Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Old and New, Tales for the Season

My family has always read books around Christmas time, it's been one of those times of year where one of the ways we celebrate and prepare for Christmas during Advent has been to read stories, lots of them.  We've been continuing the tradition with my little brother, so over the last few years I've gotten a chance to discover new books that we've added to our Advent reading tradition.

So here we go, my virtual basket of Advent and Christmas books!  I decided not to put them in any particular order, just divided up between picture books and the slightly longer "chapter books" (although many of these have pictures too :) )

Picture Books:

Chapter books:

And Jim Dale's audio book of A Christmas Carol is AMAZING:

Also, there are two books that we read a chapter from every single day during Advent starting on December 1st: 

In the morning, we work on our Jesse Tree, and we've been reading Geraldine McCaughrean's The Jesse Tree. And every evening when we light our Advent wreath part of our family time is reading Jostein Gaarder's The Christmas Mystery, and it is AMAZING!:

In The Jesse Tree, a grumpy old carpenter is trying to carve a Jesse tree out of wood inside of a church, but he keeps getting distracted by a young boy.  And in this distraction he finds himself getting swept up in storytelling, weaving stories that trace the family tree of Jesus, from the Garden of Eden to Christ's birth.  McCaughrean's retelling and Willey's illustrations bring fresh life to these tales and are the perfect companion to making your own Jesse tree!

Last year I discovered The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder, the author of Sophie's World.  We actually didn't get to finish it last year, but we're planning on it this year, and it's the most interesting book.  It serves as a sort of Advent calendar in book form, but in true Gaarder style, it is filled with mystery and interesting and unexpected turns and metafictional qualities.  A boy named Joachim, finds an old Advent calendar in a bookstore, but he soon finds out it's anything but ordinary.  Through the Advent calendar and the little pieces of paper that are behind each door, we become part of a mysterious story, one in which the characters are traveling across countries and back in time to the Birth of Christ.  There are just some simply beautiful passages too!

So, what books are you reading this Season?

Oh, also, I just found this and thought it was pretty amazing, a recording of Dylan Thomas himself reading his A Child's Christmas in Wales! :


  1. Wow - what a treasure trove of books! Fantastic. I didn't know there were so many! There are some that I am going to check out, particularly the Jesse Tree one. Thanks also for the link to the Dylan Thomas story/poem. Someone mentioned on my blog that this was their favourite Christmas piece but I was unfamiliar with it. It's a great reading.

    1. Thanks Sam! The Jesse Tree one is really wonderful, although I must admit Gaarder has me really wrapped up in his story, I'm dying to find out how he's going to tie everything up, but we can only read a chapter a night!

      It is a great reading isnt' it?? I love Trina Schart Hyman's illustrations for it, I think it's one of my favorites from her, it's just wonderful! Hope all is well :)

  2. FABulous. I can't wait to take you up on your recommendations.

    1. Thanks!! Hope you're able to enjoy some of them, they are well loved in our house :) You'll have to let me know which ones you like!

  3. Gorgeous list! I must look for the Jostein Gaarder. That sounds wonderful!

    1. Thanks so much! I definitely recommend The Christmas Mystery by Gaarder (and "Sophie's World" if you haven't read it, and he also has one called The Orange Girl, which is not as well know but which I loved!) See my comment above to Sam from Childtastic Books about Gaarder's Christmas Mystery, it's got me hooked :)