Winter holidays are a special time of year, filled with friends, family, food, and plenty of fun and beloved traditions. Whether you are looking for a new family read-aloud to change things up or a heartwarming read to snuggle up with, check out these these great Peachtree books! Some will have the family rolling on the floor with laughter while others will touch the soul and warm the heart. You might even find a new holiday classic to enjoy every year!
Little Rabbit’s Christmas
Written & illustrated by Harry Horse
It is Christmas Eve and Little Rabbit sees the perfect gift in a shop window: a lovely red sled. On Christmas morning the red sled is waiting for Little Rabbit, courtesy of the Christmas Rabbit. Little Rabbit cannot wait to try it out and show it off to his friends. Everyone begs him for a turn, and Little Rabbit goes off in a huff to sled alone. But when a fast hill and a frozen stream spell trouble for Little Rabbit, he quickly learns the value of friendship.
This sweet story, with its delightful visual and textual details, is a perfect read-aloud to help young readers understand the importance of friendship and sharing this holiday season.
Where Teddy Bears Come From
Written by Mark Burgess
Illustrated by Russell Ayto
In the middle of a deep, dark forest, all the creatures are fast asleep. Except for a little gray wolf who can’t sleep a wink. The little wolf knows just what he needs to get a good night’s sleep: a teddy bear to cuddle. So the next morning little wolf sets off to find one. But exactly where do teddy bears come from? The little wolf asks the Wise Owl and the Three Little Pigs, but nobody knows. Finally, the little wolf stumbles upon a kindly man with a bright red suit and a long white beard, and when the little wolf wakes up the next morning there is a surprise at the foot of his bed… and the answer to his question.
Festive, funny, clever, and featuring familiar fairy tale characters, this is the perfect bedtime story to read on Christmas Eve.
Santa’s Eleven Months Off
Written by Mike Reiss
Illustrated by Michael G. Montgomery
What does Santa do with his hard-earned vacation time? The same stuff you would do—and a whole lot more! In this uproarious tale, Santa recovers from a hectic December by embarking on an hilarious campaign of adventure and self-improvement—from sumo wrestling to international espionage to continuing education (including Elf Esteem and Basic Reindeer Labor Laws). But no matter where he goes or what he does, he’s still our beloved Santa Claus. So, thanks, Santa, for all your hard work. Go ahead and take the rest of the year off!
With popular author and Simpsons writer Mike Reiss’ sparkling rhyme scheme and Michael Montgomery’s expressive and energetic oil paintings, this unique, pre-holiday story is perfect for children who are curious about what Santa does all year.
The Santa Trap
Written by Jonathan Emmett
Illustrated by Poly Bernatene
Bradley Bartleby is bad. Very bad. To avoid Bradley’s wrath, his wealthy parents buy him whatever he wants. All the adults in Bradley’s life are running scared―except for Santa Claus, who refuses to give him anything but socks. But Bradley vows to get what he deserves. If Santa won’t give him the gifts he wants, Bradley will just have to steal them. In the end, he transforms his house into a trap so fearsome even his parents refuse to enter it. With dynamite, trapdoors, guillotines, and tigers in his path, Santa doesn’t stand a chance. Or does he?
Readers with a darker sense of humor will love this refreshingly hilarious Christmas book!
It is November 1857 in Savannah, Georgia, and the heat is stifling. Choir director James Lord Pierpont is busy writing a song for the children of the church to perform to usher in the holiday season. He is also worried. Many townspeople are angry because the congregation does not believe in slavery, and someone has thrown a brick through one of the church windows. As Mr. Pierpont sweeps up the glass from the broken window, he recalls his own Boston childhood, and he suddenly gets an idea. A few days later―with singing children, jingling bells, and bags of “snow”―Mr. Pierpont introduces the delighted churchgoers to the charms of a northern Christmas!
In this terrific blend of John Harris’s entertaining text and Adam Gustavson’s endearing illustrations, readers learn about the unexpected origins of a Christmas classic. You might want to sing the beloved song one or two―or more!―times after reading this fascinating picture book!
Christmas in the Trenches
Written by John McCutcheon
Illustrated by Henri Sørensen
It is cold and clear on Christmas Eve night in 1914. Suddenly a strange sound pierces the darkness. Someone is singing a Christmas carol in German. Francis Tolliver and his fellow British soldiers are holed up in muddy trenches along the Western Front. Their enemies―German soldiers―lie in wait just across a field known as “No Man’s Land.” When the Germans’ carol ends, Thomas and the other British soldiers sing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” Soon carols are being sung back and forth. Then a figure emerges in the dark, carrying a small Christmas tree with lighted candles. Slowly the British and German soldiers leave their trenches, and the war, behind to stand together in the open field.
This haunting story based on an event in World War I known as the Christmas Truce is adapted by award-winning songwriter John McCutcheon from his song of the same name, which received a Grammy nomination. Included with this stunning picture book is a CD featuring readings of the story and recordings of “Silent Night” and “Christmas in the Trenches.”
