Saturday, November 16, 2013

Our 2013 Advent & Christmas Book Baskets

Note: Our updated Advent & Christmas Picture Book Collection can be found here



We love books. We love Advent and Christmas. We love books about Advent and Christmas!

We started our Christmas book collection in 2000, following the birth of our oldest son, and we still love adding to it each year.  In 2007, following the release of Christmas Mosaic: An Illustrated Book Study for Children, we started reading a picture book as a family each day during Advent, incorporating some of Cay's wonderful study guides and activities. That same year our public libraries were all closed due to a lack of funding (and stayed closed for a few years) so I was very thankful to have her booklists to use as a guide when searching for new books to purchase for my children.



Four years ago I started wrapping our books for Advent with purple and pink wrapping paper, coordinating with the liturgical color for each week. I wondered at first if it would be worth the effort (and all that paper!) but this is now one of my children's favorite Advent traditions.  They love taking turns unwrapping the books as well as the special time we spend together reading.  (In the past I have also wrapped twelve books in gold for the twelve days of Christmas, but I have decided not to do that this year. The past couple years it has been so busy during those days following Christmas that there isn't much extra time for reading.)  Some years I have incorporate books that tie in to the various feast days that will be celebrated and last year I had the children each choose four of their favorites to be wrapped.

With Advent beginning in just two weeks I spent some time this past week sorting through all our Christmas books. I filled a bag with the books to donate (ones we don't care for or no longer want to keep for various reasons), pulled aside all the books we will read this Advent, and filled a couple of additional baskets with the rest of our collection.  This year I am going back to the original inspiration for our book a day and wrapping up books from the suggestions in Christmas Mosaic based on the four different themes: Decoration/Preparation, Giving/St. Nicholas, Family and Nativity/Angels/Epiphany.

(Note: I usually purchase rolls of the purple and pink wrapping paper at Target.)



Here is the list of books we will be reading this Advent and Christmas:

Note: This year almost all the books listed for Advent are featured with study guides in Christmas Mosaic: An Illustrated Book Study for Advent and Christmas unless otherwise noted. We will spend a little time each afternoon reading and discussing the books using the study guides and also incorporating extra activities when we have time! 

Christmas Mosaic Theme: Decoration and Preparation


December 1 (First Sunday of Advent) ~ Waiting for Christmas: A Story about the Advent Calendar
We will also decorate for Advent with Advent Calendars, Advent Wreath, Jesse Tree, etc...  Set out Manger for Baby Jesus and all of our Christmas Books.   Bless the Advent Wreath during nighttime prayers.  Choose names for Christkindl!  I also plan to surprise the children with the Holy Heroes New Jesse Tree DVD to go along with our new Jesse Tree Swap Ornaments!

December 2 ~ The Christmas Cobwebs

December 3 ~ Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel
*Celebrate the Feast of St. Francis Xavier

December 4 ~ The Cobweb Curtain: A Christmas Story

December 5The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey with CD: Gift Edition
*Bake St. Nicholas Cookies 

December 6 (Feast of St. Nicholas) ~ Santa's Favorite Story * This is included during week two, but since the feast of St. Nicholas is earlier in Advent this year I moved this book to week one.
*Celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas

December 7 (Feast of St. Ambrose) ~  A Christmas Memory (*This was a new purchase this year, and we decided not to add this book to our collection.)
*Decorate our Christ Candle for Christmas


Christmas Mosaic Theme: Giving 


December 8 (Second Sunday of Advent) ~ Gifts from the Heart (Not pictured... New to us and I haven't recieved our copy to pre-read yet.  No study guide available. Update: We decided not to keep this book after all.)  
*Cut Down Christmas Tree after Mass 

December 9 ~ The Christmas Candle
* The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin - transferred from the 2nd Sunday of Advent; Feast of St. Juan Diego

December 10 (Feast of Our Lady of Loreto) ~  Shoemaker Martin (*using the guide for The Shoemaker's Dream - same story but depicted by a different artist)

December 11 ~ The Christmas Coat (ordered from the library)

December 12 (Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe) ~ The Gift of the Magi
*Begin Christmas Rose Novena; possibly have our Our Lady of Guadalupe Tea 

December 13 (Feast of St. Lucy) ~ The Bear's Christmas Surprise (purchased a used copy on Amazon - it's still on it's way)
*Celebrate the Feast of St. Lucy

December 14 ~  A Small Miracle


Christmas Mosaic Theme: Family (and Birthdays!)


December 15  (Third Sunday of Advent - Rose's Birthday - Gaudete Sunday) ~ Pinkalicious: Merry Pinkmas! **No Study Guide**
* Rose/Pink Themed Birthday Party for Rose's 4th Birthday!  We will also read Bambinelli Sunday

December 16 ~ An Orange for Frankie 

December 17 ~ Silent Night
*O Wisdom...  (View all our O Antiphon Plans here.)

December 18 ~ The Christmas Promise
*O Adonai, and Ruler of the House...

December 19 (Bud's Birthday) ~  That's Not My Reindeer (also available directly from my Usborne website!) **No Study Guide**
*Deer/Woodland Themed Birthday Party for Bud's 2nd Birthday! 
*O Root of Jesse...

December 20One Christmas Dawn
*Bake Cookies for Christmas to give as gifts 
*O Key of David - Key Lime Pie and Sparkling Drinks with Dinner

December 21Night Tree
*O Dayspring... Hot Cocoa in thermoses and drive around to see Christmas lights after dinner!


