Advent Picks

by Lori Ann


Baba and I were married during Advent four years ago, and we’ve always loved the season of preparation and expectation before Christmas. The excitement builds each week as we bake cookies (year’s first batch is in the oven right now), play music, burn cinnamon and vanilla-scented candles, set up the nativity scene (just a few pieces per week!), and read Bible stories each night. This year, our first Christmas as a family of three, we’re adding a new tradition: Advent bedtime stories!

I asked a bunch of other Mamas for their favorite books to prepare their families for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Some are about Christmas specifically, some about winter in general. All are family favorites that we’re adding to our library one year at a time.

  1. The Christmas Star – board book by Marcus Pfister, using his same foil art technique from Rainbow Fish
  2. The Snowy Day – beautiful artwork & story, winner of the Caldecott Medal winner in 1963
  3. The Tailor of Gloucester – what book list would be complete without a relevant read by Beatrix Potter?
  4. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey – a beautiful tale for ages 4-9
  5. Silver Packages – an Appalachian folk story
  6. A Certain Small Shepherd – a cute story about a mute boy who experiences a miracle one Christmas day
  7. One Wintry Night – Ruth Graham’s storytelling of the Nativity story and many other Bible stories
  8. The Tale of Three Trees – I’ve loved this book ever since our campus minister read it at a Christmas party. I now have the Chinese/English version!
  9. The Very First Christmas – great for older kids, ages 8-10 or so
  10. Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent – one chapter for each day in Advent, leading up to the story of the Nativity!

What Christmas-time books are your favorites?

You can read my other picks — on topics from pregnancy to homeschooling to Chinese history — at our new “Mama Picks” page, always available under the “Gear” link at the top of every page.



Filed under Family, shopping, traditions

2 responses to “Advent Picks

  1. whitney

    Tomie dePaola is my favorite children’s author. It’s more about Epiphany than Advent, but he’s got a great book called The Legend of Old Befana. It’s an Italian Christmas story about la Befana, an old woman who delivers sweets and toys to children on Epiphany (this is who Italian children get their stockings from…not Santa!). There are different ways the story goes, but in dePaola’s book Befana is an old lady in southern Italy who loves to sweep her porch. One day, a procession travels through her village on their way to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus. A boy in the procession asks Befana to join them, but she says she’s too busy. Later, she thinks about the baby Jesus and decides that she does want to see him. So she spends all day baking sweets for the baby, but by the time she’s ready to go, she can’t find the procession anymore. She runs after them, and eventually runs so fast she’s flying through the air on her broom. She never finds the procession, but she leaves some sweets at every house where children live, just in case one of them is Jesus.

    • How fun, Whitney! Thanks for sharing about the Befana story. I love stories from different countries & cultures. I’m not surprised you love Tomie dePaola… I bought a collection of his stories for Hope for Christmas 🙂

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