12 Best Holiday Books for Kids of All Ages

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12 Best Holiday Books for Kids of All Ages

Enjoy a relaxing and peaceful afternoon this holiday season with a great book (or two, or three)! Starting a reading list in the winter as the year winds down, is an awesome way to get an early start on a New Year’s resolution as well as foster a continued love of reading and creativity within your kids!

Whether they’re curled up under the tree waiting for Santa’s arrival or stationed next to the window as snow flutters down from the sky, a good holiday book will take them to new worlds and get them into the spirit.

Psst… Here are the best holiday experiences around New York!

Early Readers

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Ages 2 to 5

What can be better than a snow day! Rise and shine and explore with a little boy named Peter in this award-winning, classic tale about the adventure and wonderment of a first snowfall. 

Together for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford 

Ages 2 to 7

Celebrate this African American and Pan-African holiday with young Kayla and her family! Kwanzaa is Kayla’s favorite time of year – from the food, the festivities, and the time with family, but this year it seems her whole family won’t be together for the celebration.

Will a snowstorm keep her brother away? Read along and find out! 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss

Ages 3 to 7

Introduce or reintroduce your children to this Christmas-time classic from legendary author Dr. Seuss and learn how Christmas was almost ruined by “this mean fellow, with his skin all green and his teeth all yellow.”

 

 

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Ages 3 to 7

All ABOARD! Slip on your slippers, don your nightgown and cap, and hold tight to your golden ticket as you take a magical ride with a young boy through the Christmas Eve night to the North Pole. If the reindeer’s bell still jingles for you, perhaps you will get a Christmas wish, too! 

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel

Ages 4 to 8

Since 1989, this award-winning, entertaining, and engaging folktale has been educating young children of the spirit of Hanukkah!

Follow along with Hershel of Ostropol on the Eve of Hanukkah, as he attempts to bring the holiday to a small village, but first he’ll have to rid them of eight unwanted guests: goblins! 

Middle Grade

Best Holiday Books for Kids of All Ages

Penina Levine is a Potato Pancake by Rebecca O’Connell

Ages 8 to 12

Penina is the only one in her family who isn’t looking forward to Hanukkah this year. How can she be excited when she’s dealing with her annoying sister, her favorite teacher taking a leave of absence and her best friend deserting her to go on a vacation to Aruba?

But when Penina gains some new perspective, she realizes she’s the only one who can bring some holiday spirit to her friends and family.

Best Holiday Books for Kids of All Ages

Nutcracked by Susan Adrian

Ages 8 to 12

When Georgie lands the role of Clara in the Nutcracker ballet, it’s literally a dream come true. She enters a magical world whenever she dances with the Nutcracker doll.

But when the Nutcracker’s magic seeps into the real world and puts her friend in danger, Georgie has to find a way to save her friend, the Nutcracker and herself.

Christmas Carol & the Defenders of Claus by Robert L. Fouch

Ages 8 to 12

What could possibly be the downside of Christmas? Living in a land of snow-less Decembers and your only relative being the personification of the Grinch might do the trick.

This year’s upside, however? Young Carol has been called upon by the man in the red suit himself to assume her birthright as a Defender of Claus. Read along and find out if Carol is up to the challenge or if Christmas will be no more!

Dreidels on the Brain by Joel Ben Izzy

Ages 9 to 12

Oy! What a spin! It’s 1971 in “The Land of Shriveled Dreams” or Los Angeles as it’s more commonly known and all aspiring magician 12-year-old Joel is wishing for these eight nights is to be a superhero: Normalman. However, his wish is no small feat.

Tag along and learn the value of family, heritage, laughter, and the art of illusion, in this American Hanukkah story!

Young Adult

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Ages 13 to 17

In this twist on the classic Scrooge tale, 17-year-old Holly Chase was once visited by three specters of Christmas past, present, and future. Unlike the original Scrooge, though, the message of goodwill and changing one’s ways doesn’t quite sink in for Holly.