Christmas Mosaic Theme: Nativity, Angels and Epiphany


December 22 (Fourth Sunday of Advent) ~ The Christmas Bird by Sallie Ketcham
(we may also read The Christmas Bird by Bernadette Watts) 
*Bake and Decorate Cut-out Cookies.
*O King of the Gentiles...

December 23 ~  Father and Son: A Nativity Story   
*Bake Starlight Cookies
*O Emmanuel... 

December 24 (Christmas Eve) ~ Mortimer's Christmas Manger and Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers
*Gingerbread House Decorating Party and Midnight Mass

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


After sorting through our collection, filling a bag with a number of our old books to donate for various reasons, here is the list of books that will remain on our shelves and in our Advent and Christmas Book Baskets this year:


~ Advent and Christmas Chapter Books ~


Christmas at Stony Creek 
Destination: Bethlehem
Letters from Father Christmas
The Gift of the Magi and Other Stories by O. Henry
The Story of Holly and Ivy
The Thirteen Days of Christmas
The Trees Kneel at Christmas



A Christmas Chronicle
The Catholic Christmas Book of Cherished Christmas Customs
The Church Mouse of Saint Nicholas
The Eternal Babe (poetry)
The True Meaning of Christmas by Fulton Sheen


~ Early Advent ~



Advent Storybook: 24 Stories to Share Before Christmas
The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas, An Austin Family Story (more of a chapter book)
Waiting for Noel: An Advent Story
A Time to Keep: The Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays


~ December 6th :: Feast of St. Nicholas ~



A Gift from St. Nicholas (we don't love the illustrations in this one)
Saint Nicholas
St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas (coffee table style book)
The Baker's Dozen: A St. Nicholas Tale (our "Baker's Dozen" inspired cookies)
The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi (great book, definitely a favorite)
The Miracle of Saint Nicholas (about a church named "Saint Nicholas" - definitely near the top of my list of favorites for Advent and Christmas)
The Real Santa Claus: Legends of Saint Nicholas (another favorite, most appropriate for older children, especially love the illustrations)
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend (board book)
Kersti and Saint Nicholas (chapter book, not pictured)


~ December 9th & 12th :: Feasts of St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe ~



Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe (not pictured)
Our Lady of Guadalupe by Father Lovasik
Our Lady of Guadalupe(Coloring Book)
Our Lady of Guadalupe  by Carmen t. Bernier-Grand
Our Lady of Guadalupe (pop-up)
The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe Empress of the Americas (*there are still a few copies available here at the old price, plus you can support the sisters with your purchase!)


~ December 13th :: Feast of St. Lucia ~



Bells of Santa Lucia
Hanna's Christmas
Kirsten's Surprise: A Christmas Story
Lucia Morning in Sweden
Lucia, Child of Light: The History And Traditions of Sweden's Lucia Celebration
Lucia, Saint of Light


~ Christmas Around the World ~



Baboushka: A Christmas Folktale from Russia
Christmas Around the World
Marta and the Manger Straw: A Christmas Tradition form Poland
Miracle of the Poinsettia
Pablo's Christmas
The Miraculous Child: A Christmas Folktale from Old Russia


~ Christmas Books Inspired by Music ~



All for the Newborn Baby
Good King Wenceslas
Good King Wenceslas
Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker
O Holy Night
Stephen's Feast
The Huron Carol

~ Christmas Crafts and Baking ~


~ Historical Christmas Books ~



Christmas from Heaven: The True Story of the Berlin Candy Bomber
Christmas in the Trenches
War Game: Village Green to No-Man's Land


~ Legends, Inspirational Stories & Other Miscellaneous Books ~



Angela and the Baby Jesus
Bambinelli Sunday: A Christmas Blessing (not pictured)
On Christmas Eve
The Three Gifts of Christmas: Book with Audio CD


~ Christmas ABC's ~



ABC is for Christmas (A Little Golden Book)
S is for Star: A Christmas Alphabet (*also available in paperback for much less)
The Christmas ABC (A Little Golden Book - reprinted this year, not pictured)
The Angels Alphabet by Hilda Van Stockum (OOP - I found our copy on ebay)


~ The Christmas Story ~



Bethlehem
Christmas in the Barn
Christmas Night Fair and Bright
Little Star
On That Christmas Night (not pictured)
One Winter's Night



Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey
The Christmas Bell
The Christmas Story (A Little Golden Book)
The Donkey's Dream
The First Christmas
The Nativity by Ruth Sanderson
The Stable Where Jesus Was Born
The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale (not pictured)
There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve


~ The Twelve Days of Christmas ~



The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Laurel Long
The Twelve Days of Christmas by Gennady Spirin
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Christmas Carol (A Little Golden Book)
The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Story Behind a Favorite Christmas Song
Twelve Days of Christmas Stained Glass Coloring Book


~ January 6 :: Feast of Epiphany ~ 



Babushka and the Three Kings
Small Camel Follows the Star
The Last Straw
The Third Gift
We Three Kings


~ Board Books for our Littlest Ones ~



A Christmas Carol


*These will be given to the children on Christmas.

A Child's Story of the Nativity Illustrated by Masha
That Wonderful Night: The Story of the Very First Christmas
The Christmas Anna Angel 
The Little Juggler



Cay Gibson, author of Catholic Mosaic and Christmas Mosaic, has generously offered to send one of my visitors a signed copy of Christmas Mosaic!  If you would like to enter the giveaway please do so below: 



Somehow, not only for Christmas but all the long year through, 
The joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you;
And the more you spend in blessing the poor and lonely and sad, 
The more of your heart's possessing returns to make you glad.
The Joy of Giving, John Greenleaf Whittier
excerpt from Christmas Mosaic

215 comments:

  1. I hope to have some favorites after this year. This is our 1st year really reading chirstmas/advent books. Thanks to you I have a list going. Your blog has been such a blessing for my family.

