Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Reading Through the Nativity Updated

Here is a list of some of the books we have used over the years to open throughout the Nativity Fast.  It is not comprehensive (my books are already wrapped, and I am sure I as we open them I will find a few I forgot), but it contains most of our families top picks.  Some of these books are out of print, but most are still available used.  I have offered a few details as I saw fit, and this collection represents 12 years of gathering books.  While it is occasionally a joy to add a new book here or there, if it is worthy and beautiful, both in language and in illustrations, we are very content with the current selection, and it offers more than enough reading for the season without becoming a burden.  We also have a selection of books related to saints of the season, I will add those in a later post.  If you have a favorite that is not listed below, please leave a comment with the title to share with others.

St Nicholas Books

*The Legend of St Nicholas – Demi – beautiful illuminated illustrations
The Real Santa Claus – Marianna Mayer
The Real St. Nicholas – Louis Carus – collection of stories from around the world, large volume your family will read aloud from for years
*The Saint Who Became Santa Claus – Evelyn Bence – great explanation of how Santa Claus came to be – short story book (oop, but can get a cheap used copy)
Saint Nicholas, The Real Story of the Christmas Legend – Julie Stiegmeyer – good story – St Nicholas portrayed in more Catholic looking vestments
The Miracle of St Nicholas – Gloria Whelan – Orthodox Russian Christmas miracle story - this book brings me to tears every year
The Baker’s Dozen – Aaron Shepard – a legend of a St. Nicholas miracle – the story of how 13 came to mean a baker’s dozen

Nativity Books

*Who is Coming to our House?  - Joseph Slate – great repetitive rhyme book – excellent for younger ones (though my 10yo loves it too!) tells story of the animals in the stable preparing for Mary and Joseph to arrive
The Miraculous Child – Alvin Alexsi Currier – Orthodox tale of a Russian Christmas miracle, great story, language a bit stilted in English
The Legend of the Candy Cane – Lori Walburg (fun story, though debated historically)
*Long Was the Winter Road They Traveled – J. Patrick Lewis – beautiful illustrations, told in rhyme
*The Very First Christmas – Paul L Maier – excellent book, accurate and detailed explanation of the nativity narrative, told by a mom answering questions from 8yo son – one of our very favorites
The Little Boy's Christmas Gift - John Speirs - the illustrations are breathtaking, as many join the journey to visit the newborn king, including a small boy with nothing to give him
The Donkey and The Golden Light - John Speirs - Beautiful story of a donkey who not only witnesses the birth of Christ, but then is also the one who carries Christ into Jerusalem and witnesses his death and resurrection
Silent Night – Margaret Hodges – beautiful history of how this hymn came to be
What Can I Give Him – Debi Gliori – good for young children – based on Rossetti poem
What is It The That the Christmas Tree is Telling Us? – Orthodox – translated stories about the Christmas tree – English is a bit awkward
The Story of the Nativity – Orthodox – again, translation a bit awkward
Tonight You Are My Baby - Jeannine Norris - no mother will be able to read this one without tears, so be forewarned, a very moving look at Christ's birth through the eyes of a mother who knows what is to come (I'm tearing up just typing about it)
Father and Son - Geraldine McCaughrean  - this is the father version of the above book, and also a sure bet for tears on the part of the reader - a look at the Nativity through the eyes of Joseph, who wonders how he can teach this child about the world when he was the One who created it
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey - Susan Wojciechowski - thanks to Mat. Emily for introducing this one to us last year, and the movie is wonderful as well!

* family favorites


Rebeca said...

Thanks you! I love to get recommendations for books. Hope you are enjoying this blessed season!

Kristine said...

Great book list! I have a few more to add that are both excellent for very small children.

St. Nicholas Book:
"My Stocking Is Filled With God's Love" by Crystal Bowman - Nice sturdy board book with sweet rhyming verses. Gives the history of St. Nicholas and reminds readers to remember Christ when you see a stocking.

Nativity Books:
"The Best Thing About Christmas" by Christine Harder Tangvald - Nice book for small children. It describes all the sights, smells, and sounds of Christmas, each time saying,"but that's not the BEST thing about Christmas...." At the end, it reveals the best thing about Christmas being the birth of Christ which is why we celebrate with all those special things. Very nice book in keeping with the true meaning of Christmas.

"The Little Lamb of Bethlehem" by Margaret Tempest -
Beautifully illustrated little book about the Christmas story told by a little lamb's point of view. I still have my mine from my childhood and my kids love to hear the story too. It's out of print now but if you are able to find it, it's a nice story to add to an advent book list.