We all know the best way to encourage literacy in our children is to read to them, and with them. There’s a special joy in sharing stories at bedtime – especially during the month of December.
There are so many wonderful children’s books to choose from, but everyone’s taste differs, so it’s difficult to recommend choices. For what it’s worth, here are a few of my favorites (in no particular order):
The House of Wooden Santas by Kevin Major – When I was a child, we received colorful Advent calendars each year from family friends in England. With 24 chapters, each introducing a unique wooden Santa, this book became a special kind of advent calendar for my son and I to share – a chapter a night through the month of December – during his early school years. The story is gripping, and as a special touch, the illustrative photos show real wooden Santas, carved by Nova Scotian woodcarver Imelda George.
Emma’s Cold Day by Margriet Ruurs – Poor Emma the hen is freezing out in the barn, so she sets out in search of a way to stay warm. Where she ends up amuses her farm family almost as much as the readers. I’ve read this book one-on-one and to groups of children in the library, and Emma is always a hit at this time of year.
The Gingerbread Man – with variations. This classic folktale is one of my perennial favorites, especially for preschool programs. I usually start by telling the original tale with felt cut-outs, add in a few variations for spice, and then bring out the gingerbread and icing for some hands-on cookie decorating fun. There are many illustrated versions of the Gingerbread Man. Here are a few variations worth checking out:
The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst
The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires
Gingerbread Baby, or Gingerbread Friends, by Jan Brett
Previously by Allan Ahlberg & Bruce Ingman
Can’t Catch Me by John & Ann Hassett
Of course, there are many more wonderful books to read with and to children at this time of year. What are some of your favorites?