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  2. I love The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado.

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  3. I have so many but one of my most recent favorites is Mortimer's Christmas Manager. It is such a sweet little story and my little ones love it.

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  4. I think The Crippled Lamb might be my favorite as well!

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  5. The Little Drummer Boy is a great one!

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    1. I thought we had this version of The Little Drummer Boy, but apparently it must have just been from the library. I will have to remember that for St. Nicholas day next year! Is that the book you have?

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  6. I love Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree!

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  7. How do you keep your books in such good shape????

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    1. I don't let the kids touch them! ;) Just kidding... There are plenty of pictures in the archives of them reading as proof that they do. Anyways, it is definitely a pet peeve of mine and I teach the kids at young ages to handle books with care. If I am going to invest so much money into buying books for them I expect them to take care of them. Surprisingly my boys are much better about this than my girls.... :)

      Also, these books are only out for a couple months each year. The rest of the time they are stored on two shelves. The books in the bedrooms have a lot more wear and tear.

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  8. I love A Cup of Christmas Tea
    Betsy
    Betsybarkley@yahoo.com

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  9. We have enjoyed reading "Destination: Bethlehem" for the past couple of years. We are looking forward to "The 24 Days Before Christmas" this year. I love "The Baker's Dozen," as well as our St. Lucia Day books. It is so hard to pick just one favorite! :-)

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  10. We read 'God Gave Us Christmas' nearly every night of Advent ever since my oldest was a toddler.

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  11. I have always loved the Gift of the Magi. I would love to add this one to our collection!

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  12. Thank you to Cay Gibson for being so generous. I just LOVE ALLLLLL the book suggestions and groupings, thank you for helping the rest of us to live out our faith so beautifully with our families.

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  13. Marta and the Manager Straw has become a favorite for us. Love books that help us celebrate being Polish.

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    1. We added this book to our collection last year and it was an instant favorite!

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  14. Wow, your list is incredible! Thank you so much for sharing it! I do hope to add to our Christmas book collection list this year. Last year we added A Special Place for Santa to our collection, our whole family enjoyed it.

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  15. One of our favorites is the legend of the pointsettia!

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  16. Santa's favorite story is a good one.

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    1. My kids love Santa's Favorite Story. Funny story... When I first ordered it I was surprised that it was so tiny! Our original copy (which we still have but it isn't pictured in this post - you can see it here) is only about 4 inches square! I finally purchased the full sized version since my children enjoy it so much.

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  17. The Gift of the Magi is our favorite hands down. :)

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  18. Your list is amazing!! We tend to read the Night Before Christmas way too much and we try to read "The Jesse Tree" but I don't have it out yet to remember who it is by. "Always room for a little one" is well read too.

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    1. The Night Before Christmas is a fun book to read! We enjoy it too... I've been considering this version of The Jesse Tree for years and have never purchased a copy.

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  19. Red Boots for Christmas, although not Catholic, is a great Christmas story with a wonderful meaning behind it. My kids always enjoy Jotham's Journey.

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  20. We have so many Christmas books that we love. One of my favorites is Saint Francis Celebrates Christmas.

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    1. Ooh! I have actually been considering purchasing Saint Francis Celebrates Christmas or Saint Francis and the Nativity for a couple years now... I'll have to see if our library has copies that we can check out to read!

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  21. I love, love, love this post! Thank you so much Jessica! We are just starting to build our collection with our little one and your lists are so much appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  22. What a lovely collection of books you have for your thoughtful plan for celebrating His birth! My favorite is The Gift of the Maji. Blessings to you and your family!

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  23. I love your book lists. I only have 5 or 6 of these so I need to look into some! I'd also love Catholic Mosaic! Thanks!

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  24. Donkey's Dream and The Last Straw are two of our favorites. What a great list!

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  25. This post makes my jaw drop. Amazing collection.

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  26. I've always liked The Christmas Barn by C. L. Davis and Raul Colon. My mother in law has borrowed it from us twice! Its a great book!

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    1. I just looked up The Christmas Barn and ordered a copy! It sounds like one that we would really enjoy and I was able to get a copy in "very good" condition for the cost of shipping. Thank you for sharing!

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  27. Thank you for putting this together every year! I look forward to these posts every year as we have started our own family tradition of adding to our Advent/Christmas book collection on the feast of St. Nicholas. I think my favorite Christmas read with the kids is The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.

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  28. I would love to read all of the books in your "Board Books for our Littlest Ones" list. My son is 17 months and I think that would be a great start to our Christmas book collection!

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  29. LOVE looking at Christmas books!:) Thanks for sharing:) and thanks for inspiring me I finally managed to group all my Christmas/Advent lists together http://sevenlittleaustralians.blogspot.com.au/p/book-lists.html
    have some you don't but you've just shown me some new ones:)

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  30. My family loves so many of these titles. Last year, I purchased the Miracle of Saint Nicholas, which my youngest son loved. We also enjoy the Gift of the Magi with illustrations by PJ Lynch. Another author/artist that we love is Tomie dePaola.

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  31. I like " the christmas miracle of jonothan toomley" by by Susan Wojciechowski, P.J. Lynch

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  32. Thanks for the chance! My son is 4 years old and I've been purchasing books from your list since he was born. :)

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  33. Love the idea of wrapping them!

