10 Books Worth Putting on Your Kids’ Christmas Lists

10 Books to Add to Your Kids' Christmas Lists | A Simple Haven

I know, I know. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

I hear you. Usually, I restrain all the Christmas stuff until we’ve been properly grateful.

But with baby #3’s arrival quickly approaching, I’m determined to have all of my Christmas shopping done long before Thanksgiving and all decor up the day after.

We’re keeping Christmas plans loose and minimal this year, for obvious reasons: I could be spending Christmas in the hospital. Or at home with a newborn. Or still hugely pregnant.

None of which are particularly ideal, but if Buckaroo’s birth taught me anything, it’s that babies come at the perfect time.

In any case, thanks to organization via Amazon wishlists, Hubs and I are basically done shopping for our kids.

It’s no secret that I love books. But I especially love giving them to my kids. So I thought I’d share some favorites that I’ve given or received over the last few years–in case you’re ready to hop on the Christmas train, too :).

Note: This is by no means a complete list of my favorite books for kids. But these are the ones we return to most frequently, I imagine we’ll re-read in the future, or that are particularly sweet or unique.

There are others I know will be beloved as my daughter and son get older (I cannot wait to start The Chronicles of Narnia), but for now, these have been enjoyed by one or both–at 4 1/2 and almost 3 years old.

10 Favorite Books to Give Children

(In no particular order)

Pantone Colors Book

1.) The Pantone Colors Book

Both of my kids love this one and they’re not alone–I could stare at it for hours. Each page has about 30 shades of a particular color, each whimsically named and noted with its particular Pantone number.

We “read” it by asking each child to point to their favorite shades (then we tell them the name), asking them to describe the colors (which one is lighter/darker? has more blue/green in it?), and asking how they’re alike/different.

Anne of Green Gables

2.) Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

I’m reading this aloud to Bun right now and we’re both loving it. It might help that I’m reliving my drama days by doing voices for every character ;).

It’s a classic for a reason, folks. Anne is hilarious, Marilla is fabulous, and Matthew is precious beyond words. I’ll probably skip over some parts (Matthew dying will be too much for Bun to handle after our poor cat died this year), but generally it’s been the perfect daily segue to “quiet rest time.”

We’re using an old paperback version, but I’m so tempted to grab this beautiful new hardback version by Rifle Paper Co artist Anna Bond.


3.) Heidi by Johanna Spyri

I promise I’m not just recommending this one because of the beautiful cover (another new Puffin in Bloom). We listened to the audio version in the car and I found myself sitting in parking lots longer than necessary to just to find out what happened next.

It’s got redemption, humor, and characters you root for.  Another classic for a reason.

Brambly Hedge

4.) The Brambly Hedge Series by Jill Barklem

The only thing I don’t like about this series is that there are only eight books. Sigh.

Sweet stories of woodland mice in the English countryside, illustrated beautifully. I read these when I was little and they’re still captivating. Apparently Barklem spent five years researching traditional rural customs before she began writing–it shows in the pictures.

Some are out of print, but you can get used ones in good condition on Amazon.


5.) Jamberry by Bruce Degen

Another favorite from my own childhood that both of my kids love. Great illustrations (Degen also did the Magic School Bus and Jesse Bear series) and rhyming I can handle (I’m burnt out on Suess right now).

Bonus: it comes in board-book format for little ones.

Jesus Storybook Bible

6.) The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally-Lloyd Jones

This is my favorite kids’ Bible, hands-down. I sobbed through it as I read it to newborn Bun (may have been the hormones, but it’s also just that good). We still read it regularly and I use it for advent devotionals for the kids.

The collector’s edition went on Bun’s wishlist this year after I heard a sample of David Suchet’s fabulous narration. She listens to audio books during her daily quiet rest time and this one is good enough to make me want to give up my own quiet rest time and join her. (Almost).

Little House

7.) The Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

While on a date, Hubs and I bought this boxed set at a local used bookshop. That he wanted to spend part of our date in a used bookshop and was as excited as me to score the set for $7 made me love him even more.

We’ve read nearly all of the books plus listened to the audio ones so I know it’s a series we’ll return to again and again.

Press Here

8.) Press Here by Hervé Tullet

This fun, clever book is a bedtime favorite. It’s interactive and unique, holding the attention of even the most wiggly toddler boy.

I’ll probably pick up Tullet’s latest at some point–it looks like a cross between Press Here and the Pantone book.

The Brave Cowboy

9.) The Brave Cowboy by Joan Walsh Anglund

A day in the life of a little boy who imagines himself to be a brave cowboy, rescuing maidens, rounding up bandits, scaring rattlesnakes, and riding out on the prairie. The illustrations are clever and precious.

Audrey Bunny

10.) Audrey Bunny by Angie Smith

Such a precious story of a bunny who tries to hide her imperfections from her owner, but discovers she is loved in spite of them.

Breezy Brookshire illustrated it–I love this art print by her as well.

Bonus: The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson

I’m in the midst of these now and am surprised by how much I’m enjoying them. Peterson has such a gift for storytelling. They’re a bit Narnia-esque in that they’re kids’ fantasy lit colored by a Christian worldview. Will probably read them to my kids when they’re several years older.

What are your favorite children’s books to read or give? I’d love to hear!

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About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • brenda v.

    I sure see some of my favorite J and K books on your list. My motto when purchasing any children’s book is………….. take the time to read the book right there in the store, see how it reads, check the content to be sure it’s appropriate age wise and it should work. And always write a message w/ your name/date on the inside cover of the book. That can be special too.

  • Katie

    Thank you so much for this post, Jenn! I just ordered several of your suggestions for our kiddos’ Christmas. 🙂 I really enjoy your blog – truly graceful and intentional.

    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Katie! Hope your family enjoys the new books! 🙂

      • Katie

        Got ’em today! Now for self-control to wait until Christmas . . . that doesn’t mean I can’t read them, right? 😉