Some lovely books for Christmas in Irish libraries…

A homeschooling father of four in Dublin put together a list of books he has enjoyed with his children for Christmas and Advent over his many years of homeschooling.  The descriptions below are his, links to the library added by yours truly…

  • The Jesse Tree Geraldine McCaughrean – A ‘story for every day of advent’ – older children, a keeper. (Lots of copies at the library)
  • Wenceslas McCaughrean/Birmingham, Story of the Carol – Beautiful illustrations. (Lots of copies at the library)
  • The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Wojciechowski/P J Lynch – Heirloom! (Lots of copies at the library
  • The Gift of the Magi by O Henry, illustrated by P J Lynch – Famous poignant story of love, older children, magnificent. (Lots of copies at the library)
  • Little Lost Angel, Zobel-Nolan, illustrated by Clearwater – Very young interactive story book. (Athy and other libraries outside Dublin)
  • A Classic Christmas Treasury, illustrated by Christian Birmingham – Large format treasure including Why the Chimes Rang. (Many libraries)
  • The Witness, Westall/Williams – Cat travels with the Magi picture story book. (Galway, Wexford libraries)
  • The Journey to Bethlehem by Chris Molan – Discover their world as it was on the journey and beyond. Useful context setting story/picture book. (Dublin, Donaghmede  and Wexford libraries)
  • A Christmas Story by Brian Wildsmith.  Shorter story. Girl, donkey and trailing cat end up in Nativity Story. Picture book with ‘gold’ leaf. (Lots of copies at the library)
  • An Angel Just Like Me by Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu – Story book which in a gentle, reasonable way questions why angels skin colour doesn’t normally reflect the reality of non-caucasian children. (Lots of copies at the library)
  • The Christmas Mouse by Toby Forward & Ruth Brown – Story book retelling of A Christmas Carol with mice mirroring underground what’s going on above, lovely. (Lots of copies at the library)
  • Two fun filled, observational accounts of Nativity Plays: The Nativity Play by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen (Many libraries) and Angel Mae by the great Shirley Hughes (Lots of copies at the library), both reinforce the normality of incorporating the Christian Story in everyday real life. 
  • The Oxford Cool of Christmas Stories is a mixed bag of short stories for much older children, some quite dark but containing a magnificent 4 page short story, Court Martial by Charles C O’Connell, about courage under pressure and the unseen or unknown fruits of actions done with love and integrity. (Lots of copies in the library)
  • Lost Christmas by David Logan is another non religious but atmospheric and original take for this time of year, read aloud for older children; we all loved it. (Lots of copies in the library)  
  • And finally, the wonderful and very faithful Wind in the Willows sequels by William Horwood: The Willows in Winter and the Willows at Christmas are superb and atmospheric read aloud substantial paper back length books.  There are 2 other non winter sequels, Toad Triumphant and The Willows and Beyond.  (Lots of copies at the library)

He also recommended the following books which are not in the library

  • Stations of the Nativity, Kelley/Boadt – Clever telling of nativity story in original and prayerful Stations format. (Not in the library)
  • Bright Star Night by Lois Rock – Super little advent participative prayer/story book – all ages.  (Not in the library)
  • The New Star by Carroll & Ambrus – Astronomer mirrors the story of creation to the resurrection with what was going on in space, great for science orientated youngster, and cool flaps to reveal story. (Not in the library)
  • The Glorious Impossible – Text by the wonderful author Madeleine L’Engle telling the Nativity story through the images of Giotto’s Frescoes.  Large format for older children and adults.   (Not in Irish libraries)
  • One Wintery Night by Ruth Graham Bell (Billy Graham’s wife), illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson – A longer superbly illustrated telling of the story of creation up to the resurrection in the context of another story. A keeper. (Not in Irish libraries) 

There is so much more out there to discover and unearth with your children and friends, enjoy the journey of reading and discovery.