2023 Christmas Books for Children

December 14, 2023
December 14, 2023
2023 Christmas Books for Children
Bedtime and holiday magic come together with some children's book. (4 PM production/Shutterstock)
As children wind down the school days for 2023 and wind up for the merrymaking that the holidays bring, these bedtime stories may be a good way to end the often busy days that accompany the season.

‘Red and Green’

Lois Ehlert, known for her memorable illustrations in

Lois Ehlert, known for her memorable illustrations in “Chika Chika Boom Boom,” continues in the same vein, this time in red and green, for a board book with a title that matches the palette.

It starts with the classic line, “’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house … ” except, there is one creature stirring… . Could it possibly be a mouse? Young children’s eyes will be easily drawn to the shapes and colors that fill the illustrations, and the die-cut pages provide tactile experiences for young hands and little fingers. This twist on a classic poem will provide plenty of engagement and enjoyment for little ones up to 8 years old.
‘Red and Green’ By Lois Ehlert Beach Lane Books, Sept. 12, 2023 Hardcover: 40 pages

‘In The Holly Jolly North Pole: A Pop-up Adventure’

Though Santa Claus brings the sparkle to many children’s eyes, it’s the elves who make the magic happen. In this traditional pop-up storybook on the busyness that is Santa’s workshop leading up to Christmas day, readers get to see how the elves work together to fill the toy sacks with requests sent via Santa mail. 

Joel Stern, paper engineer, and illustrator Nancy Leschnikoff, bring to life Nancy Hall’s ideas in this book with its 3D pop-ups and simple rhymes. Perfect for children 3 to 5 years old.

‘In the Holly Jolly North Pole: A Pop-up Adventure’ By Joel Stern and Nancy Leschnikoff Little Simon, Sept. 12, 2023 Hardcover: 14 pages

‘Merry Christmas, Strega Nona’

First published in 1986 but with an updated cover design for 2023, “Merry Christmas, Strega Nona” is based on Tomie dePaola’s beloved “old tale retold.” The beloved Italian grandma-witch and her helper, Big Anthony, hustle and bustle about trying to prepare a grand Christmas feast for the townsfolk. Though Big Anthony tries to get Strega Nona to use her magic to make things easier, she refuses, saying, “Christmas has a magic of its own.” Though it may seem that the feast is not going as planned, Big Anthony plans a little surprise of his own for the grandma who always offers help whenever it’s needed.
Readers are introduced to Italian Christmas traditions like eating fish and attending midnight mass on the eve of Christ’s birth, and learn Italian words like “natale” and “bambino.” DePaola’s signature caricatures using simple lines and color shades make for an uncluttered look that accompanies the storytelling succinctly. And in this case, it delivers clearly the true meaning of Christmas that only a heavenly magic can accomplish. This is for dePaola’s fans of all ages.
‘Merry Christmas, Strega Nona’ By Tomie dePaola Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Sept. 12, 2023 Hardcover: 32 pages

‘'Twas the Day Before Christmas in Bethlehem Town’

Santa Claus and elves aside, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the birth of Jesus Christ. Written from the perspective of a young Bethlehem boy, the story follows Ben and his encounter with Jesus in the manger. At first, he is bothered by the crowds who had come to town for the census, but his one small act of kindness leads him to something bigger. 
A story that has been told and retold for many generations, it is the narrative of Jesus’s birth seen here from a young shepherd boy’s eyes. With its lyrical rhymes and meter, it is a riveting read-aloud that youngsters will want to hear over and over.
‘Twas The Day Before Christmas in Bethlehem TownBy Leslie Bond Diggins and Erin Nielson Pauline Books and Media, Oct. 16, 2023 Hardcover: 40 pages
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Meet Your Guide
Lynn Topel is a freelance writer and editor based in Maryland. When not busy homeschooling her sons, she enjoys reading, traveling, and trying out new places to eat.