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  34. I love so many advent books...just one?! Arghh...I guess the Donkey's Dream. We love the symbolism! But I really like more than just that one... :)
    Donna Marie
    child of mary 2002 at yahoo (dot) com

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  35. Wow lucky children you have to be able to read all these at Christmas. Your blog is where I come to when I am choosing our new Christmas books. Thank you!
    Nikki

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  36. My kids get so excited to see the basket of Advent books each year, I can't wait to add a few new ones on St Nicholas day!

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  37. The Lion in the Box *A Christmas Story* by Marguerite De Angeli Was a book I remembered from my childhood. I Remembered the story , but not the title or the Author for many years. As an adult I did book searches when I had my own children but could never find it. Finally , Last year, I stumbled upon it and got a used Library copy from Amazon. It is as wonderful as I remember!!!

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  38. I can't thank you enough for your posts!! This Year of Faith we have truly grown in our faith, and in the past we have wrapped Christmas books, but as I was going through them I I realized they are 75% secular books! Can't wait for our collection to grow! I have already purchased a few for St. Nicholas' feast day, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and St. Lucy. Thanks so much for what you do! You are truly a blessing!

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  39. What beautiful book. You are very blessed.

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  40. Thank you for this wonderful post Jessica! The Miraculous Child is one favorite - so many to choose from!!

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  41. I can't get through "An Orange for Frankie" (which I bought for my son per your recommendation a few years ago) without a tear coming to my eyes! So that's definitely one of my favorites, but there are so many good ones. Thanks for putting together the list, it is so helpful. I just realized that I still need books for 2 of my kids for St. Nicholas day so I need to get ordering soon!

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  42. How very generous! If I win, I'll give the signed copy to my daughter, as I already have my own.

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  43. I realize this will vary depending on the size of each book, but about how many rolls does it take for you to wrap 25 books? We've never assigned a particular book to each day before, and I'm thinking my kids would really enjoy the anticipation of opening one every day. But I have no idea how much wrapping paper I should buy! Thanks!

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    1. I just finished wrapping all but the few I am still waiting for...

      This year I was able to wrap them all with 2 rolls of purple and 1 roll of pink (20 sq ft each) - with some of each color left over. I think some years, depending on the size of the books I've needed one roll per week, especially if Advent begins in November and is a little longer, but this year some of the books are smaller in size and Advent doesn't begin until Dec 1st.

      Hope that helps!

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  44. Makes me so happy to be a Catholic. Beautiful booklists. Thank you for sharing!

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  45. I promised myself that I wouldn't buy any new books to add to our collection this year, but after looking at your list, there are a few titles that I just might have to add! Thanks for sharing!

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  46. The Crippled Lamb is our favorite! Thanks for this post I know it was a lot of work but definitely appreciated!

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  47. Our collection is slowly expanding, thanks to great book lists like yours, but my children's favorite Christmas book would have to be "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". :) (My oldest is only 5 so maybe that will change in a few years!)

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    1. Ack! I somehow missed photographing "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" I even asked the kids if they knew where it was (it must have gotten put on a different shelf) but forgot to go look for it before finishing the post! :) If there is ONE book that reminds me of Christmas as a child it is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" - my Dad read it to us every year, such great memories! Oh, and we always watched Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa (my grandmother had given us a VHS copy which I finally upgraded to a DVD for my own kids last year). :)

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  48. Thank you for all the beautiful suggestions- my favorites are The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey and The Baker's Dozen.... not sure who loves the books more- Mama or the kids!! I appreciate your list every year, as it helps me get my reading list and library request list going!! Have a beautiful season of Advent with your family. :)

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  49. Thank you so much for compiling these book lists! I know they must take a lot of effort, but I am so thankful that you share them. I would love a copy of Christmas Mosaic to help me build our library. May God bless you!

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  50. The Littlest Angel - beautiful! mauramcneely@yahoo.com

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  51. The Crippled Lamb is a lovely book! maurabaklinski@gmail.com

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  52. One of our favorites is the Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. You have such a great collection . Thanks for sharing it.

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  53. Thank you for all of the links!

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  54. This may be a tough request, but I thought you might have some ideas on this--- if you had to pick your top 3 Christmas books for preschoolers, what would you pick? I've been trying to choose some for my son but I'm a little overwhelmed by all the options. He turned 2 recently, and he's transitioning to favoring picture books over board books. This means the board books I had planned to gift him with this year (mostly ones by Maite Roche-- he loves her illustrations) will no longer work for him. Thanks for your help!

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    1. Yes, this is a tough request! Hmmmm... One I really enjoyed last year with my toddlers is This is the Stable It is to the same rhyme as "This is the House that Jack Built" and starts as follows:

      This is the stable where Jesus was born.

      This is the cow in the sweet-smelling hay,
      the cat and her kittens and three mice at play,
      that lived in the stable where Jesus was born...


      So sweet and my toddlers enjoy it very much.

      Bethlehem by Fiona French is beautiful! I love the vibrant and colorful stained glass style illustrations throughout and the text is short enough to keep the attention of a toddler. Note: be sure to order the Catholic edition.

      The Donkey's Dream. Another favorite of mine for all ages. I especially love the symbolism.

      From the inside flap of The Donkey's Dream: This brief but poetic retelling from the point of view of the patient donkey is a perfect first introduction to the Christmas story for small children. The rich symbolism and the reverent beauty of the illustrations transcend all age levels, making this a book to be shared by all members of the family, a book to be read and reread, looked at and treasured for many years to come...

      I couldn't agree more!

      Anyways, there are so many more, but these are definitely three near the top of my list for toddlers who are outgrowing the board books. I'm looking forward to reading them to Rose and Bud soon!

