Book Reviews: Top 5 Children’s Books to Read during Advent

Hello, friends! I hope that you all are having a fantastic day and are as excited as I am for Christmas! I think that this year, more than ever, Christmas is a necessity, and the time that comes before is equally as important: Advent. If you don’t know what Advent is, then allow me to let you in on the secret.

Advent includes the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas. It is a time to meditate and await with vigilance, excitement, and anticipation the arrival of the Christ child on Christmas, but there is really so much more to it that is just it in a nutshell. Personally, this is my favorite time of year, and today I wanted to write a post about my top five favorite children’s books that melt my heart and spread the wonder and joy of Christmas every year.

Why children’s books, you ask? Well, actually children’s literature is more than your average picture book, and it happens to be one of my favorite genres of literature. You can find so many great truths and joy in children’s books that are accompanied with some of the best pictures that make the stories all the more real.

Some of my favorite children’s authors are, Patricia Polacco, Tomie dePaola, and Jan Brett.

In this post I will give my top five favorite books for Advent, but will also give some additional recommendations at the end that are great for Advent and Christmas in general, so without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Number 5 – Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis

This book focuses on a Swedish family’s preparation for Christmas. We get a taste of their traditions and foods that are central to a Swedish Christmas. Annika is naturally the main character, but she also has a brother named Davy, who is a cripple and always walks with a cane.

More than anything Annika desires to find the almond in her rice pudding on Christmas eve, for anyone who finds the almond will receive whatever their heart wishes.

This book focuses on the spirit of giving that is so present during Christmastide, and the illustrations are deep and emotional, connecting the reader to the spirit of the book in a brilliant way.

I would recommend this book to anyone, and I always enjoy it! I hope that you will too! I don’t want to spoil anything about any of these books, so you will have to read them to discover the whole story! 😉

Number 4 – Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

This festive Christmas books brings back the well-known and loved Italian “grandma witch” Strega Nona, as well as Bambolona and Big Anthony.

In this book, we are also exposed to and get a taste of Italian Christmas traditions, such as Midnight Mass and certain food dishes that Strega Nona must whip up in time for Christmas without the use of her magic.

Embodying the simplicity and festivity of Christmas, this book is a must for Advent or just Christmas in general. The creative pictures bring the story to life, and it makes me chuckle every time I read it. I don’t want to spoil anything, but just remember, “No magic at Christmastime!”

Number 3: The Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff

This Christmas book is actually based on a New York Times bestseller with the same name, and no matter how many times I have heard the story, it makes my heart melt.

It circles around a young boy named Maurice, who lives at a shelter hotel in New York city. After experiencing the kindness shone to him by a woman named Laura, his entire life turns around, but again I don’t want to spoil the story. You will just have to read it to find out what happens in this inspiring story that represents the true meaning of Christmas: giving, kindness, and love.

The illustrations are amazing, but the story is outstanding. Truly a great read for Advent!

Number 2: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

This book is amazing! My parents first bought it when I was roughly about twelve years old, and we have been reading it every Christmas season since.

It is a story of redemption, overcoming grief, and kindness. Circling around the grumpy woodcarver Jonathan Toomey, the author takes you on a ride that at the end makes you want celebrate with the characters.

For a children’s book it is fairly long, but it is so worth it, and I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a heartwarming book to read with a cup of tea and a pastry. Once again, the illustrations are breathtaking, and if you enjoy listening to Darth Vader read books, then some editions come with a CD of the book read by James Earl Jones, who does an excellent job of reading it.

Number 1: An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco

Well…what can I say about this book to you all that will describe its merits? Merits may not even be a good word to use…

This book has brought me to tears, and it is my number one favorite Christmas book of all time. Patricia Polacco is an artist of both words and illustrations. The story circles around a young boy named Frankie, who is helping his family prepare for Christmas but that is just the beginning.

I urge you all, no, I plead with you all, to read this book that demonstrates the love of family and the heart-tying magic of Christmas. This book really will tug on your heart but in the best way possible. That is really all I can say about this book, for I don’t even have the words to describe it, and I want to save the magic of it as a surprise…

More Christmas Book to Check out!

Well, those are just my top five for Advent, but there are so many more that are fun for Advent and Christmas in general. Here are some of my favorites:

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola

Strega Nona’s Gift by Tomie dePaola

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola

Home for Christmas by Jan Brett

The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett

The Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco

The Christmas Boot by Lisa Wheeler

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

Babushka: A Christmas Tale by Dawn Casey

The First Christmas by Carol Heyer

Dasher by Matt Tavares

Cobweb Christmas by Shirley Climo

Phew…sorry, I know that those are a lot of books, but they are all fantastic, and I hope that you find my lists useful for you or your household. Oh, I remember, friends, that children’s literature is not just for children. There are so many wonderful stories out there in the form of picture books that should not be sidestepping because of their illustrations, which a lot of the time are amazing and enhance the story they belong to.

Well, that is it for now, friends! I hope that you all enjoyed this post and are as excited for Christmas as I am. I beseech you all to await Christ’s birth with vigilance, excitement, and great joy this Advent season, which I believe we need more now than ever in this crazy time!

Until next time,

Time Lady of Coruscant 😉

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