We are less than a week away from Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa this year, but aside from knowing that gifts, games, family time, and festive treats await them, how do we explain to our children what these holidays are all about? My answer: With books. Here are a few books for each holiday that will help your children understand the root of what we are celebrating so soon!
The Christmas Story, by Jane Watson. This story beautifully and simply tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ in a child-friendly way, First published in 1952, this has been a long-standing classic that you and your kids can both enjoy and learn from.
The Very First Christmas, by Paul Maier. Our protagonist, Christopher, wants his mother to tell him real bedtime stories for a change—no more fairytales. So she decides to tell him about the miracle of Jesus’ birth. This takes the reader, and Christopher, through some challenging questions that are answered straight from the Bible. An excellent learning tool for those interested in the reason behind Christmas celebrations!
The Story of Hanukkah, by David Adler. No celebration of Hanukkah would be complete without recounting the events of more than two thousand years ago that started it all. In a simple yet dramatic text with coinciding paintings, the story of the courageous Maccabees and the miracle that took place in the Temple in Jerusalem is retold. The book also includes a recipe for latkes and directions for playing dreidel.
Energizing Hanukkah Story for Children, by Chaim Mazo. This tells the complete story of Hanukkah, including the battles, customs and laws of the holiday. It’s easy-to-follow and a blast to read!
My First Kwanzaa, by Karen Katz. This is perfect for very young readers to get acquainted with a holiday most of us in America don’t know much about. During the seven days of Kwanzaa, the importance of family, friends, and community are celebrated, and this book helps us all relate to and understand the lively celebration!
Together for Kwanzaa, by Juwanda Ford. This book follows the story of Kayla and her brother Khari as a snowstorm threatens to keep them from their Kwanzaa celebration. This story is a perfect introduction to Kwanzaa, and the book teaches children all about the traditions and practices that make it a special winter holiday.
I hope you find these recommendations helpful, and share the magic of the holidays with your children this season!