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  55. Wow! What a list of books do you think it might be possible to create a document with the complete list of books you are reading for Christmas? It would be a blessing. Thanks K

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    1. Are you asking for a complete list of all of our books, or just those that we will be reading daily during Advent as a family?

      I'm not sure that I will have time to compile it, but you can actually purchase a copy of the Christmas Mosaic Booklist (just the books listed, not all the study guides found in the book) from Hillside Publishers here: Christmas Mosaic Booklist

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  56. You have quite the library! I see some titles that I'll just ~have~ to get... Thanks for the give-away! :o) Becky

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  57. Wow, what a wonderful collection! We have some of those books. Thanks to you, we started an Advent book basket a few years ago. I love picking new books and the kids love to unwrap. One year, I did not wrap and it wasn't quite as much fun.

    Thanks so much, Jessica, for this list and the giveaway!

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    1. The wrapping does make a difference, doesn't it?! One year I considered making reusable felt bags for our books, but opening a bag is also not nearly as exciting as unwrapping the book! :)

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  58. Fabulous collection...I love your tradition of wrapping the books! I was pleased to discover that our library system has many of the books you mentioned, so now I have an extensive hold list :) I think this is something that my children will really enjoy this year! Thank you for putting together this post!

    Angela

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  59. I forgot to add that one of our favorite books to read during the Christmas season is Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. My children really enjoy her illustrations, so much to look at!

    Angela

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  60. this post took you a long time to write!! thanks for the list! Happy reading days are here again.

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    1. Yes it did! :)

      I really appreciate everyone's kind comments! Thank you!

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  61. This is such a wonderful idea and what an amazing collection. Thank you for your wonderful work on this blog!

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  62. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

    I just out many of your selections on hold at the library. It is a bit early, but they go quickly the first week of December:) We have a good collection, but not as extensive as yours! This year I purchased some of the Santa Lucia titles since that is one of our favorite advent traditions.

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  63. Wonderful collection! We have so many books, but I see several here to add - thank you! Also, I love Cay Gibson, she is such a wonderful resource. I've been meaning to purchase her book, Christmas Mosiac, and after this I REALLY want to get it!

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  64. Hard to choose which one we like best! I do love so many of the Mosaic books! Maybe the Last Straw

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  65. Wow, this is an amazing collection of books! What a beautiful tradition :) I'm beginning to see how important it is to buy the seasonal books because you'll never find them at the library; they're always checked out! I would love to do this with our children :) A favorite? I honestly don't have one - I've never read any of these books and was raised reading more secular Christmas things, which is why I appreciate this so much! Out of all the books I see here, though, I would LOVE to get "Christmas in the Trenches" because my husband is a war veteran and it would especially resonate in our family....

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    1. God bless your family, and many thanks to your husband! :)

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  66. Oh my! I want them all :-) we love Mortimer's Christmas manger :-)

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  67. I'm glad that you have been working on this collection for so long...makes me feel better about my little collection. This post is a great resource, thank you so much!

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    1. Thank you, and yes! Our collection has grown little by little each year! I RARELY pay full price for a book and many of our books have been purchased used in "like new" or "very good" condition, or when on sale. I've also found great books at second hand stores and library sales.

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  68. It is a toss up between the Last Straw and Donkey's dream. The art is beautiful in both and so easy to communicate the meaning of the season to all ages of my children. Love them. :)

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  69. What a wonderful post! Thankyou so much for inspiring me to look forward to Christmas on this cold November day, feeling a bit under the weather. One question, the book called "The Little Juggler", is this the inspiration for Tomie de Paola's " Jingle The Christmas Clown"?

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    1. I haven't read that one, but I believe it is the same story that inspired TdP's The Clown of God. We actually pulled the TdP books from our shelves/baskets this year and I bought "The Little Juggler" as a replacement. I love it. I think my boys are especially going to enjoy it too.

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  70. I love The Gift of the Magi and got a new copy to share with my girls this year!!! Gina B

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  71. The Gift of the Magi is near the top of my favorite Christmas books. It's really hard to pick just one though! ;)

    Jessica

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  72. I've been thinking of purchasing Christmas Mosaic for a while now but every Advent comes with so much Christmas shopping that I just can't make myself buy one more thing! I would love to win a copy and end the cycle of indecision :)

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  73. So many good books!! We have slowly been building a collection, and our library system has been very useful because they have many of these books that I have looked for in years past. It helps me narrow down which ones to buy: the ones our library system doesn't have at all!

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  74. Wow, that is an incredible amount of books. For financial reasons we have a much much smaller collection and have stopped buying more now but one of our favourites is The days of Christ's coming by Dorothy L Sayers, picked up for pennies at a jumble sale - beautiful to read aloud.

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  75. Thank you for this. What a great tradition!

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  76. Thank you so much for sharing this booklist and giving us the opportunity to win Christmas Mosaic! It has been on my wish list for some time! St. Nicholas will be giving my daughter a book on his feast day...along with gold coins of course. :) Question: if you could only buy one St. Nicholas book, which one would you buy? I have Bakers Dozen already, thanks to a library book sale. I have been looking at a few others and am torn on which to get, and time is running out!

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    1. Though it is not exactly about St. Nicholas, The Miracle of St. Nicholas would be my first choice.

      On the life of St. Nicholas my first choice is actually the DVD from CCC Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa, especially for younger children.

      If you are looking for a story about the life of St. Nicholas my personal favorite is The Real Santa Claus: Legends of St. Nicholas, though this is most appropriate for older children. We also really like The Legend of St. Nicholas by Demi.

