There are so many amazing books that use Christmas as a theme that you could read one a day and probably not run out in your lifetime. Christmas picture books make great gifts and they can be read all year round.
Now, we recognize that not all of your students will be celebrating Christmas (and we have lots of book lists for other holidays and celebrations-see the bottom), but for your students that do, we’ve collected a list of our favourite pictures books, graphic novels and novels that bring on the Christmas spirit.
Picture books are not just for preschoolers! Our students in in grades four and five and they love to be read to. Even more, they love picture books. We started a new tradition a few years ago that has stuck. We ask our students to bring in one of their all time favourite picture books and they get to read it to the class. Not all of the books are about Christmas, and that’s fine. Students get to practice reading in front of their peers with a book they love and know well. It is so much fun!
Christmas Picture Books For Any Age
Santa Claus and the Three Bears by Maria Modugno This story is based on the classic fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears but with a Christmas twist. It is a great opportunity to have students compare the original story to this new version looking for similarities and differences.
Pig the Elf by Aaron Blabey From the series Pig the Pug, this funny story follows Pig’s misadventures during Christmas. Great read aloud that all students will enjoy! It features the fantastic artwork synonymous with Aaron Blabey books.
Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol by Helaine Becker This Canadian version of the song Deck the Halls uses iconic Canadian animals such as the beaver, loons, polar bears, sled dogs doing Canadian winter activities. Sing along as you read this colourful book.
Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner & Mark Buehner This is the Christmas version of the well-loved book Snowmen at Night. This is a fantastical world where snowmen come to life. What kinds of adventures will they get up to when we are all sound asleep at night?
Miracle on 133rd Street by Sonia Manzano A family has to cook their roast at the local pizzeria and it ripples through their neighbourhood.
Finding Christmas by Robert Munsch Every year Julie finds the presents her parents are giving to her, but this year she hasn’t found any and is starting to wonder if there are no presents at all.
Baseball Bats for Christmas by Michael Kusugak This beautifully illustrated book captures life in the Arctic in the 1950’s when a plane lands in the remote community in Repulse Bay and the children use the unfamiliar trees as baseball bats.
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez This older book still captures the holiday spirit when Maria gets to make tamales for a holiday feast and then accidental loses her mother’s ring in the process.
The Christmas Orange by Don Gillmor This is a classic story that has now been turned into a animated film. Anton’s Christmas wish list is sixteen pages long so Santa leaves him an orange. What’s a boy to do?!
An Aboriginal Carol by David Bouchard This is a retelling of The Huron Carol with Métis poetry as well as artwork from Indigenous artist Moses Beaver. Most versions also come with a CD that includes a reading a a song by Inuit performer Susan Aglukark.
The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve This is a beautiful story of a little girl whose coat is too small and doesn’t keep her warm. Donations of winter clothing arrive at her reservation and she dreams of owning the fur coat, but then a classmate claims the coat for herself. It is a wonderful story about the true meaning of Christmas.
Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits When Yoon brings home a Christmas book from school her parents explain that they are Korean and don’t celebrate Christmas or Santa. Yoon decides she wants to prove they are a Christmas family and comes up with ideas of her own.
A World of Cookies for Santa by M.E. Furman and Susan Gal Eat your way around the world with treats from different countries. It even includes recipes that you can try with your class.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss It’s a classic so we had to include it on the list.
Christmas from Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber by Tom Brokaw This is the story of an American air force pilot who bombed Berlin, Germany with candy so they children could be treated despite the country being blocked by Russian forces.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg This book is a classic, though most students only know it because of the movie version. Over thirty years old, it tells the story of a boy who jumps aboard a train headed to the North Pole and learns all about friendship and the true meaning of Christmas.
Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon and Henri Sorensen The story of soldiers living in the trenches of war during Christmas. For one day they all stopped fighting when they heard a German solider singing Stille Nacht (Silent Night).
Shooting at the Stars by John Hendrix A soldier writes a letter home describing Christmas Even on the battlefront where soldiers stopped fighting and spent the day together playing games, singing carols and eating treats.
