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The Best Holiday Picture Books

by The Artful Parent Book Review
December 6, 2023

Enjoy this new list of winter holiday picture books to help you celebrate the season in all kinds of ways!

Regardless of how your family celebrates the holidays, you’re bound to find something to love in this fantastic list. And by reading about and understanding other family’s traditions, our kids have the chance to gain compassion, empathy, and insight.

So cozy up with the ones you love, and get ready to enjoy some wonderful picture books, perfect for celebrating this holiday season. You might even find a new tradition to make your own!

Picture Books About Holiday Celebrations

These books are perfect for reminding us that, despite our many differences, families of all kinds love to celebrate!

1. The Joyful Book by Todd Parr

Todd Parr’s boisterous illustrations are perfect for exploring all kinds of holidays and all the joyful ways we celebrate!

2. Happy All-idays by Cindy Jin, illustrated by Rob Sayegh Jr.

We love this little board book with its warmly illustrated pages and heartfelt message of inclusion.

3. Lights of Winter: Winter Celebrations around the World by Heather Conrad, illustrated by deForsest Walker

This nonfiction book walks through a variety of winter celebrations, from the familiar (like Christmas and Hanukkah) to the obscure (have you heard of the oldest winter festival, Zagmuk?)  It gives interesting facts in a very accessible way.  We loved it!

4. Wintercake: A Winter and Holiday Book for Kids by Lynne Rae Perkins

Two woodland creatures discover that a little empathy and generosity can lead to unexpected friendships and brand new holiday traditions. We love this story’s heartwarming message and cozy illustrations.

5. Winter Candle by Jeron Ashford, illustrated by Stacey Schuett

A small candle is passed from apartment to apartment, lighting each unique holiday celebration inside. A lovely story exploring our unique traditions and the small kindnesses that bind us together.

6. Bear’s Winter Party by Deborah Hodge, illustrated by Lisa Cinar

Lisa Cinar’s delightfully vibrant and whimsical illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this heartwarming tale of a lonely bear looking for friends. You’ll even find a recipe for Bear’s honey-ginger cookies on the last page!

Picture Books About Hanukkah

7. All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

This sweet story takes place in 1912 on the Lower East Side of NYC. Your kids will love this glimpse into the past, as the book brings to life the hustle and bustle of a family preparing for their Hanukkah traditions. 

8. The Eight Knights of Hanukkah by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Galia Bernstein

With a pun like that in the title, you know you’re in for a good time! This fun book does not disappoint; it absolutely charmed us with its comical illustrations and medieval silliness. The perfect balance of humor and warmth. 

9. The Story of Hanukkah by David A. Adler, illustrated by Jill Weber

We love this accessible retelling of the Hanukkah story with bright, full-page illustrations to keep even the youngest kids engaged.

10. Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Karla Gudeon

Your kids are going to love this clever book where each page you turn lights another candle on the menorah and gives us a new Haiku to help celebrate!

11. My First Chanukkah by Tomie dePaola

This board book is the perfect introduction to Hanukkah for young children. Tomie dePaola’s illustrations are always a hit, and the simple text explains many traditions in a straightforward, accessible way.

Picture Books About Kwanzaa

12. My First Kwanzaa by Karen Katz

Young kids will love Karen Katz’s delightful illustrations and simple explanation of Kwanzaa traditions. A wonderful first look at this vibrant holiday!

13. Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

Follow Li’l Rabbit as he sets out to help his Granna in this playful story inspired by Brer Rabbit from African American folklore tradition. We especially like the last two pages, walking the readers through The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa and how we can find them in Rabbit’s story.

14. Holidays around the World: Celebrate Kwanza by Carolyn Otto

This nonfiction book from National Geographic is a wonderful step-up for older kids who are looking to learn more about the origins and traditions of Kwanzaa.

15. Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis, illustrated by Daniel Minter

With an informative introduction and stunning woodcut illustrations throughout, this book tells the story of seven quarreling brothers who have to learn to pull together.

16. Together for Kwanzaa Juwanda G. Ford,  illustrated by Shelly Hehenberger

Follow a young girl as she and her family prepare for and celebrate Kwanzaa, learning about each of the holiday’s seven principles as you go. We love the bold, colorful illustrations full of joyful details to explore.

Picture Books About Christmas

17. Refuge by Anne Booth, illustrated by Sam Usher

A moving perspective on the traditional nativity story, this book explores Mary and Joseph as refugees. Beautifully illustrated with sparse, poetic text.

18. Silent Night by Lara Hawthorne

We love this diverse, strikingly illustrated adaptation of the popular Christmas carol.

19. The Legend Of The Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola

A beautiful story retelling the Mexican legend of the Poinsettia, or flor de la Nochebuenao

20. Lullaby for the King by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Michelle Carlos

With lyrical text and gorgeous watercolor illustrations, this story imagines the ancient landscape and the menagerie of animals who could have brought gifts to the newborn Jesus. 

21. All the Colors of Christmas by Matthew Paul Turner, illustrated by Gillian Gamble

Explore all the many colors that make Christmas magical with this cozy book full of sweet rhymes and beautiful, full-page illustrations.

Picture Books About The Winter Solstice

22. Winter: A Solstice Story by Kelsey E. Gross, illustrated by Renata Liwska

Follow a group of woodland friends as they prepare for the longest night of the year; a lovely solstice story with lyrical text, charming illustrations, and a fun pull-out surprise at the end!

23. The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Carson Ellis

Susan Cooper’s classic poem is perfectly illustrated by the talented Carson Ellis. We love how the pictures take the reader through ancient traditions and modern celebrations all in the course of a few pages.

24. The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Ted Lewin

Join the creatures of the forest as they wait for the return of the sun, each animal hoping that he will be the one to call it back. We love this quiet story of hope that reads like a beautiful poem.

25. Grandmother Winter by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Beth Krommes

The German legend of Mother Holle is reimagined in this gentle story with delightfully detailed scratchboard illustrations.

26. Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven

A joyful, rhythmic story that’s oh-so-fun to read aloud.  It’s wintertime and everyone has had enough, so the baker decides to mix up a batch of warm and toasty golden sun bread. The best part? Your family can bake your very own sun bread with the recipe at the back of the book!

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