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  77. Such an inspiration, thank you!

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  78. Your lists and links are so very helpful. Thank you for sharing so much!

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  79. My kids loved Destination: Bethlehem, and I've read similar books for Advent since then. I will try some this year from your lists. Thank you so much for the inspiration!

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  80. I like Santa and the Christ Child by Nicholas Bakewell. I hate that all the commercialization of Christmas is already on TV and in the stores. For me, I like the Magnificat Advent Companion. I have already started reading little bits of the introduction...shhhh :)

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  81. The Lost Little Donkey -- illustrated by the lady who drew the Care Bears.

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  82. Thanks for sharing your wonderful book list! This has been a tremendous help in making my list for the library for Advent and Christmas!

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  83. Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!! Pretty, pretty please. ;)
    I have Catholic Mosaic, and would LOVE Christmas Mosaic!!
    Bless you, Jessica, for always being such an inspiration, and for Cay as well for sharing a copy with a lucky winner. You gals are great! :)

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  84. Thanks for doing this; I was going to sit down tonight to write a list of the books and what day to give them tonight! You did the work for me! :) Also, I tried to buy the purple and pink paper...I was looking for a really pretty dark purple and pink...I finally decided on brown paper wrap and am going bought some purple and pink ribbon for it! Yay!

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    1. Great idea to use the brown paper with purple and pink ribbons! You can save the ribbons to reuse next year too!

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  85. Love all the read a louds each and every year! Thank you so much!
    God Bless!
    Kathleen L.

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  86. I have a soft spot for The Littlest Angel. Which reminds me, I don't know that my own children have a copy. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

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  87. It's so much fun to grow our collection! Thanks for all the great ideas and inspiration. We have used the Catholic Mosaic booklist you posted years ago, but would love to win the full copy to have the activities and study guides.

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  88. I love the idea of wrapping the books for Advent and the 12 Days of Christmas, but hate to spend the time and money doing it. Instead I bought 3 gifts bags: purple, pink and gold. I put in books for each time period plus a few extra. Then I place tissue paper on top of it. Each day my kids take turns pulling a book out of the bag ---WITHOUT looking!! They love it!!

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  89. Such great books! Thanks!!
    Erin

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  90. This is such a good list of books! I might go crazy on Amazon :)

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  91. I will be counting the books we have to see if I have enough to wrap for all of Advent!!! I love that idea and KNOW that my children did too!! I think that this is one of my favorite posts that I look forward to seeing every year... what books are getting wrapped up!?!?!?!!!!! :)

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  92. Looks like a great plan for Advent!

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  93. Thanks for the list. Its so nice to see what others have and get ideas for books to get for our kids. We also sometimes find old forgotten favorites to buy again or for someone else.

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  94. Wow, what a blessing to have so many books to read to your children! I like the idea of celebrating the seasons with books! Christmas Mosaic would be a beautiful addition to any library!

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  95. This looks great. We do a similar thing with books throughout the Christmas season; however, I have never seen the Christmas Mosaic. Thanks! mandy55404@yahoo.com

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  96. My kid might disagree, but my favorite book is Bethlehem by Fiona French. I LOVE the illustrations.

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  97. The Gift of the Magi has always been my favorite.

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  98. It's hard to pick a favorite. But, we really enjoy "Saint Nicholas." mandy55404@yahoo.com

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  99. When I was teaching, I always read "A Christmas Memory" to my classes (and it always made me cry) :) and Holly & Ivy. At home, we love "Room for a Little One", and we always memorize "The Night Before Christmas."

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  100. Thank you for this! And for such an inspiring list of books!
    My email is piper underscore pal at hotmail dot com.

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  101. The Nativity, illustrated by Julie Vivas. The illustrations are HILARIOUS! (I know, a funny reason to love a book - but they are that awesome!)

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  102. I love The Crippled Lamb, but there are so many to love it's really hard to choose just one!

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  103. The first book that comes to mind is The Legend of the Candy Cane. We read it often throughout the year.

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  104. Last year, our favorite was "The Little Drummer Boy" by Ezra Jack Keats, but I'm very excited to try some of the books on your amazing list!

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  105. Your lists are so helpful to me. I have used them for the past two years to find books for my kids on Christmas and St. Nicholas day. Thanks for working so hard on them.

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  106. Thank you for this list. I've ordered a bunch of them from the library using this list. Many of our favorite Advent/Christmas books are on your list. Another favorite of ours is a book illustrated by Susan Jeffers called Silent Night which has a sweet, modest image of Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus on one of the pages. Very tender to imagine.

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  107. An Orange for Frankie is a top pick of ours.
    If you don't mind sharing, why did you pull your TdeP books?
    Thanks so much for your list; it is a tremendous help!
    Sherri

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    1. You are welcome, I'm glad the list is helpful! To briefly answer your question: Someone brought to my attention his lifestyle choices earlier this year and after looking into it further and discussing it with my husband, combined with the advice from a trusted priest, we've decided not to keep any of the books he has written.

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    2. Are you planning to do away with the Garden of the Good Shepherd as well?

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    3. I don't know... I haven't thought it through that far yet. Probably. I've always wanted to create a felt version of The Garden of the Good Shepherd - I actually started years ago - and this might be just the motivation I need to finish the project. The text to go along with it was written by a different author.

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    4. That sounds like a great project! I'm sure it would turn out lovely and would be something treasured by your family. I don't know if your kids like that sort of craft, but maybe they could even make the felt figures as part of the actual celebration. I always daydream about family projects like that, but rarely pull them off!