Her punishment? Become the latest Ghost of Christmas Past. Following along with Holly on numerous Christmas Eve nights as she saves countless miserly grouches and perhaps, eventually, herself.

Best Holiday Books for Kids of All Ages

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

Ages 13 to 18

No matter what you celebrate this season, there’s a story in this anthology for you!

Featuring 12 stories from 12 bestselling young adult authors (including heavy-hitters like Jenny Han, David Levithan and Rainbow Rowell), My True Love Gave to Me gets right to the heart of the holiday season. There’s something in this book for everyone.

Best Holiday Books for Kids of All Ages

How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow

Ages 14 to 17

Shani doesn’t plan on starting her winter break internship off with hitting a pretty girl, May, with her mom’s car.

All Shani wants to do is focus on her internship and forget about how her ex-girlfriend broke her heart, but that gets harder when May ends up back on her radar after accepting a dog-walking job for May’s dad.

When Shani and May get snowed in together on Christmas Eve, Shani has to decide whether or not she’s ready to put her heart on the line again. This queer and Jewish twist on the classic Christmas romantic comedy is perfect for teens this season.

Relevant Directory Listings

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Chickenshed NYC

<p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1.3em; margin-top: 0px; caret-color: #515151; color: #515151; font-family: nimbus-sans, sans-serif;">Chickenshed is an inclusive theatre company that began in the UK in 1974. Chickenshed NYC is a young organization bringing that same ethos and unique methodology to the USA. Chickenshed’s mission is to create entertaining and outstanding theatre that celebrates diversity and inspires positive change.</p> <p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1.3em; margin-top: 0px; caret-color: #515151; color: #515151; font-family: nimbus-sans, sans-serif;">Chickenshed's model of Inclusive Theatre is based in the belief that everyone can flourish when everyone is included. At Chickenshed everyone is welcome, everyone is valued, and together we produce remarkable theatre. We want to break down barriers between people to create a world without labels and where differences no longer divide. At Chickenshed, support is given to those who need it, and given by those who can . We believe that creative activities, self-expression and performance should be available to anyone who has the desire, no matter their background or circumstances. We know that when everyone has the opportunity to shine, amazing things happen.</p> <p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1.3em; margin-top: 0px; caret-color: #515151; color: #515151; font-family: nimbus-sans, sans-serif;">Chickenshed NYC provides programming for little ones, children and youth through semester-long activities and performances.</p>

HudsonWay Immersion School

<p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">A pioneer in language immersion since 2005. After school language classes provide a fun and effective way for preschool and elementary children to learn Mandarin or Spanish language skills through project based learning and fun, engaging themes.</span></p>

Penguin Coding School

<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Penguin Coding School believes that </span><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">anyone can code</span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">. The most compelling motivation for learning to code is that it enables building something kids can call their own. What makes this approach "worth it" for the kids is that at the end of the road, they see that their code actually does things in the real world. Not in some playpen, but in the real Internet where anyone can access it. </span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Programs:</span></strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><strong> </strong>Penguin Coding School </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">provides comprehensive coding education to kids ages 5-18. 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Penguin Coding has in-person classes and summer camps in Cobble Hill and Park Slope, as well as three Massachusetts locations. </span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><strong><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Free Trial Classes: </span></strong></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-115c8d0a-7fff-6ffb-9ee2-4fd4aa248c0a"></span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.656; text-align: justify; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Sign up for our award-winning</span><a style="text-decoration: none;" href="https://penguincodingschool.com/freetrial?utm_campaign=FreeTrials&utm_source=NYF&utm_medium=Directory"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto, sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #1155cc; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: underline; -webkit-text-decoration-skip: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">free trial classes</span></a><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Roboto,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: #ffffff; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">. They offer a 60 minute free trial class in Scratch, Python, Roblox, Java, Robotics and much more! Appropriate for absolute beginners as well as those with some experience (trial classes are used to place students in the right level).</span></p>