I started collecting Christmas books when I was in high school. I have a pretty good sized collection which includes about seven editions of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and at least 20 versions of Clement C. Moore’s Night Before Christmas. I won’t bore you with a list of all the books in my collection but I will share some of my favorites.
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote and illustrated by Beth Peck. “It’s fruitcake time,” says Miss Sook. She and Buddy gather nuts, count their pennies to purchase dried fruit and spices and plan who will receive one of the 30 fruitcakes they lovingly bake. President Roosevelt will, the driver of the 6 o’clook bus from Mobile will, and so will HaHa Jones, the man who sells them the whisky to soak the cakes! Buddy and Miss Sook also decorate their house and make presents for the rest of the family and dream about a wonderful Christmas. Capote is such a wonderful writer and the watercolor illustrations in this edition are just beautiful.
Christmas on Jane Street by Billy Romp. This is the true story of the Romp family. They are Christmas tree farmers in Vermont and spend the month before Christmas living in a small trailer in on the corner of Jane Street and 8th Avenue in New York City while they sell their trees. They arrive in New York on the day after Thanksgiving and get home just in time for Christmas morning. I love the descriptions of New York City at Christmas and the changing relationship between the father and his daughter. This one is warm and fuzzy and brings back memories of ice skating at Rockefeller Center and the omnipresent aroma of roasting chestnuts.
The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden and Illustrated by Barbara Cooney. Ivy, Holly, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones all have one Christmas wish. Ivy, an orphan, wishes for a real home and sets out in search of the grandmother she's sure she can find. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child to bring her to life. And the Joneses wish more than anything for a son or daughter to share their holiday. Can all three wishes come true? A sympathetic boy and a mischievous toy owl make this a terrific story. The illustrations are lovely.
The Cajun Night Before Christmas by “Trosclair” and illustrated by James Rice. Santa comes down the bayou on a pirogue pulled by eight tiny ‘gators! Let the good times roll!
Wombat Divine by Mem Fox and illustrated by Kerry Argent. Wombat loves everything about Christmas especially the Nativity Play. He’s finally old enough for a part, but which part will be just right?
Here are some other Christmas books to try.
For children and their grown ups:
A Pint of Judgment Elizabeth Morrow
Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs
The Bird’s Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggins
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Barbara Cooney
The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Huston
Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon
A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas
For grown ups:
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon
Christmas at Eagle Pond by Donald Hall
These are just some of my favorites – what are some of yours? You can get all these books and many, many more at the Kirtland Public Library…Check it out!