Deck the halls with lots of books… Falalalala…la lalala.
To the bookshelf, let’s all look… Falalalala…la lalala.
Don we now our reading glasses… Falala… lalala… la la la.
Browse before the old year passes… Falalalala… la lalala.
Tis the season to be reading!
Is there anything better than cuddling up with your loved ones before a warm fire and sharing a story?
No, there really isn't. And it is that much better when you can combine that special bonding time with the magic and excitement of the holiday season. It is time to start a new holiday tradition:
a Christmas book Advent calendar!
You are probably familiar with the idea of a Christmas Advent calendar: counting down the days of Advent leading up to Christmas Day. There are many, many different types of Advent calendars out there, from traditional, religious ones that feature a manger scene to more secular variations that feature holiday scenes with Santa or popular television characters. And, of course, most Advent calendars also feature some sort of little treat for each day as you count down. Well, we here at BTBL are big fans of the book Advent calendar as it blends the magic of the season with the joy of reading! It is the best!!
What is a book Advent calendar? The most common way to go about the book Advent we have seen is to gather 25 Christmas stories, wrap them in festive wrapping paper and place them in a basket or under the tree. Then, each night at bedtime (or after dinner or whatever time works for you and your family) your child picks out one of the books to unwrap and you all snuggle up for a festive read aloud! It’s that simple! You could get a little more specific with the activity by numbering the books so that the stories correspond to the date, such as reading The 12 Days of Christmas on the 13th and The Night Before Christmas on the 24th, but the basic idea is to read one Christmas book each night as a way to celebrate the season. The books can be new, used or from your local library! It's all up to you.
Here is a list of titles to help get you started with your book Advent:
For more title ideas take a look at our Holiday Book List.
Share photos of your book Advent calendars and tell us a bit about your family traditions in the comments!
Happy holidays and happy reading!
-Kate from BTBL
Thanksgiving is fast approaching and November is universally recognized as the month of giving thanks and so, we would like to take a moment to give thanks for books! And not just any books. We are especially thankful for picture books (it is Picture Book Month after all). Below is a list of books celebrating Turkey Day and also a smattering of titles all about being thankful.
A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman
The townspeople of Squawk Valley need a plump and perky turkey for their Thanksgiving feast, but turkeys have gotten too clever and won’t jump into their pots anymore. What are the townspeople to do? They hatch a plan, but things don’t go quite as they had planned…
Over the River and Through the Wood: A Thanksgiving Poem by Lydia Maria Child
There are many versions available of this classic poem and song, but our favorites are a version illustrated with woodcuts by Christopher Mason and a slightly wacky one illustrated by David Catrow. The words of the poem remain the same in both versions, but the illustrations are markedly different and offer two very unique reading (and singing, if you are so inclined) experiences that just have to shared!
Llama Llama Gives Thanks by Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama and his family are preparing a Thanksgiving feast to enjoy with their good friends the Gnus. Young children especially will love this sweet, rhyming board book that highlights the familiar, simple joys of the season.
This Little Turkey by Aly Fronis
Following the tune of the popular nursery rhyme, “This Little Piggy,” This Little Turkey follows a family of turkeys as they prepare for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is Here! By Diane Goode
At grandma’s house on Thanksgiving morning the turkey goes in the oven and then the doorbell rings and the guests arrive. This story perfectly captures all of the fun and craziness of a family gathering.
One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B. G. Hennessy
Count along with this story about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags as they prepare for the harvest feast. Then at the end of the story learn a bit more about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags in the section titled, “A Note from the Author.”
10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston
A variation on the “and then there were none” rhyme, this book follows ten silly turkeys as they go about their hilarious escapades: doing a noodle dance, attempting to roller skate, swinging from a vine…so much goofiness! Children will especially enjoy the repetitive phrase, “Gobble, gobble, wibble, wobble.”
A Very Thankful Prayer by Bonnie Rickner Jensen
Through moving rhymes and beautiful illustrations, this book reminds the reader of the everyday things that we should all be grateful for.
This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed
A great companion to One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims, this counting story once again introduces readers to the Pilgrims and Wampanoag as they prepare for their Thanksgiving feast. This story has added bonus of hidden pictures within the illustrations, including a turkey somewhere in each spread, as well as countless other little creatures throughout the book for the reader to find.
Sharing the Bread: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller
Celebrate the timeless tradition of a family working together to prepare their Thanksgiving meal with this rhyming story. The illustrations are a visual feast and open the door for a discussion of life in the 19th century.
A Snowman Named Just Bob by Mark Kimball Moulton
This beautiful story of one magical Thanksgiving Day and the formation of a lasting friendship will definitely make you feel all the feels and is sure to become a family favorite. Moulton’s rhyming text flows smoothly and the illustrations are enchanting!
Thankful by Eileen Spinelli
Similar to A Very Thankful Prayer, this story is also a reminder of all the little things there are in life to be thankful for. It is a touching story that will make you appreciate the blessings that you have.
The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing
As we have all come to expect of her, Wing offers up a Thanksgiving tale set to the well-known rhythm of Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas (also known as The Night Before Christmas) that highlights all of the excitement of preparing for and enjoying Thanksgiving Day.
Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy by Lisa Wheeler
Turk is the biggest, strongest, most graceful bird on Wishbone Farm and his parents couldn’t be more proud. Runt, Turk’s little brother, is the scrawniest bird on the farm, but also the smartest. As folks begin to arrive to pick out a plump, juicy turkey for their holiday feasts, Runt is the only one wise to their plans and comes to his brother’s rescue again and again. No one will listen to him! That is, until a little old lady decides she wants Runt for her Thanksgiving Day feast. This story is so much fun and children will love the Runt’s master plan at the end!
Share your favorites with us in the comments!
We are mom Sandra and daughters Amanda and Kate, all with backgrounds in literacy and education, who want to share our philosophy of taking the basics of life; books, simple toys that encourage play, imagination and creativity, and using cooking and baking to teach math and real life skills to raise happy, inquisitive children. Join us in exploring the old and the new and sifting through the myriad of research to consider what is best for our children.