BCPL Staff Share Their Favorite Children’s Christmas Books

Children’s Christmas books or Holiday books often create treasured memories around a powerful story. We hold these memories from years ago and continue to make new memories every December.  Boone County Public Library staff members share their favorite Christmas or Holiday children’s book from their childhood and even some from today.

Dee Purcell, Youth Services Associate – Outreach                                                    Pick a Pine Tree                                     by Patricia Toht, Illustrated by Jarvis   This is my favorite Christmas book for this season!  Jarvis’ whimsical, watercolor graphics have a vintage, timeless quality as Toht’s rhyming prose invites the reader along to select the perfect pine tree. Our story winds through the process of choosing the best place to put up the tree, and unpacking special boxes of decorations and lights for tree-trimming. There’s even a golden star, a tree skirt, and toys to complete the look. Watching the decorating unfold to its sparkling completion has held the attention of all my young readers, even toddlers!!!  A sweet surprise for this holiday season!  Click here to read along!

Karen Harden, Youth Services Librarian        Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree                    by Robert Barry                                                I love this book!  It was originally released in 1963 with simple ink drawings and green wash illustrations. Re-released in 2000 in full color washes, the book is a charming story told in rhyming text that follows the top of a too-tall Christmas tree shared by a succession of smaller and smaller animals. The importance of recycling and the joy of found objects are as relevant today as they were 55 years ago.


Cindy Donaldson, Youth Services Associate                Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck AND Rocking Horse Christmas by Mary Pope Osborne                          The board book Christmas in the Manger is one of my favorites, and has made its way into the hands of many of my new parent friends at this time of year 🙂  Mary Pope Osborne’s Rocking Horse Christmas is another favorite, but it always makes me teary! There are really so many Christmas books I love! It’s a tradition in our house to get a new book on Christmas Eve. My mom always said she needed a present that would keep me occupied until Christmas morning, LOL. I carried that tradition on with our kids.


Julie Bockstiegel, Collection Services                                            The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg    My daughter and I enjoyed The Jolly Christmas Postman when she was young.  Many pages of the book are like envelopes and contain letters, puzzles, and games that the Postman delivers to various fairy tale characters. The illustrations are adorable and it is really fun to pull out the contents as you read along with the story.  My daughter is looking forward to reading it with her daughter this year!


Mary Steele, Page                                      ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore                                      I have always liked this story because my Dad read it to me every year.  I would sit on his lap in the living room after we put the tree up and he would read it while having me sound out some of the words.  It was a very special time every year.  If you still have your dad in your life, give him a hug.  I still miss mine.


Jennifer Cheek, Public Relations Specialist                                                Christmas Carols: a Little Golden Book by Marjorie Wyckoff                                 As a child, I was always drawn to this book because of the angels on the cover wearing calico print dresses, and then in awe of the vintage illustrations inside the book along with the sheet music. “The First Nowell” illustration is one of my favorites. The book was old when I had it as a child so is quite brittle now.  But I still love to pull it out and flip through the classic carols we all know by heart.


Sandy Jones, Youth Service Circulation Assistant                                             Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner          I don’t know if my selection actually qualifies for Christmas/Holiday, but…I love this book!  During my time at Goodridge Elementary, I would always choose this book to read and it was always a hit with the kiddos as it was for my daughter too.  If one has ever wondered what snowmen do at night this will answer that curious question and have you rolling with laughter.


Angie Grandstaff, Youth Services Manager  Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehnersto                                                    Ever wonder what snowmen do at night?  This book gives us a peek of snowmen in action at Christmas time.  The illustrations are so fun and colorful.  It’s a great read any time, but especially at Christmas.




Joy Adams, Technical Services Specialist            The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson.                                                            This is a humorous story about a family of kids who find the true meaning of Christmas. I suggest you watch the movie after reading the book!





Taylor Rasor, Youth Services Associate                                          Christmas Wombat by Jackie French                                              I love this book!  It is perfect for younger elementary school kids who love a good laugh. Just like the original book, Diary of a Wombat, this book is told through short diary like entries of a hungry wombat who discovers carrots and some reindeer. She accidentally stows away in Santa’s sleigh and gets to travel with him all around the world eating all the carrots she finds.


Candace Clark, Youth Services Associate – Outreach                                Jingle-Jingle by Nicola Smee                                                                                   This is one of my favorite books to share at this time of year because it is a jaunty action-adventure romp with cute animals through the snowy countryside, perfectly paced for 2-5 year old kiddos.



Chelsea Swinford, Youth Services Associate                                          Red and Lulu by Matt Tavares        I recommend this beautifully illustrated book, published in 2017, which tells the story of two cardinals who are separated when their pine tree home is cut down and carted away to serve as a Christmas tree. Red goes on an epic journey in hopes of reuniting with Lulu, and along the way he teaches us all a little something about the power of love and Christmas miracles.


Holly Calhoun, Youth Services Circulation Assistant                                Stowaway in a Sleigh by author and illustrator C. Roger Mader                        My favorite is a children’s picture book about a cat that slips into Santa’s sack on Christmas Eve.  I love cats as well as the must-see illustrations in this book.




