmas by Wong Herbert Yee is about as perfect a Christmas book as my son could ever read. My son is obsessed with firefighters, he rescues his baby sister all day long and the sound of sirens are pretty much a given day or night in our house. Fireman Small is a tiny firefighter that children immediately relate to because he is little. His heart is big though and so is his courage. In this installment though it’s not a fire he rushes to but Santa’s aid. Your child doesn’t need to be as nuts about firefighters as my son is to enjoy this sweet holiday book.
What book about Santa is a favorite at your house?
Books are my favorite teaching aid for any age. I love how books can open up children’s eyes to experiences they have never imagined, to discover places they have never been to ,and to feelings their heart has not yet felt. The very best part is that books are accessible. Books with tough lessons can be shared with a parent at home where answers can be given, feelings reassured ,and the story related to the experiences of the reader. Whether these books get shared at home at bedtime , at school at circle time ,or a child reads them alone at quiet reading time they are all filled with valuable lessons.
The books are listed alphabetically by author so it’s easy to print out and take to a library and find the books. I have included a short note next to each title to explain the lesson that the book focuses on. Books are subjective and there might be some lessons that I get from a book that you do not. I welcome your comments , your opinions ,and of course your suggestions . My 88 is just the start. All book titles in our lists include affiliate links.
- A Picture Book of Helen Keller (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler tells readers that we are all different with different abilities but are all capable of great things.
- Dancing in the Wings by Debbie Allen is about more than ballet, it’s about overcoming being different, accepting your body and even standing up for yourself.
- Parts by Tedd Arnold is a funny book with a great lesson about figures of speech. Young kids are very literal and this book helps kids see that language is not always what it seems.
- The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race by Stan and Jan Berenstain is about not giving up and playing by the rules.
- Calvin Can’t Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie by Jennifer Berne is a story about how being yourself is important but also about when to depend on others.
- The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is a story about living in the moment and the fleeting nature of life.
- The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau is a story that teaches children about giving as well as where happiness can really be found.
- The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle is great for teaching telling time but it’s also a wonderful lesson in not taking the bait when someone wants to fight.
- The Great Kapok Tree: A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forestby Lynne Cherry is a beautiful book that teaches children about taking care of the environment.
- My Mouth Is a Volcano!by Julia Cook is all about interrupting. This book finds a fun way to teach kids when it’s appropriate to speak.
- Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney is a inspirational lesson about how we can all make the world more beautiful in our own way.
- Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin teaches readers about the need for good working conditions, the role of negotiation, as well as the basics of what a strike is.
- Duck for President by Doreen Cronin teaches readers that being a leader isn’t about being the bossy one but rather having the most responsibility .
- Is There Really a Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis has a wonderful lesson about what is really important ( hint : it’s not the rat race) and to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.
- The Empty Pot by Demi is a lovely book about the importance of honesty.
- Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio doesn’t just teach us that girls should run for President it also explains the Electoral College pretty well.
- Pink Tiara Cookies For Three by Maria Dismondy is all about friendship and how to make it work when your friends become friends with someone new.
- Spaghetti in A Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage to Be Who You Are by Maria Dismondy is about bullying but it’s also about doing the right thing especially when it’s hard to.
- The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson is a fairytale like book about problem solving with a creative imagination and intelligence.
- Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley is a great lesson in subtle similarities amidst more obvious differences.
- Her Mother’s Face by Roddy Doyle teaches readers that grief isn’t something we deal with one time and move on.
- The Sissy Ducklingby Harvey Fierstein teaches us that all people are unique and to respect everyone for that uniqueness not for their ability to fit some societal mold.
- Imogene’s Last Stand by Candace Fleming is well loved at my house for it’s love of history and for it’s lesson about standing up for something when you can see it’s value even when others do not.
- Whoever You Are by Mem Fox. This book is all about finding the similarities in all people which is a grand lesson in empathy.
- The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke teaches readers that sometimes the only person who can save you is you.
- Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman is a lesson in resourcefulness , something in today’s disposable culture should be taught to every child!
- Rosa by Nikki Giovanni is a book about Rosa Parks it’s written beautifully to teach another generation about how one person can make a huge difference.
