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One of my favorite ways to teach Hazel about Christmas is using books that share the true meaning of Christmas. I have shared some here previously, and I have been pinning them to a special board. Today I am going to share all of them with you. I have divided them into two categories: the ones in Biblical time and the ones in more modern time.
1) The Christmas Story by Patricia Pingry I love The Story of Mary also by Patricia Pingry as well for this time of year. It has a little more details in it.
2) Asleep in the Stable by Will Hillenbrand is a wonderful story. It describes all the animals sleeping in the stable except the owls. The baby owl notices the baby sleeping in the manger and asks his mother about him. The mother explains who the baby is as well as Mary and Joseph and God.
3) Hare's Christmas Gift by Eleonore Schmid is a tale about a little, shy hare who awakes to see all the animals heading towards him. He begins to follow the crowd to see what is going on. They all surround a stable. Eventually the hare gets enough nerve to go in and see the babe lying in a manger. The baby calms him so much that he curls up and keeps the baby warm while they sleep together.
4) The Birds of Bethlehem by Tomie dePaola
5) Christmas in a Manger by Nola Buck is a board book about what each animal and person will do for the newborn baby in the stable. It ends with the baby and stating that He is the reason for Christmas Day.
6) The Cobweb Curtain: A Christmas Story by Jenny Koralek, William Barclay, and Pauline Baynes is a tale about a spider at a cave who sees the Holy family hiding from the soldiers and spins a web over the cave opening so they will not be discovered. It is a wonderful tale for the Escape to Egypt part of the story.
7) Three Wise Women by Mary Hoffman is a tale of three women in different places who see the star and drop what they are doing to follow it. Each brings the baby a gift of her own without realizing where they are going or why, but having the faith to know they must go.
8) Voices of Christmas by Nikki Grimes is a tale about the various people in the Christmas story. It has a line about each person and then has what the person might say or think. It even includes a neighbor in Nazareth. It gives lovely perspectives on the story.
9) Who Is Coming to Our House? by Joseph Slate
10) The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park is the story of myrrh. The tale is told by a young boy whose father is training him to harvest myrrh (sap from a special type of tree). His father lets him remove the biggest tear, as they call them. When they go to market to sell their tears, the spice market merchant calls them in to meet his special guests who have been waiting for them. The special guests are the wisemen. Eventually it is asked who the gifts are for and the young boy wonders why they would bring myrrh to an infant since it is used in funerals. This book answered so many questions I had about myrrh. I really enjoyed reading it and learning from it.
11) Little Owl and the Star by Mary Murphy
12) The Story of the Three Wise Kings by Tomie dePaola
More Modern Christmas Books that Teach the Christmas Message
1) An Early American Christmas by Tomie dePaola
2) God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergron is another one of her books with Little Cub. I love this series because they explain so much of God and religious ideas in ways children can somewhat understand. This one of course covers Christmas and who invented it. As always there are lessons about how God loves all of us in it.
3) A Goodnight Christmas by Nola Buck goes through saying "Good night" to all the people and animals in the Christmas story and more as you realize it is a little boy saying it as he goes to bed on Christmas Eve.
4) The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie dePaola is a great story to show what another culture does and a little Christmas magic.
5) Angel Pig and the Hidden Christmas by Jan Waldron gives the true meaning behind Christmas. There is no money for gifts and the pigs are upset, but they learn the lesson that the best gifts do not come from a store.
6) The Birds of Bethlehem oops! That was in the one above!
7) Moritmer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
8) The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie is my new favorite Christmas book. I won it recently from Teach Beside Me. (She has some amazing giveaways going on still.) This book is about a young boy who sees a sparkly box on their mantle and asks his mother about it. She says it is a gift for all of them that they will add things to it and then open it on Christmas morning together. The boy sees a homeless man while riding in the car and asks his mother about him. He sees him again when they are leaving a store. The boy had picked out a pair of mittens for his class's mitten tree and a piece of candy for himself, but he gives both to the man and yells "Merry Christmas!" as he leaves. On Christmas morning the boy sees the box under the tree. When he opens it, the box is filled with slips of paper. On the paper are the things the family has done for others this Christmas season. The parents explain that this gift is for Jesus. The boy asks how it is for Jesus since it was a gift for others. Needless to say it brings home a wonderful message about charity.
I also won with this book The First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher. It is another wonderful version of the Christmas story. You can read a review of it at Teach Beside Me: Christmas Books Review and Giveaway.
9) The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg is an amazing story about a candy shop opening up in a small town. A stranger came and bought the shop and no one knew what it would be. One girl bravely knocked and asked if the stranger needed help. She was happy to see the boxes full of candy. Then she saw something she had never seen before, a candy cane. The shop owner tells her about the candy cane. How it looks like the shepherd's hook and a J for Jesus. Basically all the legends I have ever heard about it are in this book. The message however is that the candy cane represents a more important message. How God sent Jesus to save the world. The shopkeeper asks the girl to help him spread the message to everyone.
Now I am sure we will have more to share, but this at what I have at this point. I am thinking maybe next year we will do a story Advent calendar. Hazel is loving the craft one this year though!