I know a lot of parents like to read books to their kids … especially at Christmas. (I have heard of families wrapping a different book for each night of the season. The kids then open one of the books before bedtime and the new book becomes a bedtime story. But that takes money … and effort to find the books that convey the message you want conveyed.)
So on this blizzard night, with the wind howling and icy snow blowing against my window, I have curled up with several kid Christmas books to find a few to recommend.
Here are my top three.
The Very First Christmas, Paul L. Maier, illustrated by Francisco Ordaz (The Amazon reviewers point out that Mr. Maier also wrote an adult book called The First Christmas and it’s easy to get them confused when ordering, so beware!)
This first one I have used in past years with Sparks. To me, you don’t get much better than this. The story of a mom reading her son Luke 2. The text includes actual Scripture and explains things such A.D. and B. C.. , the Greek word and meaning for carpenter, etc. The book does not fictionalize any part of the account. (Example, the mother tells the son that the Bible doesn’t say Christ was born in a stable, but in a manger and that manger might’ve been in a cave.)
The book is probably too detailed for kids under seven or eight to read on their own, but can still be used with younger children with a parent’s guidance. One reviewer said that even his 16 year old liked it. (You could also use it as an ongoing book to read during the Christmas season – by reading and discussing a few pages each day.)
Great choice. I highly recommend it.
The Littlest Watchman, Scott James, illustrated by Geraldine Rodrigquez
This is a different type of book. The little boy is obviously not a real person, but the story has his father telling him to watch a stump. Which he does inspite of others laughing at him. There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. (Isaiah 11:1) He waits for the shoot, the King to come to save the world.
The last page explains (with Scripture) what this book is picturing. Again I would suggest that a parent/teacher reads with the child to explain anything he doesn’t understand.
Perfect Christmas, Gary Bower, illustrated by Jan Bower
And still another different type of book. This is about a contemporary family who is doing all the usual Christmas things to have a Perfect Christmas. But things happen, the cat gets in the tree, the boy burns his mouth on the hot chocolate, the mail brings bills instead of cheery Christmas cards. But through it all, the boy understands that it is the perfect Christmas, because even though nothing is truly perfect, he has a loving family and knows a loving God who sent His Son to earth. Every page brings the reader back to God’s love and grace.
Easy for a child to read by herself and I also think a child would understand without too much guidance.
The illustrations (done by the author’s wife) are beautiful.
I hope these three books get you off to a good start with your bedtime reading this Christmas! Let me know if you read (or have read any of them) and what you and your kids think about them.