Martha Regenbogen, Business Services Coordinator                                              The Friendly Beasts: a Little Golden Book                                                   My favorite Christmas poem is The Friendly Beasts, preferably the version put out by “a Little Golden Book”.  It is a twelfth century English carol that tells the story of what gift each beast brought to the Baby Jesus.

Best of 2018, according to BCPL Staff

Here are 15 titles that the staff of Boone County Public Library loved this year.

  1. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing By Hank Green 
    Katie Widener, Digital Services Librarian: “I loved The lead character, April May. She finds herself at the leading edge of a world wide extraterrestrial event as she is the first person to post a video about the unmovable 10-foot, armor wearing statues that have appeared in major cities all over the word. The book is both a great science fiction first contact story and an interesting look at how social media has changed the hows and whys of fame.”
  2. Two Girls down by Lousia Luna
    Cindy Donaldson, Youth Services: “This a suspense novel kept me turning pages, and the ending didn’t disappoint. I’d like to see more of the detective team from this story.”
  3. Cruel Prince by Holly Black
    Cayla Robinson, Youth Services: “This Young Adult novel focuses on a teen girl who has been raised in a Faerie realm and gets involved in political drama and espionage. It is very good and I highly recommend it!”
  4. Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J Maas
    Taylor Rasor, Youth Services: “Sarah J Maas never lets me down and this book was a mix of action, mystery, and realistic romance. It tackles a few real life issues in the book like PTSD.  I also don’t think you need to be familiar with the Batman universe to enjoy or understand the story.”
  5. The Best Cook In the World: Tales From My Momma’s Table by Rick Bragg
    Vicki Durham, Information Services: “This book encompasses a love & art of practical southern home cooking, passed down from generation to generation. Rick Bragg writes very illustrative chapters on his momma’s recipes, I could smell the biscuits baking as I read!”
  6. Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage
    Suzanne Yowler, Circulation: “This book is about a seven-year-old girl who is a psychopath. She loves her father and hates her mother. The girl is basically plotting her mother’s death throughout the book. It grabbed me from the beginning. Little Hannah is very creepy and you do not know what she is going to do next. It ended very differently than I expected, but it was still satisfying. It was the author’s debut novel and I can’t wait to see what she does next.”
  7. A Higher Loyalty by James Comey
    Ginger Stapp, Early Literacy Specialist: “Regardless of a person’s perspective on the current political climate, I found Comey’s desire for integrity and rule of law above partisan politics and respect for persons inspiring.  It’s controversial, which made me want to read it for myself. That way I decide what I believe and don’t believe about issues rather than having someone tell me what to think.”
  8. The Overstory by Richard Powers
    Kathleen Piercefield, Circulation: “I’ve read several 2018 books that made a lasting impression, but the one that really topped (pun intended!) them all was, The Overstory. It’s a novel about trees. There are also plenty of humans in the story, and some of them make incredible sacrifices in an effort to protect an old growth forest from destruction, but the true protagonists are the trees themselves. Powers’ tale draws on some of the latest research about trees’ interconnections, with each other and with other species; the science he includes is fascinating and thought provoking. The narrative has a unique structure — initially it appears as a series of unrelated short stories, but as the book progresses, connections are gradually revealed — like the hidden roots that link trees — to bind the disparate parts into a whole.  Loved it!
  9. There There by Tommy Orange
    Kelly Bilz, Local History: “This was my favorite book of 2018! In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I wrote about it in another blog! It featured a cast of complex characters, and the finale was very suspenseful.”
  10. The Witch Elm, by Tana French
    Kathy Driefuss, Technical Services Librarian: “After suffering a brain injury during a burglary at his apartment, Toby goes to stay with his terminally ill uncle Hugo. When a skull is found in a hollow elm tree on Hugo’s property, Toby becomes a suspect. But with his brain injury, he can’t be sure that he’s not responsible.”
  11. How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson
    Julie Bockstiegel, Collection Services:  “I really enjoyed this book. It’s is a sequel to I Don’t Know How She Does It, published in 2002. In the new book, Kate Ready is returning to work after taking some “time out” for being a mom. While trying to find a new job, Kate realizes she is part of the “sandwich generation”, where she has to help with problems her kids, husband and parent/parents-in-law are having. While humorous in tone, there are situations and reflections that really ring true. I listened to the audio version and thought the narrator was excellent.
  12. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
    Kelley Brandeberry, Information Services: “I can’t pick just one!! I have two nominations for best of 2018!” Every Note Played is a story about a concert pianist who discovers he has ALS and his ex-wife who returns to care for him in his final months. It is a beautiful story–well-written with many layers and complex characters. I know it sounds like the book would be terribly sad (and it is), but it is also uplifting and hopeful as we watch the main characters become better people by the end of the book.
  13. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
    Kelley Brandeberry, Information Services: Spinning Silver is a fantasy novel that follows the lives of three female main characters in a place where winter keeps lasting longer and longer and life keeps getting harder and harder. Each of these women faces different, difficult circumstances, but they use what the have to solve problems and rise above their circumstances. Each of the female protagonists was strong in their own way and became a force for good in terrible circumstances.
  14. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
    Denise Lorson, Circulation: Hannah takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster. I could not put this book down!”
  15.  Karen Helmle, Page Supervisor: “This story of loss and the healing of broken hearts is amazing. Crafted as a fairy tale of sorts, it made me cry!”