Holiday Book Reviews

‘Tis the season for reading! The holiday break is a great opportunity for kids to kick back and relax. What better way to relax than by curling up with a good book every night! Our volunteers shared some of their top children’s book recommendations for kids 3-8 years old.

Olaf’s Night Before Christmas by Jessica Julius 

Olaf's Night Before Christmas book

Review by Tammi 

Great for Frozen fans young and old, this joyful book puts a spin on a classic The Night before Christmas from Olaf’s perspective. Besides the adorable graphics, each phrase has a good rhyming rhythm, making it great for warm, cozy bedtime stories! You can get it in the board book form for younger kids, or the smaller soft copy comes with a CD with narration by Olaf. Olaf is as sweet as ever, thinking about all his friends Elsa, Anna, and Sven are puzzled at first and then delighted to see Santa delivering gifts for them!

After reading this story, kids can do some of these activities! Miming/acting out the poem, star-gazing and looking for constellations that look like Santa or Frozen characters, and of course building a snowman if the weather permits.

Sam’s Christmas Present by Annie Besant

Sam's Christmas Present

Review by Kaycee

This is a sweet story about a boy named Sam who really can’t wait for his Christmas present! When his parents tell him his gift is hidden, Sam makes a plan. “I know what to do, and I will go gift hunting!” Does Sam find his present? What will he do once he finds it? You will have to read the story to find out!


Cozy by Jan Brett 


Review by Tammi 

If you’d prefer a less conventional educational holiday book that also teaches kids about Alaska wildlife and winter, Cozy is a beautiful book that also teaches kids about compassion and empathy. It is especially relevant for this challenging year and learning how to cope with it. It is a story about a fluffy Musk Ox named Cozy who gets separated from his herd in a harsh winter. Gradually more and more animals show up and request to take shelter under his thick fur to wait out the storm. Cozy agrees, but each time has house rules to keep the motley crew in check. For example, he asks the wolverine and hare to use “quiet voices” and “keep claws to yourself” not to disturb the lemmings. Eventually, Cozy is reunited with his herd in spring and is glad to have made all his new friends he’ll see again when the next winter returns.

Some recommended follow up activities include exploring videos online together about winter animals. Another thing to do together would be to paint a beautiful wintery scene with northern lights.

What Do You Celebrate? Holidays and Festivals Around the World by Whitney Stewart

What do you celebrate?

Review by Tammi

To learn about other cultures and encourage a broader worldview this festive season, What Do You Celebrate? is an excellent book to find out what other holidays are celebrated worldwide. It starts with an introduction to what a holiday is and is followed by a timeline of which time of the year each featured holiday is celebrated. It covers 14 holidays from five continents, with holidays like Fastelavn in Denmark, Chinese New Year in China, Guy Fawkes Day in England, Dangpai Losar in Bhutan, and more. Children here will also probably be familiar with the 4th of July here in the USA.

Each festival page gives a background introduction to the festival with cheery pictures and a suggested activity like baking a hamantash cookie treat for the Jewish holiday of Purim or making a drum out of paper plates for Chinese New Year. Note children should be supervised when doing the activities as some involve crafts projects with scissors or cooking/baking projects. In general, this book is a great tool to develop intercultural understanding and celebrate diversity at a young age.

Don’t forget you can access digital books anytime through BookSpring’s Weekly Themes! CLICK HERE

Holiday Book Reviews
What do you celebrate?
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