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say When a young Japanese boy is recovering from a sickness, his mother makes him a special paper crane. His mother was born in California, where it would be Christmas. This is a historical tale that discusses the differences between modern North American Christmas traditions and Japanese traditions. The boy helps his mother place paper cranes on their little tree. The next morning, the son wakes up to find a gift he had wanted!
A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas by Helaine Becker and Werner Zimmermann This is a Canadian version of the 12 Days of Christmas that is lots of fun to use and sing in the classroom.
The Twelve Days of Christmas in Canada by Ellen Warwick This one is great to tie in a little geography with Christmas as this story criss crosses the country with a few familiar sterotypes.
Merry Christmas, Squirrels! by Nancy Rose This book was given as a gag gift years ago, but it’s come to be a classroom favourite. Picture it-squirrels dressed up in holiday scenes. Too cute!
The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert This is a Nordic tale about a little girl named Anja who wants to be one of Santa’s elves, so she sets out to do just that.
Dream Snow by Eric Carle If you are a fan of Eric Carle, this book doesn’t disapoint. A farmer dreams of a huge snowstorm and then when he awakes he finds his farm covered in snow. He creates a celebration for children everywhere.
How to Catch an Elf by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton This is part of the series (How to Catch a Leprechaun) and has just as much charm. It’s a great rhyming book too!
La Noche Beuna: A Christmas Story by Antonio Sacre and Angela Dominguez Nina is spending Christmas with her family in Miami and it just isn’t the same without the cold and snow. Then she gets the chance to learn about her Cuban heritage and finds out about La Noche Buena.
The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie DePaola Lucinda presents the gift of a poinsettia to the Christ Child, making it Mexico’s flor de la Nochebuenao, the flower of the Holy Night.
Jan Brett This author has many Christmas books so we decided just to list as many as we could think of. All of her books offer enchanting illustrations and great stories children love. Her books are great for teaching students how to read pictures and how powerful they are in telling a story.
- Christmas Treasury
- Christmas Trolls
- The Wild Christmas Reindeer
- Who’s that Knocking on Christmas Eve?
- The Night Before Christmas
- The Twelve Days of Christmas
- Home for Christmas
- The Hat
- Gingerbread Baby
- Gingerbread Friends
- Gingerbread Christmas
- The Mitten
- The Animal’s Santa
- Snowy Treasury
Christmas Novels for Longer Reads
Novels are a great way to read a Christmas story over a longer period of time. These novels are recommended for students Grade 3+.
Jingle by Gordon Korman If your students love the Swindle series, then this is the perfect book for them. It’s a novel, but it’s full of laughs that your students can read the whole month through. This makes a great read aloud.
When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke Twinklestar the least reliable reindeer takes off after a storm and causes Santa to land in a less than friendly environment. This one actually has a movie version that would make an interesting comparison.
A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Hagg If you’ve every wondered what Father Christmas was like as a child, this book answers that question and so many more. It’s a great story that feels old and traditional with modern storytelling. This is a classroom favourite!
Truce by Jim Murphy What happens when the soldiers in the middle of a world war disobey their commanding officers to stop the fighting on December 25? This book is a little darker. It will depend on the maturity of your students, but it provides a different view of Christmas that isn’t all Santas and decorations. The illustrations are a meant for a slightly older audience.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Give your students the gift of classic literature with this tale where Scrooge visits the past, future and present to learn more about himself.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson The story of the “worst kids in the world” when they take over the Christmas pageant. This is a fun read aloud that will cause belly laughs in your class.
The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle Even though this book is part of a series, it stands on its own. In the twenty-four days counting down to Christmas, this family does something special, but there’s a baby on the way that might ruin the plans.
Looking for Other Holidays and Observances?
Are you looking for a fun and simple lesson you can do that isn’t too Christmas-y? Try our Snowman Heads lesson by joining our email list. You’ll also get access to our Resource Library full of other resources.
Do you have a favourite Christmas book that didn’t make our list? Let us know about it in the comments below and we’ll add it to our list.