20+ Holiday Books for Young Readers (K-12th Grade)

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What could be better with a sweet snack and a cup of hot cocoa than a fun holiday read? When the days grow short and the nights grow long, all that time spent inside gives us the perfect excuse to curl up with a blanket by the fire and read a book. Help your young readers escape the cold this season with one of the heartwarming, side-splitting, and/or thought-provoking selections below.

K-2nd Grade

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Click, Clack, Ho! Ho! Ho!

by Doreen Cronin 

Part of the popular Click Clack series, this book will have your young reader rolling at the antics of Duck, who gets the entire barnyard stuck in quite a predicament! When Santa comes to the barnyard, will he be able to save the barnyard animals and Christmas?

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Pete the Cat’s 12 Groovy Days of Christmas

by James Dean  (Author, Illustrator), Kimberly Dean (Author)

Who doesn’t love this chilled out cat? Now your little one can explore the classic 12 Days of Christmas song in a whole new way. After all, who needs five golden rings when you could have five onion rings instead?

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Meet the Latkes

by Alan Silberberg

The Latkes are a family like any other…except they’re potato pancakes. And even though they’re a part of the Hanukkah tradition, they have no idea what Hanukkah is really about! Luckily, the family dog knows what’s up with the menorah, the Maccabees and dreidels, but will this silly family listen when he tries to set them straight?

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‘Twas Nochebuena

by Roseanne Greenfield Thong (Author), Sara Palacios (Illustrator)

Christmas Eve tradition meets Latino flair in this magical, bilingual holiday tale. Learn about traditions such as the midnight feast, complete with tamales and champurrado (hot chocolate). Your child may even learn some new Spanish words!

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Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

by Donna L. Washington  (Author), Shane W. Evans (Illustrator)

No matter whether you’re big or “li’l,” everyone can do something to help a person in need. This book, inspired by Brer Rabbit, explores the power of love and family as Li’l Rabbit does everything in his power to help Granna Rabbit feel better and celebrate Kwanzaa.

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Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama

by Selina Alko 

Two holidays are better than one in this book about blended holiday traditions. When Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama share their various traditions surrounding Christmas and Hanukkah, they make the holidays sparkle brighter than ever before. Kids will identify with Sadie and her love for her blended family.

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How to Catch an Elf

by Adam Wallace  (Author), Andy Elkerton (Illustrator)

What happens when an elf tries to deliver Christmas presents and gets discovered by kids trying to peek in on Santa? Hijinks, goofy traps, and fun galore! This acclaimed, adorable modern classic will have your little one giggling with glee.

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Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story

by Angela Shelf Medearis  (Author), Daniel Minter (Illustrator)

Seven boys under the same roof can only mean one thing: fights, fights and more fights. When their father passes away, he leaves a strange condition in his will: the brothers must work together to find a way to make gold out of seven spools of thread, or they will lose everything. This engaging story will tug on the heartstrings and give your young reader a taste of the true values of Kwanzaa.

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The 12 Sleighs of Christmas

by Sherri Duskey Rinker  (Author), Jake Parker  (Illustrator)

Elves are known for their toy-making abilities, which comes in handy when Santa’s sleigh is put out of commission. As competitive as they are creative, the elves come up with wild ideas for a sleigh design and present them to Santa, who will pick a winner. But is a new sleigh design really needed, or are some things meant to last forever?

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Oskar and the Eight Blessings

by Tanya Simon (Author), Richard Simon (Author), Mark Siegel  (Illustrator)

No matter where you’re from or which holidays you celebrate, all of us can find joy in even the simplest things in life. Set in the era of Nazi Germany, this timely read about a refugee who arrives in Manhattan with nothing but a photograph and the address of an aunt he’s never met will introduce your young reader to the complex emotions of grief and the importance of being kind to a stranger.

3rd-5th Grade

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A Boy Called Christmas

Christmas spirit is at an all-time low.  Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”—must go in search of his missing father, and even the elves don’t seem to believe anymore. But who better than a boy named Christmas to revive the holiday spirit again?

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The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

by Karina Yan Glaser

Five biracial siblings fight to save their home in this modern take on the “big family” stories you knew and loved. This heartwarming tale of love and community is a great addition to collections for grades 3-7.

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My Weird School Special: Deck the Halls, We’re Off the Walls!

by Dan Gutman  (Author), Jim Paillot (Illustrator)

The My Weird School series really gets kids reading, and this Christmas-themed installment is no exception. Your kids will laugh out loud at the crazy antics of the Ella Mentry School kids, and they’ll be thrilled to discover thirty-two pages of games, puzzles, and more when they reach the end of the book!

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Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 6)

by Jeff Kinney 

The famous Wimpy Kid is back, and this time he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. Greg Heffley is suspected of damaging school property, and the only thing between him and the authorities is a surprise blizzard. But how is he going to survive the holidays trapped inside with his family?

6th-8th Grade

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The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising, Book 2)

by Susan Cooper

On his eleventh birthday, Midwinter Day, Will Stanton discovers he is the last of the Old Ones, immortal beings dedicated to protecting the world from evil. This Newbery Award-winning fantasy twist on the twelve days of Christmas is an epic holiday tale.

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Little Women (Puffin in Bloom)

by Louisa May Alcott

Though not a dedicated “Christmas book,” Little Women is a must-read classic, especially around the holidays. Children (and adults) of all ages can relate to Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy and their story of love, perseverance and the importance of home and family.

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Nickel Bay Nick 

by Dean Pitchford

When a Good Samaritan, who leaves 45 $100 bills lying around in the city at Christmastime, disappears, eleven-year-old Sam Brattle takes it upon himself to do some sleuthing and uncover the cause of his disappearance. This Christmas mystery novel is sure to draw in even the most reluctant of readers.

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Dreidels on the Brain

by Joel ben Izzy

This “realistic, character-driven” (SLJ) novel tells the tale of Joel, a 12-year-old amateur magician who is the only Jew at his school. Joel grapples with problems any kid can relate to: trouble with kids at school, the pain of watching his father languish in a coma and struggles with his faith. Dreidels on the Brain is a Hanukkah tale with the makings of a true holiday classic.

Young Adult (9th-12th Grade)

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My New Crush Gave to Me

by Shani Petroff

In this clean teen romance, meet Charlie Donovan, a girl who thinks she knows exactly what–or rather, who–she wants. In an effort to win the heart of Teo Ortiz, the most popular boy in school, Charlie teams up with his cousin, J.D., her polar opposite and the one person in the world who annoys her the most. This story will make your young reader want to “bak(e) gingerbread cookies and bunuelos at any time of year” (VOYA).

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Claus: Legend of the Fat Man

by Tony Bertauski 

We think we know the legend of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, but is that really how it all went down? This reviewer-acclaimed sci-fi take on the Santa Claus origin story will intrigue your young or teen reader. Appropriate for 5th-12th graders.

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My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

by Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Laini Tayler & Kiersten White

At least one of these authors’ names should sound familiar to YA readers! From romance to classic Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa stories, your teen is sure to find their favorite holiday-themed short read in this lovely anthology.

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Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances

by John GreenLauren Myracle Maureen Johnson 

In a small town swept up in a Christmas Eve snowstorm, love can find you in the most unexpected of ways. These beloved YA authors will captivate your young reader with interconnected stories of friendship and chance meetings that blossom into love.

We hope this list was beneficial for you! If your student needs additional ideas for what to read, check out our suggested lists on Biblionasium.

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