I love reading with my kids.  And I especially love reading books about winter holidays. Reading books allows us to see how children and families around the world celebrate and acknowledge this special time.  I’ve put together a list of some of our favorite winter holiday books from us here at HistoryUnboxed that focus on Solstice, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hanukkah celebrations. Looking to learn more about winter holidays? Check out our Winter Holidays Unboxed downloadable lesson for in-depth lessons on winter holiday celebrations with hands on activities, recipes, and even more books!

Sun Bread by Elisa Kleven. This is a fun animal story great for younger children and includes a sun bread recipe!

The Night Tree by Eve Bunting. Every Christmas even, a family goes into the forest to decorate the same tree with food for the birds and animals.  While technically a Christmas book, I’ve included it as a Solstice book because I think this type of tradition is often associated with the Solstice and will resonate with anyone wanting to give back to nature.

Luke and the Longest Night by Kathleen Converse. From Moondust Press “Luke loves the winter solstice, a celebration filled with songs, treats, and best of all gifts. But when a thunderstorm turns out the lights on his Yule party, Luke will remember what really matters most—the joy of being with those we love.”

A Solstice Tree for Jenny by Karen Shragg. Jenny feels left out because her family doesn’t celebrate any winter holiday traditions. When she learns about solstice celebrations, her family decides to bring home a small tree to decorate.

The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson. Learn all about the winter solstice – both scientific reasons and the way it’s been celebrated throughout time and around the world.

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis. This multi-award winning book is a modern folktale about seven quarreling brothers and the invention of kente cloth. It was written especially to be read during Kwanzaa.

The Gifts of Kwanzaa by Synthia Saint James. This book introduces the 7 principles of Kwanzaa and how African-Americans celebrate the holiday.

My First Kwanzaa Book by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate. Explains the celebration of Kwanzaa through the lens of family and cultural traditions.

It’s Kwanzaa Time by Linda and Clay Goss. In her Kwanzaa book list for PBS Kids, Angela Shelf Medearis describes this book as “award-winning artists come together to illustrate the Goss’ book that explains Kwanzaa. From the seven foundational principles of the holiday to recipes, stories and games, this book has it all for Kwanzaa celebrators, lovers and learners.”

Kwanzaa Karamu by April Brady. Recipes for a traditional Kwanzaa Feast!

A Children’s Book of Kwanzaa: A Guide to Celebrating the Holiday  by Delores Johnson. Angela Shelf Medearis describes this book as “essentially a beginner’s guide to the holiday, accompanied by bold and captivating illustrations. The book finishes with activities, recipes and ideas for young readers to get the most out of Kwanzaa celebrations.”

Christmas Books

Mr. Willougbys Christmas Tree by Robert Barry. A cute story where Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas tree arrives and its too tall for the room! He cuts a little bit off the top and from there his tree is shared throughout the house and the animals in the forest.

Construction Site on Christmas Night by Shari Duskey Rinker. Cute story for preschoolers and younger elementary students about construction equipment banding together to finish a new firehouse by Christmas.

A World of Cookies for Santa by M.E. Furman. Go on a delicious trip around the world to see the different kinds of foods kids leave for Santa.

The Real Santa by Nancy Redd. A Black child wonders if the real Santa looks like him and sets out to capture a photo on Christmas Eve.

Little Krampus and the Magical Sleigh Ride by Killian S. Wolf.  A sweet and non scary way to look at Scandinavian Christmas lore like Krampus and the Yule Lads with adorable illustrations and sweet rhymes.

The following books are presented from a Christian worldview in the vein of Christian mythology & folklore. They are all picture books. 

Silent Night by Lora Hawthorne. A beautifully illustrated book that brings to life the famous lyrics of Silent Night.  We like this book for the diverse representation of the characters.

The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tommy dePaola. This book in the classic Tommy dePaola style tells the Mexican legend of how the beautiful poinsettia came to be.

The Legend of St. Nicholas by Demi. Demi tells the story of St. Nicholas’s miracles in this beautifully gilded picture book.

Chanukah Lights Everywhere by Michael J. Rosen.  This is a sweet Hanukkah counting book, perfect for preschoolers and primary age students.

Celebrate Hanukkah with Light, Latkes, and Dreidels by Deborah Heiligman. Non-fiction book about Hanukkah features photographs of Jewish children all over the world, plus a recipe for latkes, directions for playing dreidel, and a history of the holiday.

The Eight Knights of Hanukkah by Leslie Kimmelman.  A dragon named Dreadful terrorizes a fantasy medieval kingdom, and eight knights must “fix things with some deeds of awesomeness, kindness, and stupendous bravery.” Great for elementary age students.

Red, Green, Blue, and White by Lee Wind. In this beautifully illustrated true story, Lee Wind tells of a community that came together in solidarity in the aftermath of a violent act against a Jewish family during Hanukkah.

Little Red Ruthie by Gloria Koster. A Little Red Riding Hood story with Jewish food and traditions!

These are just a few of the many Solstice, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hanukkah books out there.  Do you have any favorites to add to the list?

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