Five Seasonal Picture Books to Read This Year
As a children’s author, I read a great deal of children’s picture books. I want to know what’s popular in the market today, so I can be sure my ideas have a home. Seasonal picture books have long been my favorite, especially Christmas ones. Here is a list of five I recommend.
Christmas from Heaven read by Tom Brokaw and illustrated by Robert T. Barrett
This book tells the story of Gail Halvorsen, who is assigned as a cargo pilot during the Berlin Airlift. As Lt. Halvorsen performs his duties, he notices German children gathered behind fences at the end of the Tempelhof runway. He talks to the children and offers them two sticks of gum. From this one act of kindness, his idea to "bomb" Berlin with candy is born. Soon he and his crew fashion tiny parachutes to float candy down to the awaiting children.
The book comes with a DVD from a live performance of Tom Brokaw reading the story aloud set to music from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry with pictures by Sonja Danowski
This Michael Neugebauer edition takes the classic story by O. Henry and sets it to beautiful artwork by Sonja Danowski. The oversized hardcover makes a perfect coffee table book. I usually display my seasonal titles throughout the house at Christmas time.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story, it goes something like this. Della and Jim are a young married couple who desire to give each other a special Christmas gift. After a year of scrimping and saving, Della discovers she has very little money to purchase a gift for Jim. But she soon comes up with an idea for how she can get enough money to buy him just what he needs, which leads to some surprises on Christmas Eve.
Keeping in mind that O. Henry lived from 1862-1910, the text is much more eloquent than one would expect of a picture book today. This would make a great read aloud for families.
The Message of the Birds by Kate Westerlund and illustrated by Feridun Oral
Westerlund is an author from Australia who has written numerous children’s books. The Message of the Birds starts off with the old owl telling the story of the birth of a special child long ago in a stable, where all the animals hear in the baby’s coos as a song of blessing and good will. The birds then ask why they don’t sing it anymore. After many possible reasons are given, the robin suggests sharing the message with the children. So the birds fly far and wide, telling every bird to share the message with every child, which the children then share with the world.
This is a touching story made lovelier by the stunning artwork of Feridun Oral. Since I write message-driven fiction, I enjoy reading it, too. If you want to add meaning to your Christmas, this is great book to share with your family.
The Christmas Owl by Angela Muse and illustrated by Helen H. Wu
I recently reviewed the digital version of this book. It tells the story of an injured Barred owl who must ask other animals for help and how he repays their kindness year after year. Not only does this book encourage youngsters to develop a servant’s heart, its elegant font and overall design catch the eye.
Prairie Christmas by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk and illustrated by Ronald Himler
Lovers of historical fiction will definitely want to read this one. Emma is disappointed when her mother, the town doctor, is called to deliver a baby on Christmas. Their plans are now ruined. She soon discovers Hansie and Will Van Der Meer’s plans have been changed too. They are missing their holiday and are anxious about the new baby’s arrival. Pushing her own feelings aside, Emma works to create a special Christmas that they will never forget.
I loved everything about this book: the story, the historical details, and the warm colors Himler used in his illustrations to create a cozy feel.
I hope you’ve found a book you’ll enjoy sharing with young readers this Christmas season. Best wishes for a peaceful and joyful holiday.
C.C Gevry is the pen name for children’s author Cheryl C. Malandrinos. A Christmas Kindness is her first book with 4RV Publishing. She is a member of the SCBWI. Ms. Gevry resides in Massachusetts with her husband and two young children. She also has a son who is married.
Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who has only one request for Santa, Robert is confused over what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?
Chapter One Excerpt:
“Oh, when will we get there?” whispered Robert from the backseat of his mother’s car. He fiddled with the pull on his coat. The wipers brushed aside the snow falling on the windshield.
As they arrived, lines of cars streamed in and out of the mall parking lot. Robert peered over his mother’s shoulder and saw her white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. She huffed as she scanned the parking lot for an empty space. He wiggled around, but his seat belt kept him secure.
Inside the mall, Christmas music and the tinkling of jingle bells tickled Robert’s ears. With his mother, Robert weaved through the crowd of shoppers. He smelled fried food from Burger Mart. The sweet scent of warm chocolate chip cookies from the bakery made his mouth water.
Robert’s shoulders drooped when he saw how many kids waited to see Santa. There were babies, some crying and struggling to get out of their mother’s arms. Little kids, many younger than eight-year-old Robert, clung to their father’s pants or jumped up and down as they waited their turn.
“This is going to take forever!”
A Christmas Kindness Tour Schedule
Interview at Linda Weaver Clarke’s A Family Friendly Blog
Interview at Writers and Authors
Book review at By the Book
Book review at IE Mommy
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at Blooming with Books
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at 4 the Love of Books
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at My Devotional Thoughts
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at Lynn’s Corner
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at Mayra’s Secret Bookcase
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at The Story of a Writer
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at Rose & Beps Blog
Book Blast w/ Giveaway at Naturally Kim
Book review at My Devotional Thoughts
First chapter reveal at Broken Teepee
Guest post at Marilyn’s Musings
Interview at Janet K. Brown: Writing God’s Message of Hope
Book review at Inside BJ’s Head
First chapter reveal at Classic Children’s Books
Guest post at Paperback Writer
Book review at Lynn’s Corner
Interview at One Writer’s Journey
Interview at Examiner
Book review at Maureen’s Musings
Guest post a Lori’s Reading Corner
First chapter reveal at 4 the Love of Books
Book review at Our Families Adventure
Guest post at 4 the Love of Books
Book review at Blooming with Books
Book review at Classic Children’s Books
Book tour highlights at The Book Rack
Book review at 4 the Love of Books