- All the Colors of the Earth by Shelia Hamanaka does not have a subtle lesson you will have to dig for, it’s lesson is simple and upfront. Children come in all different colors.
- Most Loved in All the World by Tonya Cherie Hegamin is a touching story that introduces children to the underground railroad as well as to sacrifices that parents make for the sake of their children.
- Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purseby Kevin Henkes teaches children about taking responsibility for our actions and forgiveness.
- Shelia Rae, The Brave by Kevin Henkes teaches us that it’s OK to let someone help you when you need it.
- Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks is a really cute book about why trying new things is a good thing
- Brontorina by James Howe has a beautiful message about inclusive environments and respecting people for who they are not for who we think they should be.
- The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston is a lesson in what makes Christmas special and more than any preachy book this story drives this lesson home.
- Ben’s Trumpet by Rachel Isadora is a wonderful book with a lesson in following your dreams even when you are the only one who can see that they are attainable.
- Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse is all about security and how children need to know that no matter what children do their parents will love them all the same.
- My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis teaches kids that when other people express who they are it’s not up to us to decide if it’s OK or not just because it may not fit into our narrow expectations.
- The Paper Princess (Picture Puffins) by Elisa Klevin has a great lesson that imperfection is not a flaw and it shows us that in subtle ways page after page
- Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus is one of my favorite books to turn to when kids feel like they just can’t keep up with their peers
- The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll teaches kids to embrace competition but to know when cooperation is a better choice.
- The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf is about being who you are no matter what environment you are in .
- Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester teaches children to tolerate differences in others and how sometimes what we feel most vulnerable about isn’t all bad.
- Fish Is Fish by Leo Lionni is a cute book about change and the way true friendships can withstand change.
- It’s Mine! by Leo Lionni is one of my favorite books to pull out when I hear those words… a great lesson in sharing and working together.
- Swimmy by Leo Lionni is one of my favorite books about bravery and teamwork.
- Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell teaches kids to be proud of who they are just as they are.
- The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon is an unexpectedly tender look at being different at school.
- Mr. Peabody’s Applesby Madonna is an important lesson about how rumors can spread and words can really hurt people.
- Hugo and Miles In I’ve Painted Everything by Scott Magoon is about creativity and how it never really runs out.
- Dinosaur Woods by George McClements is about about conservation and teamwork.
- Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud has such an important lesson about kindness to others and the importance of treating all people with respect.
- I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt isn’t just about unconditional love it’s also about meeting the needs of those you love.
- The Monster Princess by D.J. McHale is filled with lesson about doing what is right even when we are angry and hurt, discovering that what we dream about being may not be all it’s cracked up to be as well as my favorite message that there are ” All kinds of special.”
- Elmer by David McKee is all about self acceptance even when that means we must accept that we are very different.
- How the Ladies Stopped the Wind by Bruce McMillan is all about problem solving and that there is power in numbers.
- Mole Music by David McPhail tells us that the arts are vital and can nourish great things.
- The Mighty Street Sweeper by Patrick Moore teaches readers that you don’t have to be the best at everything to still be proud of your hard work.
- Tomas and the Library Lady by Pat Mora is about how one person can make a profound impact on a child’s life and the power of books.
- Makeup Mess by Robert Munsch teaches kids that they are beautiful just the way they are.
- The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch isn’t just about girl power it’s also about being resourceful and sing your brain not brawn to win.
- Zoom! by Robert Munsch is not a preachy book. It’s lesson is that kids that use wheelchairs aren’t helpless and can save the day!
- Enemy Pie by Derek Munson teaches children that enemies might just be friends you haven’t made yet.
- The Only One Club by Jane Naliboff has a great message that we should celebrate our diversity and tell our kids it’s not a bad thing to be unique.
- The Family Book by Todd Parr has a lesson I have been teaching my 3 year old lately, that all families may not look alike but all families are made with love.
- The I’M NOT SCARED Book by Todd Parr teaches kids it’s OK to have fears and that they can overcome them.