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  108. my blessings so enjoy reading a different christmas picture book everyday of advent, but for a chapter book i will read them christmas carol all together then watch the movie. thanks for lovely ideas and inspirations! blessings.

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  109. Thank you so much for sharing all of these wonderful titles! We own some of them, but some of these I have never heard of. I will be heading over to purchase a few shortly. Thanks so much, Jessica! : )

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  110. That's for sharing all of your great ideas and book lists as well as the occasional giveaway

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  111. Thank you for your book lists!! It has helped me tremendously when sopping for Advent/Christmas books for our son. We love The Real Santa Claus.

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  112. Thanks for another great giveaway! I can't believe it'll be time to pull out our books in a couple short weeks! :)

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  113. We haven't found a favorite yet, but we always enjoy any version of the Nativity story. We also like reading A Christmas Carol. We just started collecting Christmas and Advent books a couple of years ago.

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  114. Thanks for the lists! I have ordered lots of them through your amazon link! It makes searching for good Catholic books for the kids so easy!

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  115. Our Advent/Christmas book collection is sparse to say the least.. But last year, we enjoyed Hanna's Christmas a lot. We read it over and over and over :).
    thanks for offering the giveaway
    ~Ruth Anne

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  116. Great lists! My favorite is The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey!

    KAMMIller

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  117. Thanks so much for these posts! I'm expecting my first around Christmas this year, and I've used your site as the main source of inspiration for building my baby's library.

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  118. I would LOVE to win to share with my Faith Formation class!

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  119. I love Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth trilogy and the one on the Infancy Narratives is perfect reading for this time of year!

    Marie Martin

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  120. Love The Donkey's Dream - a new one for our collection last year! For fun Christmas related books, I also love The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

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  121. Thank you for creating such a thorough list! My planning gears are turning, and I'm clickin' away--I had no idea there were so many Advent/Christmas books out there. Once again, you are a treasured resource!
    Blessings,
    Marisa M.

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  122. I just saw this and am so excited to see so many books we have at home. We are taking December off our "regular" home school schedule and will be soaking in all the beautiful themes and activities in these and many other books. Your blog has been such a blessing in our first year of homeschooling.
    Thank you for all you do!

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  123. Thank you so much for this post and for the chance at the giveaway. Your book lists and holiday preparation descriptions are such a great resource. One of our family's favorite books for Epiphany is Tomie dePaola's The Legend of Old Befana.

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  124. The Nativity is my favorite. I also really like the books which illustrate popular hymns like We Three Kings and Wenceslaus.

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  125. Thank you so much for your post, I have been thinking of doing this with the kids, but didn't know where to start. Thank you also for the book giveaway, I would love to add this title to our homeschool this advent. toniarolando@msn.com

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  126. Like you, my mom had quite the collection of Christmas and Advent books that she would pull out for us each year (in large Rubbermaid storage boxes!) There were seven children in my family. Now that I'm a mother, I can better appreciate the time and sacrifice she put into amassing such a collection. God bless you for your generosity... both with your own children as well in sharing your ideas with us, your blog readers.

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  127. A Small Miracle is one of our favorites!

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    1. A Small Miracle is one of my children's favorites too, and especially great if you aren't that fond of reading aloud! ;) It's amazing how the author/illustrator was able to tell such a moving story without one using any words. Just beautiful!

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  128. These books (especially the chapter books) are wonderful! We love "Shoemaker" Martin.

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  129. I love "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey." I won a basket of wrapped books to open each day of Advent in a silent auction. So excited to see what books are in it!

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    1. THAT IS SO AWESOME!!!!! What a great idea for a silent auction item! I love it!! Please come back and tell me what books you ended up getting... I am so curious! :)

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  130. Love your list!! Now to decide on our new books for this year...I better get busy!! My favorite is probably The Gift of the Magi. Have you ever read or heard of "Jotham's Journey." It is actually book 1 in a series of 3. I have seen it recommended in a lot of places, but I'm not sure how "Catholic" it is. It sounds like a historical fiction chapter book and has daily readings through advent. I'm curious of your thoughts...or any other readers??? Thanks again!

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    1. I've seen that series mentioned all over, but we haven't read them.

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  131. There are so many great books. One of the many books we like is Max Lucado's The Crippled Lamb.

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  132. Thank you for your book suggestions. It is always helpful to have some guidance from an experienced Catholic mom.

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  133. Jessica, I really value your research and opinions on the books you use. Could you tell me why you chose to pull the Tomie dePaola books from your shelves? I, too, would like to be considered for the Christmas Mosaic guide. Thank you so much.

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    1. I actually responded to another commenter asking the same thing above, but there are so many comments on this post it would have been easy to miss! Anyways, someone brought to my attention his lifestyle choices earlier this year and after looking into it further and discussing it with my husband, combined with the advice from a trusted priest, we've decided not to keep any of the books he has written.

      Father advised that: "If it were a question of his writing children's books that did not have religious themes, (e.g. science textbooks) I wouldn't say one would have to get rid of the books, as long as the content is good. However, if he is writing thematicly religious books, or morality books, those should not be read, even if the content were impeccably correct. The issue has mostly to do with the eventual possibility of scandal should the children later discover his moral error, and then conclude that, 'how could the morals of one who writes such good things be bad?'."

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  134. Thank you for putting this list together! I hope I win this great book, too!
    God bless,
    Gabi

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  135. I love so many of the books, but An Orange for Frankie somehow steals my heart!

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  136. As always, inspired by your planning ahead for Advent!
    My favorite Christmas book is St. Francis and the Christmas Donkey.

