My kids are no longer toddlers, and while I still read to them as much as possible, we are past the years of nonstop books. Still, every year around this time I unpack the holiday books and rejoice. Our family celebrates Christmas, and for us, Christmas is a time for reading. I’ve assembled this list of the best Christmas books for toddlers, along with some books for other winter holidays, for any families who are still at the tiny tot phase.
Most of these are board books, so you can read and reread with less fear of your little one ripping the book to shreds. (My kids did manage to destroy a couple, but they’re easily replaced.)
Christmas books for toddlers
THE NUTCRACKER by Patrick Regan, illustrated by Natasha Kuricheva
For me, this is THE classic Christmas story. YMMV. These beautiful illustrations would have drawn me in as a child, and I love that the text is straightforward, yet detailed enough to hold an older child’s attention.
Mouse’s First Christmas by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Buket Erdogan
We tracked this down for my son a few years ago, because his favorite board book was Mouse’s First Halloween. The entire series is adorable.
Merry Christmas, Mouse by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
This one’s an entirely different mouse, of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie fame! This is a cute Christmas story that doubles as a counting book.
Spot’s Christmas by Eric Hill
Both of my kids loved Spot books more than pretty much any other books. I can’t explain it, but Spot was the best in their eyes. We never had this one and I am a wee bit sad about that!
12 Days of Christmas by Roger Priddy
Your toddler will stay busy playing with the accordion-style book, and your lungs will get a workout singing the song!
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Dana Regan
This is a great take on the classic poem “A Visit From Saint Nick,” with charming illustrations. It’s a classic for a reason!
Hanukkah books for toddlers
My First Menorah by Salina Yoon
Printed on sparkly foil paper, this book is sure to enchant children, while showing them the eight days of Hanukkah.
Happy Hanukkah, Curious George by H.A. Rey and Margaret Rey
Toddlers can’t resist that rascally monkey and neither can I!
Elmo’s Little Dreidel by Naomi Kleinberg, illustrated by Christopher Moroney
Sesame Street has been vital for showing children that the world is bigger than just their corner of it, and this is the perfect book for non-Jewish children and Jewish children alike.
Kwanzaa books for toddlers
K is for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford, illustrated by Ken Wilson-max
This beautifully illustrated book goes through the alphabet, using Swahili and English words to tell the story of Kwanzaa.
Together for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford, illustrated by Shelley Heheberger
This story, for slightly older children (preschool through perhaps second grade), is about family, traditions, and getting home for Kwanzaa.
More holiday books
My fellow Book Rioters have great suggestions for more books, many of them for older children. Check it out!