Christmas is Coming 2021

…the most startling thing about this wonderful tree was that hundreds of tapers glittered like stars in its dark branches, and the tree itself, shining with an inner light, invited the children to pick its blossoms and fruits.

The Nutcracker, E.T.A. Hoffman

With only a few days until Advent I’m beginning to dig out all our Christmas books to enjoy over the next few weeks. Some are a selection of classic picture books that I will try and find a quiet moment to enjoy with whichever child will join me. Others are longer chapter books which the older two children (aged 12 and 10) will enjoy reading independently. I’m planning to read aloud two retellings of the Christmas story:

1)Katy Morgan’s The Promise and the Light to all three children in the evenings.

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2)Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Jesse Tree to my 6 year old.

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There is an enormous selection of Christmas literature for children out there – old and new, classic and modern. It can be a little overwhelming. Perhaps these lists will help you navigate the choices:

Over 25 Christmas Picture Books

Over 25 Christmas Chapter Books

Classic Christmas Stories and Poems

Christmas Audiobooks

The Nutcracker Extravaganza

Authors are drawn to this time of year and the bookshops are filled with new titles fresh off the press every year. I couldn’t resist reserving some of this year’s and last year’s titles from the library ready for my children to enjoy. Have a scroll of what I’ve picked up.


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Happy reading and have a wonderful Advent.

More Recommended Posts:

Over 25 Christmas Picture Books

Over 25 Christmas Chapter Books

20 Family Read Alouds

Children’s Book Recommendations

Books 0-5 years old

 

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

Christmas is Coming

…the most startling thing about this wonderful tree was that hundreds of tapers glittered like stars in its dark branches, and the tree itself, shining with an inner light, invited the children to pick its blossoms and fruits.

The Nutcracker, E.T.A. Hoffman

In the midst of the chaos of 2020 and all that it has brought us, Christmas is still coming. There is true light in the darkness. What joy! So let’s get preparing….

Continue reading

Oxford Stories

Excerpt from “Oxford” by Tom Lovatt-Williams

I see the coloured lilacs flame
In many an ancient Oxford lane
And bright laburnum holds its bloom
Suspended golden in the noon,
The placid lawns I often tread
Are stained and carpeted with red…

These lines from Lovatt-Williams’ poem ‘Oxford’ capture perfectly the beauty of this city over the last few weeks.  Lockdown has definitely made me far more appreciative of the  way nature is changing around us here in Oxford as we take our ‘daily exercise’. Continue reading

Tudor Books 8+

It’s all about the Tudors this term in our house.  There’s nothing like well-written historical fiction to bring history alive for young ones, alongside visiting museums and relevant places of interest. Continue reading

Easter Books and More

With Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday upon us, I’ve updated my book list. Perhaps you are looking for ideas for your family or as gifts for godchildren or grandchildren, you can browse my list here, Continue reading

Maths through Stories and Games

The mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s or the poet’s must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colours or the words must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.

— G.H. Hardy

In a world that thinks of education through a post-Enlightenment lens, we need to hear Hardy’s words more than ever.  Maths is beautiful. Continue reading