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A new set of stories is such a wonderful treat for a young one who loves reading. One of the few times you can captivate the attention of a group of 20 young preschoolers and command real silence (mostly) that they actually want to give is when you’re reading to them. It’s especially nice for them to come back from the holiday break with a stack of new to them books to share with their peers and learn the gift of sharing along with reading.
Educational Christmas Reading Gifts for Kids 4 and Under
The Berenstain’s The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving
Brother Bear and Sister Bear are looking forward to the excitement of opening presents on Christmas morning. Their Christmas Eve pageant reveals that there is joy to be found in giving as well.
Mercer Mayer’s Merry Christmas Mom and Dad
Join Little Critter in his preparations for Christmas. This book is a classic and gives us a few small ideas for making traditions of our own.
Yangsook Choi’s The Name Jar
It’s tough enough being a new kid but it gets harder when you come with a name that other kids can’t easily pronounce. Unhei tries to overcome this by planning to choose a new Americanized name but a classmate helps her embrace her Korean name and heritage.
Maria Dismondy’s Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun
Children are often admonished to “do unto others”, but the corresponding lesson of teaching people how to treat them back can be overlooked, leaving kids unequipped to deal with meanness and bullying. This story encourages kids to stay true to themselves instead of responding with like meanness.
Mem Fox’s Whoever You Are
It’s always important to teach kids to have empathy for others. The first way to do that is to share how similar we are, even if we look or speak different from each other. The core of our humanity, love and laughter, are shared across cultures, races, and creeds.
Grace Lin’s Dim Sum for Everyone!
This book makes me hungry. If you’ve never had dim sum, this delightful board book shares the unique dining experience complete with the small dishes wheeled out on trolleys with a huge variety of tasty treats.
Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes’s Lost and Found Cat
Kunkush the cat is part of the family so when this Iraqi family must flee, they secretly take him to Greece. In the confusion, he runs away and it takes months to reunite him with his family.
Rukhsana Khan’s Big Red Lollipop
Sibling shenanigans are in full force when Rubina is forced to bring her terribly behaved younger sister to a birthday party. Sana’s behaviors are so bad, Rubina isn’t invited to another party for a long while. When it’s Sana’s turn to bring baby Maryam to a birthday party, Rubina generously intercedes and saves her from repeating history.
Salina Yoon’s Penguin and Pinecone
Penguin makes a new friend with a lost Pinecone, taking it on one adventure after another, until Pinecone catches cold! He goes on a long journey to return Pinecone to a milder climate and they both learn a special lesson about friendship and love.
Carmen Agra Deedy’s The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!
Bossy Don Pepe is the new major of the happy village, La Paz, who outlaws all singing. There’s one rooster who won’t let that stop him doing what he’s born to do, though.
Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Emmanuel was dismissed by everyone because of his deformed leg, except his mother. She encouraged him to keep pressing forward and he goes on to exceed everyone’s imaginations.
Margarita Engle’s Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music
Inspired by the real life story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl, this beautiful picture book takes you to a time and place when only boys were allowed to play the drums. Her persistent practice in secret made her the first Cuban female drummer and broke the Cuban taboo against female drummers.
Chieri Uegaki’s Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
Hana’s brothers try to dissuade her from playing in the upcoming school talent show because she’s only had three lessons, but she remembers that their grandfather played wonderfully and she practices faithfully. By the time the show comes around, despite her nerves, she surprises everyone in attendance.
Il Sung Na’s A Book of Sleep
This lovely picture book helps kids wind down to get ready for bed along with all the animals that are getting ready to go to sleep. It’s the perfect segue to say good night to all of the animals and then to the reading adult before the lights are turned off.
Katherine Ayres’s Arriba, Abajo y Alrededor
This fun Spanish language book teaches Spanish and animal and botanical life to young ones with all kinds of familiar things like butterflies and ant.
Michelle Knudsen’s Library Lion
There are strict rules in the library that everyone knows. But what does a lion know about library rules? It turns out this lion seems to understand how to get along in a library, until there’s an accident one day.
Danica McKellar’s Goodnight, Numbers
This bedtime book gently teaches young children about numbers in the world around them and gets them ready for peaceful sleep all at once.
Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
This story about Whoville and the Grinch who stole Christmas is a classic and gave rise to the Grinchmas holiday tradition of teaching readers to grow their own hearts three sizes.
Deborah Diesen’s The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish
The Pout-Pout fish has a hard time with the true meaning of giving gifts at Christmas but this Christmas, Mr. Fish will learn what’s most important of all.
Norman Bridwell ‘s Clifford’s Christmas
Clifford the Big Red Dog is another classic that all kids should get a chance to read. Clifford’s a well-meaning oversized dog who just tries to help people with mixed results.
What were your favorite books to find wrapped under the Christmas tree?