- The Kissing Hand by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite book that teaches children that it’s OK to separate from their parents because their love goes with you wherever you go.
- Zip, Zip…Homework by Nancy Poydar is a book about telling the truth at home and school.
- Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuriis a great book that can open up a dialog about getting lost or separated from a parent.
- Let Them Play by Margot Theis Raven is a tough story to read because the lesson it teaches is that there is injustice in this world and kids aren’t immune.
- Ish by Peter H. Reynolds is a wonderful book about the beauty of imperfection and creativity. A must read for all perfectionists.
- A Very Big Bunny by Marisabina Russo teaches kids about being different and how it can feel to be singled out by adults as well as kids.
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka is a great book to teach children about point of view and to always look at both sides of every story.
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak to me is a lesson in unconditional love. You can always come home where you are loved best of all.
- A Bad Case Of Stripes by David Shannon teaches children to not change themselves for others but to just be who they are.
- No, David! by David Shannon teaches young kids that there are consequences but that even when they mess up they are still loved.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is all about entitlement and can be a great tool for teaching children about what makes a bad friend.
- Tallulah’s Tutu by Marilyn Singer has a great lesson about effort and achievement and how sparkly beautiful things don’t usually come without it.
- Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation (Time-Traveling Twins) by Diane Stanley is included in this list because it’s a bang on book about the history behind Thanksgiving. I think it’s vital for kids to know this when it’s something celebrated year after year.
- Amos & Boris by William Steig is a lesson about the power of friendship and how when a friend needs help nothing including being small can stop you from helping them.
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss teaches children about the importance of taking care of their environment.
- Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson teaches kids that it’s OK to go out and explore but not to forget where home is.
- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst is the ultimate lesson about how everything won’t always go your way.
- Owl Babies by Martin Waddell is about patience and separation anxiety. It is a good lesson for kids that those feelings are normal but that those who love them will come back.
- Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Melanie Watt is hilarious but has a great lesson about taking risks too.
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!by Mo Willems teaches kids that even throwing a fit won’t change the fact that they just aren’t allowed to do some things.
- Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong is about living in two cultures at one time. A wonderful read for all children to better grasp what being part of an immigrant family is like.
- All the Way to America by Dan Yaccarino is a good book to talk about how people came to the United States and why people move from country to country.
- Not All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen teaches kids that even princesses don’t fit into a simple mold.
I know you have more to add ! Add the titles that help you teach your children or students important lessons in comments.
Yesterday we woke up to frost and my daughter was sure it was snow. After preschool I took her to the library and we gathered some new books about snow to learn more. These books about snow range from funny to touching and all will have you hoping for a snow day. All of the book titles in our book lists are affiliate links.
The Mitten by Jan Brett is visually impeccable, each page is so full of details that you will find yourself staring at them long after you have read the words. The story is about a little boy who looses a mitten and what happens next. It’s a sweet retelling of a Ukrainian folk tale but the detailed and layered illustrations really steal the show! My kids love this book but when I told them this same story they told me they hate folk tales. The illustrations by Brett bring this story to life much better than I could obviously!
The Lonesome Polar Bear by Jane Cabrera is a lovely book about a little polar bear who’s only friends are a snow cloud and snow animals and they all keep melting away. The book has an important message about not giving up hope and to keep trying to make friends , a lesson that is worthwhile for everyone. The illustrations are very cute and my son (who was a toddler when we read it )loved it!
Holly’s Red Boots by Francesca Chessa was a delight to read. Holly wants to go outside in the snow but can’t find her boots and we follow along as she looks for them.It’s a cute story and the pictures are scrumptious. My son loved that the dinosaur was wearing her boots and wanted to read that page over and over. I also loved that when she does go outside her mom has her baby sibling in a baby carrier. Fun book!
Un-Brella by Scott Franson is such a cool book. There is not a single line of text in the book , and it’s not missing a thing! The illustrations are so vivid, so layered and tell the story perfectly. A little girl has a magical umbrella that brings sun on a snowy day and snow when her yard is green and sunny. My 2 year old was beside himself laughing and saying “No no” to the little girl wearing her swim suit in the snow. Grab this book and enjoy!
Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay is my kind of book. If I were to quote all my favorite bits of this book I would write out most of it. I just love the writing, it’s simple but doesn’t talk down to the reader. The characters are sweet but not saccharine and I love how inquisitive Sam is . Stella is a know it all but not bratty about it at all! Sam has never seen snow before and Stella tells him all about it as they explore the first snow fall of the year.
Snow! Snow! Snow!by Lee Harper captures the excitement of a snow day spent sledding and defying gravity for those precious few moments as you zoom down the hill. My son gave the book a thumbs up but my daughter wasn’t as into it although when the 3 dogs in the book landed with a thump both kids were giggling. Edited to add : This morning my daughter ran to this book and smiled the whole way through loving it! Funny how 8am reading gets a different response than 5pm after a long day.
Snow Sounds: An Onomatopoeic Storyby David A. Johnson is a wonderful book about onomatopoeia and even though I did not tell my son that that was the point of the book when we were done reading and I asked for his thoughts he said ” I liked all the words that are sounds.” The teachable moment was not lost. I loved the illustrations that made me want to put the kettle on and grab some fuzzy slippers.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a classic. Some classics are the type of books that lose their relevance and leave readers wondering what the hype is about. This book is timeless. A little boy goes exploring in the snow and discovers his world in a new way. The illustrations are magical and the way that they convey the emotions this little boy experiences throughout the day are nothing short of perfect.
Here Comes Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara is another fantastic book that will have you aching for snow. A little boy is lonely after his friends have all gone into hibernation for the winter when Jack Frost shows up. They frolic and play exploring all the fun that winter has to offer friends but when the first signs of spring arrive Jack is gone. The illustrations are perfectly simple and will suck you into a wintery world that you won’t want to leave. My kids love this book and after one reading at the library we bought our own copy.
Birthday Snow by Kim Messinger and Michael LaLumiere is such a sweet book about believing in something even when all the facts say maybe you should give up. Daniel doesn’t give up hope waiting for the snow to come on his birthday , but who really steals the show is his mom and her continued support of her little guy and his determination. A very cute book and a new addition to my must buy list!
Snowbots by Aaron Reynolds is funky, fun , and full of really awesome rhymes. The robot reality is a sweet one and my kids totally dug this book. We were picking favorite robots in the first few pages and loving the book more and more as we read it. The story is a familiar one but with the substitution of robots instead of humans basic snow day things get more interesting. My son loved the snowball fight and my daughter was all over the pink robot. I loved how they had cereal with gasoline and an oil bath. A huge hit with all of us.
White Snow, Bright Snowby Alvin Tresselt is a total throw back to another time and it’s awesome. I love books that haven’t been updated because they offer readers a chance to go back in time and get a glimpse of the past. The story is about a town expecting a snow storm and how it’s different residents prepare and deal with it. The animals , adults , and kids all go about it very differently. The character that stood out for me was the policeman’s wife who doted on her husband and cared for his cold with a mustard plaster. I told you it was a total throw back! I didn’t know they still used mustard plasters in the 40s but that’s why these books are such treasures for kids and parents alike.
I am thankful for books. I am thankful for the ability to use them to teach , to entertain , and to deepen my children’s love of reading. I hope one of these books about Thanksgiving strikes a chord with you and your family and can be used to teach , entertain , and deepen a love of reading at your house too. All book lists contain affiliate links.
A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman is such a cute and funny book about a town that needs a turkey and the hilarious lengths they go to to find one. The town is sadly outwitted by the turkey and end up eating shredded wheat for thanksgiving. The illustrations kept my little man interested when he was a toddler but he only started understanding the dark humor at around 4. I love this book because of the humor makes me giggle. My son was a little off put by the idea of the towns folk eating the turkey and was relived when he escaped before they shoved him in the oven. I like that he is starting to understand that the meat he eats is actually a cooked animal, we take that for granted but for many young kids this is a huge realization!
Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by Kimberly and James Dean was underwhelming and I usually adore Pete The Cat. Sadly this book didn’t live up to my expectations. My daughter liked it but wondered when Pete was going to sing. He doesn’t. There are no catchy repetitive refrains which is what we love about Pete! My son pointed out the flaws in the history which thrilled me because they were distracting. The target audience is younger than my son so it may not even be an issue for you but seeing a pretty little house as the shelter the Pilgrims had for the first winter irked me. I realize that Pete is a cat who is in a play so realism isn’t expected but I’d be lying if I said I loved it. Pete is awfully cute as a pilgrim though.
10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston was a classroom favorite, it’s about as silly as a book gets and the kids had no clue they were actually learning about subtraction while listening to the crazy rhymes. This won’t explain the pilgrims , or talk about the Mayflower, but it will make your kids laugh! Very cute!
Two Bad Pilgrims by Kathryn Lasky is a fantastic book that some parents might not like but kids will love it and learn a lot in the process. It’s about two boys who really did sail abroad the Mayflower and whose behavior really was bad. There is a ton of not usually shared information about Pilgrims in this book and as someone who studied colonial history I am in LOVE with this book. The format is a mix of non fiction and comic strip like narrative. I would read it to kids 5 and older although younger children might like just the narrative. There is a ton of info in this book and it would be a wonderful tool to talk about how history books don’t always tell the whole story.
Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes delighted my whole family. I read it at dinner and all four of us thought the book was spot on. It’s not a story so much as a glimpse at all the things kids in a average family have to be thankful about. The illustrations by Doris Barrette are stunning. I want to frame them. I think this book does a great job at teaching children what they have to be thankful for and how everyday things can be something to be thankful for. Kids will relate so well to this book and because of that the message comes across loud and clear. My son loved that there is space on the last page to write what he is thankful for. Great find.
This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed is a stunning gem of a book. I can’t believe I haven’t read it before, normally great books like this go through teaching circles like wildfire. The book has so many layers it will keep toddlers and preschoolers alike busy and engaged. The text explains the first Thanksgiving while counting 1-10 in rhyming poetry and the illustrations by Mark Buehner have hidden treasures, see if you can find them! After I return this to the library, I will be buying it for sure!
Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey was such a treat to read. It’s a reworking of the classic Christmas poem, with a Thanksgiving twist. A bus full of kids head off to the turkey farm the day before Thanksgiving and are immediately enamored with the birds. When a child asks the farmer what the axe by the door is for… well let’s just say the truth is told and the kids fall apart. They don’t stay down for long though, the kids outsmart the farmer and their teacher to save the turkeys from the axe. Somehow the author finds a way to make the possible slaughter of these happy friendly, named turkey’s funny. My son was giggling while I was kinda nervous that they’d get the axe! Great rhymes throughout this hilarious book!
You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie by Amy E. Sklansky is a cozy book that will have you craving a pumpkin spice latte for sure. It’s simple rhyming text is a good length for toddlers but older preschoolers will enjoy it as well. The books shows babies and their parent(s) in all different fall settings from the pumpkin patch to snuggling by the fire and of course eating pumpkin pie. The illustrations by Talitha Shipman are perfect and showcase a diverse set of families. Lovely book but don’t think I was joking you will be aching for a fall treat after reading it.
Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ by Eileen Spinelli is a really cute story that offers many opportunities for parents to talk about lying, disappointment and what really matters at Thanksgiving. The Tappleton’s Thanksgiving dinner is doomed, first the turkey falls in the pond, then there are no pies left at the bakery and then continues to get worse. No one wants to be the person to ruin the holiday dinner and keeps it a secret that the part of the meal that was their responsibility is ruined. Of course this means they end up eating liverwurst and pickles for dinner but Grandma saves Thanksgiving by reminding them all that it doesn’t matter what they are eating but who they are eating with.
Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation (Time-Traveling Twins) by Diane Stanley . I can’t say enough good things about this book, but I will try. The story starts with a time traveling grandmother who takes her grand kids back to the Plymouth plantation days before what is often called the 1st Thanksgiving. My son was hooked on this book with the revelation of the time traveling and I loved that it put all the common myths surrounding Thanksgiving and the pilgrims to the forefront and included the true history without wrecking any cherished views of this beloved holiday. The book is long as it should be in order to go into the depth of what life was like for the Pilgrims and how they learned with help of the local Native Americans how to survive in this new land. While reading it to my son I was so happy to hear him say ” I learned that today , that’s in my book!” to many of the text. I am buying this book tonight, and returning it to the library in hope of many other families being able to read and love it as much as we did.