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  137. The boys love How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I need to get busy pulling together what we have in the house and plan it out for our youngest son.

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  138. What a great book list! I spotted a few of our favorites and a few that may be new favorites. Thanks for the beautiful lists
    Bridget M
    davidmeyerfamily at gmail dot com

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  139. I would love a copy! Thanks for the giveaway.
    sweetpeagirl3@hotmail.com

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  140. What a wonderful selection! Well, the Truman Capote book was very depressing, but the rest I would be happy to read all year round!

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  141. Hey Jess! I know there are alot more people out there that are much more worthy to get this wonderful book but I thought I would enter anyway! LOL. Now that we are back in the Church, I really want to have a wonderful collection of good books that support our faith! My favorite would probably be The Christmas Donkey and Angela.. Both of which Maddie received from you and Sean I believe! Have a Blessed Advent!

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    1. I've been meaning to email you Jamie and will soon! Keeping up with email is one of my biggest challenges! I'm so glad you left a comment and entered the giveaway. I can't tell you how happy it made me to hear that you are back in the Church! Deo Gratias! Hopefully we will have the opportunity to see you all sometime! Please give Maddie a hug from us and I am glad to hear that you love the books. :)

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  142. I don't really have a favorite Christmas or Advent Book. Sometimes I print out inspiring stories from the internet and I read those to my kids instead. Thank you for a wonderful blog. May God shower many blessings upon you and your family all year 'round.
    laura@gomezonline.com

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  143. Thanks for the great CATHOLIC book lists!

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  144. I SO VERY appreciate all the time and effort you put into making these booklists! They are so helpful in ordering and purchasing our very own saint and liturgical book collection. We are just starting our journey of homeschooling and raising our children and really look to you and your blog for inspiration, ideas, and book suggestions. May the Blessed Virgin strengthen you in your journey of motherhood!!! God Bless you and your family!
    Jessica
    jmartel26@hotmail.com

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  145. Wow, I am so encouraged and inspired by this list!!! I am a convert to Catholicism where I didn't grow up Catholic and this is my second year homeschooling after pulling my children out of school. It feels like I am having to learn so much about Advent as it is definitely not a liturgical season I grew up with where we are now creating our own family traditions to pass down. Thank you and I can't wait to purchase some of these awesome books!! I am so excited!

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  146. I love the Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. Brings a tear every time I read it.

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  147. Thank you for this fantastic list!

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  148. Thank you for the book lists. I was able to find quite a few at the library and had them put on hold for me. We also bought a few new ones based on your recommendations. We have so many favorites for Christmas, but one of the best is probably Mortimer's Christmas. My kids really enjoy that one and ask to have it read over and over again. Another favorite is the Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  149. Lucy's Christmas by Donald Hall and is one of our favorites!

    Here is the description: Lucy Wells likes planning ahead. In her quaint New England town the leaves have just begun to change, but Lucy is already thinking of Christmas. She begins to make presents for her family: a pincushion for Mother, a doll for her sister, and a pen-wiper for her best friend. For the whole family, her parents have ordered a new modern range stove. The days grow colder and shorter, the snow grows deeper, and everyone grows more excited. Finally, the day arrives! Lucy and her family travel to the South Danbury Church to exchange gifts, sing carols with the whole town, and perform in the Christmas pageant.

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    1. Thank you for sharing! Lucy's Christmas is definitely going on our wish list!

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  150. This is an incredible list and resource! I pinned it before I even know that entered the give-away!! My favorites are Legend of the CAndy CAne and Gift of the Magi. Totally intrigued that there's a Christmas book by Madeline L'Engle! THANK YOU for this resource!

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  151. I look forward to reading some of our new books that we've acquired this year with the help of your booklist. My favorite book is The Friendly Beasts by Tomie de Paola. I remember singing that song when I was a girl, and have enjoyed sharing it with my (preschool-aged) children

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  152. My daughter is 2 yo and I'm just starting my Christmas & Advent book collection. I'd asked a friend of mine, and she suggested checking out your blog. Any suggestions on a few just to get us started, if you had to narrow your collection down?

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    1. If you scroll up to Brianna's comment (left on November 16, 2013 at 10:29 PM) I gave her a few suggestions. :)

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  153. Wow, another great giveaway, I would love to win!

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  154. I don't really have a favorite =( I'm hoping to start this tradition with my children, with your help ;)

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  155. I absolutely love this list! We have quite a collection, but I see so many books I'd love to own :)

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  156. I guess if I had to pick a favorite book, this year's would be The Little Drummer Boy, since my two year old son is suddenly obsessed with that song. And I promise, we haven't started the Christmas carols yet in our house!

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  157. I would be thrilled to win any of these sets, but even if I don't, I appreciate the work you did compiling the books lists!
    -Annie P

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  158. My favorite is The Twelve Days of Christmas. :)

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  159. WOW! Than you so much for the wonderful Advent/Christmas book list, AND the opportunity to win!

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  160. The Donkey's Dream is my absolute favorite. Saw it on your blog a few years ago and just had to have it. Thank you!

    Jennifer

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  161. The list you have compiled is just awesome. Thank you so much!

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  162. We don't have most of the books listed, which books out of your advent and Christmas lists would you recommend for children 4 and under. Just one book from your advent list and one book from your Christmas list. I'm a little overwhelmed with all your books, so I'd like to start with just one of each from those two categories. God bless!

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  163. Your book lists are always such a blessing!

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  164. We love The Donkey's Dream and The Last Straw. Thank you!!
    jmj@aimhighgroup.com

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