Friday, December 13, 2013

Favorite Children's Books- Christmas Edition

Halfway through December every year, my children and I stock up on Christmas books at the library. We pick out every book that we love and try to find newcomers that we've never read before. This year we weren't able to find two of our favorites which means a trek down to our old library because we can't be ready for Christmas without them.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share them with you. The first is The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Barbara Cooney. 

It is a retelling of a Hans Christian Andersen story and Margaret Wise Brown's gentle, loving prose is perfect as usual. She sums up the love and miracle of Christmas in a way that feels personal as well as universal and all-encompassing. 

I was unfamiliar with the illustrator Barbara Cooney until I started reading books to my children but since then she has become a solid favorite of mine (and my babies, too). Her illustrations are simple and beautiful. Her work is not overly stylized but after a couple readings, it becomes as familiar as an old friend. (We just picked up a new-to-us Christmas book called The Story of Holly and Ivy illustrated by Ms. Cooney and it is beautiful and touching as well.)

Our other missing Christmas favorite is The Story of Christmas: A Picture Book retold and illustrated by Felix Hoffman.

Felix Hoffman was a Swiss graphic designer and also a stained-glass artist and his illustrations reflect both of these influences. His depictions of the Christmas story are some of the most original and beautiful I have ever seen. One illustration of Mary right after the baby Jesus' birth is so moving that every time I see it, I seriously consider keeping the book instead of returning it to the library. (That's true spirit of Christmas for you!) I'd share it with you but I couldn't find it online anywhere. But here are two others instead:

One of these days, I'm going to find this book so that I can have it permanently and look at the illustrations whenever I want. Until then, I'll be headed to the DC Library every December to pick it up and make my Christmas complete. I hope you can find these somewhere and experience how special they are for yourself.

Happy Weekend, Friends!


  1. Ohhh these are lovely! Especially the Felix Hoffmann illustrations! Nice sharing! (Sorry, I'm in mommy-mode now.)


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