Christmas Books in June…
As a retired English Teacher/Reading Specialist, I didn’t leave behind my love of teaching and enjoying books when I closed my classroom door for the last time.
Now, as a Grandma of 11 (ages 4 months – 13 years), I still treasure sharing my love of books and bringing along my grandkids on great, fun, learning journeys at the turn of each page.
Summer is a wonderful time to embrace the world of books with your kids, not only as a way to develop a love of reading, but to give them a head start toward the next school year while continuously improving important reading skills and comprehension.
So grab a little patch of grass, a little shade and begin the adventures!
Here are my “Top 6″ Christmas-time Books in June to read and enjoy over and over again:
Why Christmas Books in June (and July and August, too!)?
If your family celebrates Christmas, you know what a busy time of year it is; often, not a moment to spare with the spiritual/religious traditions, the gatherings, the parties, the entertaining, the decorating, the shopping. If you can manage a few moments to settle in with your children to enjoy a beautiful Christmas book with a lovely Christmas message, it is sometimes a small miracle in itself.
That’s why I began a little tradition of reading Christmas Books in June with my kids when they were young. I’m now passing this tradition along with my 11 grandchildren. Summer, with its long, lovely days, is conducive to relaxing with a book… turning the pages slowly, studying the illustrations and answering each question that’s asked. It’s a time of year when learning settles in so naturally. It’s a time when books and words are absorbed, and saved, in children’s minds and hearts.
You can create these memories and this magic by reading these Christmas Books in June, and savor how much your kids have remembered when December rolls around:
1. Christmas Trees ~ by Robert Frost – illustrated by Ted Rand: This 1916 Robert Frost poem works beautifully as a children’s book; telling the story of a stranger from the city who comes to a Vermont farm to buy the evergreens that grow on the farmer’s land – $30.00 for 1,000 trees. It’s a tale of country vs. city, nature vs. commerce that still has a place today as a very special teaching moment for children, especially because evergreens are so visible even in the Summer. Wonderful discussions will come from this Christmas book all year ’round.
2. Good King Wenceslas ~ verses by J.M. Neale – illustrated by Jamicheal Henterly: This 19th century carol is beautifully illustrated to bring to children the story of a good king who is moved by the sight of peasant gathering firewood on a very cold winter’s night. The king is so moved by this peasant that he makes his way through the snow, with food and spirits and pine logs, to bless the peasant’s family with his generous gifts. The story and the carol are timeless, and offer wonderful ways to discuss generosity and blessings – at any time of the year.
3. Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus ~ by Francis Pharcellus Church: In the fall of 1897, a young girl named Virginia O’Hanlon wrote to The New York Sun asking whether Santa Claus truly existed. Reporter Francis P. Church’s response appeared in the same newspaper and it has become a beloved holiday literary tradition of faith, belief and inspiration. The same question that Virginia asked is asked by children each year, even now… and reading this book to children old enough to ask this question will give you months of discussion and discovery of the joy and spirit of love that embodies the Christmas season.
4. The Christmas Candle ~ by Richard Paul Evans – paintings by Jacob Collins: This re-told fable about charity and giving is accompanied by masterpiece oil paintings that capture the mood of the special Christmas candle on a very life-affirming Christmas Eve. A young man named Thomas stops into a chandler’s shop to buy a candle to illuminate his journey to a family Christmas celebration. The candle “tricks” Thomas several times along his way, leaving him cold and penniless, but wealthy in the discovery and realization of our larger sense of humanity/family. This book will give children many, many reasons to stop and pause at the same realization; and summer is a perfect time for children to become participants in a spirit of giving that extends far beyond just the Christmas season.
5. If Snow Falls ~ by Jon Agee: This enchanting little book about a child who dreams of an old man who works magic in his little workshop, packs it up and then goes across snow is described as “unfolding like a lullaby.” Your children do not need snow to enjoy this Christmas dream come true. (Just be prepared to read it again and again and again!)
6. The Circle of Days ~ by Reeve Lindbergh – illustrated by Cathie Felstead: Author Reeve Lindbergh evokes St. Francis Assisi’s Canticle of the Sun, written in 1225, in her modern hymn of praise for all creation. The reverence of the lovely illustrations brings children into the simple treasures of life that truly create the circle of our days. While not a Christmas book, the very spirit of its beautiful message gives children an opportunity to talk about what is the true meaning of thankful.
The surprise of pulling out a Christmas Book in June, July or August makes for giggling-happy reading. It’s that simple!