Thanksgiving Treat by Catherine Stock is a really heart warming book that will take you back to family gatherings of your childhood. The story follows the Thanksgiving day preparations of an extended family and one little boy who just wants to help. He goes from one job to the next where he is always told he is too little, or it’s too dangerous for him to do, and he should go somewhere else. Finally his Grandpa steps in with a very important job and the sad little boy is given new hope to be helpful. I remember being too little, and I know that from time to time my son is told he is too little too, this book is a kind reminder of finding ways to make even our littlest family members feel important and included. My son really liked it as well, while reading it today he stopped me and listed some of the things he is still too little to do, and the things that he has recently been able to do independently. Great book to sit down and talk about with your child.
T is for Turkey: A True Thanksgiving Storyby Tanya Lee Stone is a cute alphabet book with simple but accurate facts about Thanksgiving. I love that there is such a push for telling kids about what really happened and not just the closely held myths. The reader follows a long with a class play that covers all the important parts of the first Thanksgiving from the Mayflower landing on. This is a great introduction for young preschoolers. The illustrations are fun and rich so there is more than just the limited text to explore.
Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland is book that explains what Thanksgiving is, and gives lots of examples of things to be thankful for. I like this book although I could go without the page where the narrator is thankful for lollipops, all the other things are wonderful like a teacher’s encouragement, grandma’s hugs, and sunny days and to me the lollipops sorta fall flat. Easily skipped over if you are not keen on it but the book as a whole is valuable teaching tool about thanksgiving. * Edited 2012 Both my kids love this book and I have no clue why I was so uptight about the lollipops reference?! I have chilled out as a mom I guess. Both my kids list what we think of as little things like lollipops on their things to be thankful for and that’s great . As a parent I just want them to be appreciative of things even if lollipops are lumped in with bedtime snuggles and family time.
Fairy tales are all the range for adults right now. Have you seen all the TV versions? Well fractured fairy tales are so much more than hip. They are great teaching tools about point of view, characterization, and of course alternate endings. They are also just really fun to read. This list like all of our book lists include affiliate links.
The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herb Auch is really a cute re telling of the classic Princess and the Pea. They have modernized it and made it a little more feminist in the process, exactly my kind of book. The text is a little long for toddlers but my son sat through about half before wanting to go back and look at the illustration of the horse on the first page. The message is sweet, saying that a woman doesn’t need a man or marriage to attain her goals! Beware though it will make you crave pizza.
Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox by Erin Dealy isn’t so much a fractured tale as it is a tale with very familiar characters. Goldilocks has chicken pox and throughout the rhyming text other characters like Little Red Riding Hood, Little Bo Peep and Henny Penny pop up. The story itself is more about how her little brother doesn’t think it’s at all fair that she gets so much attention and things like ice cream because she is sick. As most of us had chicken pox as kids we will relate all too well to this book, I am not so sure our kids will have the same personal connection. The illustrations by Hanako Wakiyama are fab!
Little Red Riding Hood – A Newfangled Prairie Tale by Lisa Campbell Ernst is a cute twist on the familiar Little Red Riding Hood. In this version Granny is the type of Grandma I hope to be someday. Independent, brave, and compassionate. She doesn’t need to be saved, because she does the saving. The wolf underestimates Granny and in general is portrayed as simply misunderstood and in need of discipline . In the end works for Granny and reminds Red not to talk to strangers.
The Three Little Fish And The Big Bad Sharkby Ken Geist is a underwater version of The Three Little Pigs with fish and a mean old shark. If you remember in the original the first two pigs are eaten and the third tricks the wolf into being cooked. No fish are eaten and the shark doesn’t die either. Their seaweed and sandcastle houses do get demolished but in the end all three fish make it through and the shark’s teeth all fall out leaving him unable to chomp the little fish.