Santa’s Last Present
Written by Marie-Aude Murail & Elvire Murail
Illustrated by Quentin Blake
Julian’s parents talk about Santa all the time but Julian thinks he’s getting too old to believe in him. Even so, he writes Santa a letter asking for a video game system. His parents think it might be a bit expensive, but Julian is confident Santa can afford it. Sure enough, on Christmas morning, there it is―the exact video game system he asked for. But Julian’s mother spots something else under the tree: a small package wrapped in dull brown paper. No one seems to know where it has come from. Then Julian tears off the paper…and discovers that just maybe he’s not too old to believe in Santa after all.
Children and adults alike will enjoy this humorous and touching story of how a young boy is transformed by a seemingly ordinary gift. Drawings by master illustrator Quentin Blake perfectly capture the magical spirit of the story.
To Whom the Angels Spoke
Written by Terry Kay
Illustrated by Eileen Blyth
A holiday classic about the power and unity of belief in the face of differences, To Whom the Angel Spoke is the story of three shepherds who are as different as men can be. One night, those men hear a voice, and because they believe the voice’s words about the birth of Jesus, they become alike.
A Biblically-based Christmas story beautifully written by Terry Kay, this book stresses peace among men and setting aside differences―a great message for this time of year.
My Brother’s Hero
Written by Adrian Fogelin
When an unexpected turn of events brings the Floyd family to the Florida Keys for their Christmas vacation, thirteen-year-old Ben can’t wait to escape his usual routine. He meets Mica, an independent, strong-willed girl who lives a nomadic life aboard a boat with her marine biologist father. Together Ben, Cody, and Mica explore the interior canals and coastal waterways, but Ben soon realizes that adventure sometimes brings danger, and that at the center of Mica’s seemingly charmed life lies a mysterious loneliness.
Sprinkled with vivid descriptions of the Florida keys and familiar Christmas traditions this third book in the Neighborhood Novels series offers a realistic, thoughtful, and sometimes humorous portrait of adolescence.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would try to land a man on the Moon by the end of the decade. During the two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-nine days that followed his speech, eighteen astronauts climbed into spaceships; three of them died before even leaving the ground. Eight rockets soared into space. And four hundred thousand people―engineers, technicians, scientists, mathematicians, and machinists―joined Project Apollo in hopes of making the dream a reality.
Yes, astronauts celebrate Christmas in space too! Days after Apollo 8 launched, marking the first time a manned rocket traveled beyond Earth’s orbit, the crew celebrated in space on Christmas Day 1968.
The Theory of Everything
Written by J.J. Johnson
Last year, Sarah’s best friend Jamie died in a freak accident. Back then, everyone was sad; now they’re ready for Sarah to get over it and move on. But Sarah’s not ready to move on. She can’t stop reliving what happened, struggling with guilt, questioning the meaning of life, and missing her best friend. Life just seems random: no pattern, no meaning, no rules―and no reason to bother.
In a last-ditch effort to pull it together, Sarah befriends Jamie’s twin brother Emmett, who may be the only other person who understands what she’s lost. And when she gets a job working for the local eccentric who owns a Christmas tree farm, she finally begins to understand the threads that connect us all, the benefit of giving people a chance, and the power of love.
Sometimes the holidays are difficult to celebrate when there is considerable pain and loss. This powerful contemporary YA novel, filled with witty humor, relatable characters, and messages of hope, will leave readers in tears and stitches.
Written by J.J. Johnson
Jennifer can’t go on like this―binging, purging, starving, and all while trying to appear like she’s got it all together. But when she finally confesses her secret to her parents and is hospitalized at the Samuel Tuke Center, her journey is only beginning.
As Jennifer progresses through her treatment during the holiday season, she learns to recognize her relationship with food, and friends, and family―and how each is healthy or unhealthy. She has to learn to trust herself and her own instincts, but that’s easier than it sounds. She has to believe―after many years of being a believarexic.
Struggling with an eating disorder during one of the most food-centered holidays of the year is extremely tough. This compelling and authentic novel by J.J. Johnson is an inspiring story based on her own experience when she was hospitalized for an eating disorder as a teenager. Look for more help, resources, and more information at here.
Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
Written by Melissa Keil
Alba loves her life just as it is. She loves living behind the bakery and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon. She loves drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends. The only problem is she’s overlooked a few teeny details. Like, the guy she thought long gone has unexpectedly reappeared. And the boy who has been her best friend since forever has suddenly gone off the rails. Even her latest comic book creation is misbehaving. On top of all that, the world might be ending―which is proving to be awkward.
As doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Alba’s life is thrown into chaos. Whatever happens next, it’s the end of the world as she knows it. But when it comes to figuring out her heart, Armageddon might turn out to be the least of her problems.
Set around Christmastime in Australia, this YA novel is perfect for those looking for an end-of-year read. Alba’s romantic dilemma and the hilarious plot that links the end of high school with the end of the world will hook any teen (and the mouth-watering mentions of baked good will inspire readers to make their own tasty treats)!