Children’s Books for the Holiday Season

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Ashlie Swicker


Ashlie (she/her) is an educator, librarian, and writer. She is committed to diversifying the reading lives of her students and supporting fat acceptance as it intersects with other women’s issues. She's also perpetually striving to learn more about how she can use her many privileges to support marginalized groups. Interests include learning how to roller skate with her local roller derby team, buying more books than she'll ever read, hiking with her husband and sons, and making lists to avoid real work. You can find her on Instagram (@ashlieelizabeth), Twitter (@mygirlsimple) or at her website,

It’s December and I’m having a battle with myself; I don’t know how to swing this season. I could be strictly focused on commercialism and have a ball buying presents. I could default to the religious traditions of my youth and go through the motions without a lot of thought. I could skip it all and just focus on hanging with my family. I truly support all of these options. But this is the first year my kids get what Santa is, and they are super into the man with the bag. I’m just not okay with the creepy guy who watches you sleep and sneaks into your house at night to lay down naughty/nice judgements being the only holiday tradition my kids know. So it’s time to do some research. It’s time to find some books.

When searching out these titles, I tried to find evidence in blurbs and reviews that these books are accurate representation for the different holidays they introduce. I think it was the board book about Jesus’s birth that portrayed Mary as white and blonde with a terrier puppy on the scene (for cuteness?) that really pushed me over the edge. It took me 25 years to unlearn the whitewashing of my conservative Christian upbringing, and if I’m going to tell my kids anything, it’s going to be as factual as I can manage.


The Star of Melvin by Nathan Zimelman and Olivier Dunrea

There Was No Snow On Christmas Eve by Pam Munoz Ryan and Dennis Nolan

The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats


lailahs-lunchboxRamadan– This holiday is based on the Islamic calendar and can fall in December.

Under the Ramadan Moon by Sylvia Whitman and Sue Williams

Lailah’s Lunchbox by Reem Faruqi and Lea Lyon


Winter Solsticethe-tomten

The Shortest Day by Wendy Pfeffer and Jesse Reisch

The Return of the Light by Carolyn McVickar Edwards

The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren



Light the Menorah by Jannie Ho

Latke, the Lucky Dog by Ellen Fischer and Tiphanie Beeke

Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel and Trisha Schart Hyman



amma-tell-me-about-diwaliDiwali– This holiday happens on varying dates in October or November.

Amma, Tell Me About Diwali! By Bhkati Mathur

The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta

Let’s Celebrate Diwali by Anjali Joshi and Tim Palin

12-days-of-christmas-rachel-isadoraNon-Religious Celebrations

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

12 Days of Christmas by Rachel Isadora

The Christmas Boot by Lisa Wheeler and Jerry Pinkney

The Nutcracker by Niroot Puttapipat

This only scratches the surface of the great stories available, I’m sure, so please let me know what you read this time of year. I’m all ears for recommendations to grow my family’s library. However you celebrate, I hope your end your year well.