The Three Little Tamalesby Eric A. Kimmel is another Three Little Pig redo with a Tex- Mex flavor. In this story there is a wolf but no pigs, instead you get tamales. I loved that the third house was made our of a cactus and that after surviving the wolf the three tamales partied with runaway tortillas. The novelty of the new characters will bring this old tale back to life for your kids as well as make you seriously crave good Tex-Mex.
Cinderella’s Rat by Susan Meddaugh isn’t a retelling of Cinderella so much as a little side story readers probably have never heard before, I know I hadn’t. A pair of rats are caught by Cinderella’s fairy godmother and one is turned into a footman for her coach. The other remains a rat but after dropping Cinderella off at the ball they both go in search of a wizard to turn her into a girl. There are a few bumps a long the way that will have your kids giggling for sure but they succeed. Of course we all know that the fairy god mother’s spell only lasts until midnight…too bad the rats didn’t. See how it all ends for yourself. I like this book and it’s a great intro into writing projects about minor characters and their untold narratives.
Santa Claus and the Three Bears by Maria Modugno is a holiday version of Goldilocks and The Three Bears with Santa standing in for Goldilocks and a family of polar bears instead of grizzlies. I really liked this book. It doesn’t stray too far from the original other than the character substitutions but the changes are delightful as are the illustrations. This book will have you and your children reaching for hot cocoa and candy canes!
The Three Horrid Little Pigsby Liz Pichon was a great read! No big bad wolf , just a bunch of rude horrid little pigs! Unlike in the traditional telling of this story no one gets eaten in this book. The wolf is a friendly builder and even the lazy pigs learn their lesson. The illustrations are bright, fun and my three year old loved them.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka is one of my favorite fractured fairy tales. In this book readers get to hear the wolf’s side of the story. He wasn’t trying to hurt any pigs , it was all a series of accidents and you can’t let meat go to waste so eating the pigs was just practical! I love the humor of this book but what I love even more is how it makes children consider different points of view.
Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra is a story about forgiveness and restitution. In this book B.B. Wolf is asked to tell his side of things at the library many years after the fact. His story isn’t exactly true and other library guests including the three little pigs heckle him until he admits his guilt and asks for forgiveness. It’s a really cute book with some wonderful vocabulary words and great illustrations.
The Giant and the Beanstalk by Diane Stanley is about the giant in Jack and The Beanstalk and how he isn’t like all the other giants at all. This giant is kind and gentle and doesn’t do very well in giant school because he is anything but fierce. When he chases Jack down the beanstalk it isn’t to harm him but rather to get his hen back because he loves her not her golden eggs. On his quest to find Jack and get his hen back he meets many other Jacks from traditional nursery rhymes a long the way. I never realized how many Jacks there are in nursery rhymes until read this book . This is a great story about not judging a book by it’s cover.
Falling For Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox is snort worthy. Yes this book is so funny the kids will be laughing hysterically and learning all about rhyming at the same time. Rapunzel is having a hard time hearing exactly what Prince Charming is asking her to throw down from her tower and hilarity ensues. Kids will love anticipating what she will throw down next. I won’t ruin the ending but trust me it’s hilarious and kids familiar with the traditional version will love telling you how this one is different. The illustrations by Lydia Monks add to the humor perfectly!
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willemsby Mo Willems is a funny prehistoric spin on the classic Goldilocks and The Three Bears. There are so many funny details in this book that it’s as much for the adults reading it to their children as it is for the kids. The humor is mostly dry but plentiful and the story itself is engaging as all Willems stories are. If you aren’t familiar with this author you need to grab this and a handful of his other titles from the library asap.
The Three Pigs by David Wiesner is the most creative of all these fantastic books. In this book the three little pigs escape the wolf by escaping the story itself and being blown right off the page. They test out other pages and pick up a dragon and cat ( complete with fiddle) but ultimately want to return home. Together they face and beat the wolf and settle into the brick home of the third pig together with the dragon and cat. The illustrations will delight you. The perspective and imagination in this book is stunning and well worth many many readings.