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 its 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 an 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 boys 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 are 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 the 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’ 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 to 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 by 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 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?