Over 30 Christmas Picture Books

O star of wonder, star of light,

Star with royal beauty bright,

Westward leading, still proceeding,

Guide us to thy perfect light.

— “We Three Kings”, John H. Hopkins Jr., 1857

Here in England, the evenings are ever darker, the warm glow of Christmas lights are emerging in the windows along our street, and the question I keep getting is, “what are you doing for Christmas this year?”. For families with young children, it is a busy month ahead, but in the midst of the preparations and plans, we need to take time to stop and pick up a book or two. I need this encouragement just as much as the next person. Reading stories makes us slow down and points us to bigger truths outside of the now.

Whether you’re a teacher desperately trying to get the children to learn their nativity lines, a homeschool parent who finds the winter days hard going, or a grandparent planning a visit in the holidays, we all need this moment of connection. 

With Advent beginning this week, perhaps visit the library and borrow some Christmas themed books, or stock up on a few as Christmas presents. A few years ago I began collecting Christmas stories – short picture books – to share with the children. This weekend I dug them out of the attic, so I thought I’d share some of them here – a mixture of old and new classics.

For those of you with older children, I will posting Christmas chapter books ideas in due course. Watch this space.

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Over 10 Books for Boys 11+

“Books crowbar the world open for you.”

Rooftoppers, Katherine Rundell

As our children and teens grow up, their values and vision are forever being moulded. Reading, as we all know, plays such an integral part in their lives, “crowbarring the world open” to them. But with 1000s of books to choose from, and our busy lives pulling us in every direction, it’s more important than ever that we take some time to keep our youngsters reading. It might be a trip with them to a library or bookshop, browsing the bookshelves at home, encouraging them along to their school library, or buying them a book for Christmas. Continue reading

Starting Out as an Independent Reader 6+

Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, or a duty. It should be offered as a gift.

— Kate DiCamillo

I couldn’t agree more with Kate DiCamillo. So let’s get offering.

These early years of independent reading are laying down foundations for our children.  For a child to be immersed in a story and taken off to a faraway land will come naturally and be easy for some children, but many will need a helping hand or two. Continue reading

Over 20 Books for 9-12yr olds

“It is through the power and music and magic of stories and poems that children can expand their own intellectual curiosity, develop the empathy and awareness that they will need to tackle the complexities of their own emotions, of the human condition in which they find themselves.”

— Michael Morpurgo

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Getting in the Picture

“To really instil a love of art, children need to be encouraged to have a go and be creative themselves.”

— James Mayhew

In the last three blogposts I have shown how James Mayhew brings life to museums in Katie’s Picture Show, and now in this final post I want to explore how he brings life to the artwork itself.

Katie frame 1

Mayhew’s story begins in the Classical world. Continue reading

‘Katie’s Picture Show’: Museums are Gateways to Adventure

“A visit to a museum is a search for beauty, truth, and meaning in our lives. Go to museums as often as you can.”
— Maira Kalman

One of the most inspiring features of James Mayhew’s Katie series is the way in which museums and art galleries become playgrounds for adventure. Continue reading

‘Katie Picture’s Show’: The Ultimate Children’s Museum Guide

MUSEUM GUIDE

Characters in storybooks can be many things – heroes, villains, friends, and mentors. But they can also serve as a guide – not only through a story, but in a story as they help us explore different aspects of life beyond our experience. James Mayhew’s Katie is just this, ushering us simultaneously through Katie’s Picture Show (2014) and Continue reading

Over 10 More Children’s Books 9+

I opened a book and in I strode
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.

I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion. Continue reading