Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Baker's Dozen

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

I have shelves of Christmas books! I know it's a strange obsession, but I scour half-price books and the after-Christmas sales each year in search of books to add to my collection.  For today's post, I wanted to share my top ten favorites, then I decided it would have to be my top twelve, and finally settled on a baker's dozen (since I also delight in baking during this season).  A favorite memory of this season was sitting with a friend,  looking at her basket of Christmas books, and discovering books that were new to me.  I hope that you too might find a Christmas book new for you from my baker's dozen of favorite picture books.  

Christmas in the Stable - Poems selected and illustrated by Beverly K. Duncan

I love Jane Yolen's poem "The First Morning" about the rooster who decides he must sing a gentle tune when 
"...He sees the babe on Mary's knee-
And now must wake Eternity."

Ruby, the Christmas Donkey by Mirabel Cecil and illustrated by Christina Gascoigne

When you read this with a child, you'll linger over the picture of the animals clustered around the window watching the Nativity play.

The Snow Speaks by Nancy White Carlstrom and illustrated by Jane Dyer

Beautiful poetic language and exquisite illustrations fill me with longing for just one snow day this year!

A Christmas Like Helen's by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock and illustrated by Mary Azarian

I purchased this one because I love Mary Azarian's woodcuts.  It's a wonderful depiction of Christmas long ago and a perfect book to pair with All the Places to Love.  

Little One, We Knew You'd Come by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jackie Morris

A perfect gift for any new mother, this book celebrates the birth of the Christ child and indeed, the birth of all children.  The illustrations will take your breath away!

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote and illustrated by Beth Peck

This classic short story celebrates the enduring friendship between Buddy and an elderly cousin with the words, "We are each other's best friend."

The First Christmas by Tomie de Paola

This pop-up book autographed by the author in 1991 is the book we always shared with our young children to tell the story of the first Christmas.  My son loved the arrow which pointed the innkeeper's finger to the stable and my daughter loved the small star which became large and filled the night sky for the three kings.

Christmas Tree Memories by Aliki

With the words "Each brought back a memory...", the reader is transported to the "...good beautiful memories..." behind each ornament hung on the tree.  

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Barbara Cooney

My copy, purchased at a Houston library book sale for $1 is priceless.  Don't miss this story of "... the Christmas of the heavenly angel and the perfect balsam Christmas tree..."

I'll Be Home for Christmas by Holly Hobbie

With these words, "...'Climb aboard,' the driver said.  'I know the way'..."  Toot makes it home in time to spend Christmas Eve with Puddle.  

My Prairie Christmas by Brett Harvey and illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray

A new discovery from last December's used library book sale, this book celebrates a family's first prairie Christmas.  

B is for Bethlehem by Isabel Wilmer and illustrated by Elisa Kleven

I recently purchased a board book version (in anticipation of future grandchildren) of this favorite alphabet book illuminated with Kleven's exquisite illustrations.

The Story of Christmas words from the gospels of Matthew and Luke, pictures by Jane Ray

Jane Ray's luminous illustrations paired with the immortal words from the King James version make this the perfect book for sharing the glorious story of this season.  

For years I've longed to invite friends over for cookies and milk, with a favorite Christmas story in hand.  This may be the year that I finally do that!


  1. I will have to look for "The Story of Christmas" by Jane Ray. Sounds wonderful! For years I collected different illustrators' versions of "The Night Before Christmas" and put them out as decorations and read one of those books to my children each night leading up to Christmas. Now I wish I had started a collection of "The Story of Christmas"...not too late to start!

  2. "This is the Star" by Joyce Dunbar, with paintings by Gary Blythe.

    I love the milk and cookies with stories idea...I will have to think about extending the invitation, too...

  3. I love that Capote story, but I think that's the only one I've read! I'm a fan of Sally Lloyd Jones, so that may be where I go next. I have a new nephew coming around the holidays--you just helped me set my Christmas list! Thanks!