Once Upon a Time: UT Center Suggests Great Kids’ Books for the Holidays

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winter readingPut down the video game. Turn off the Wii. Round up the kids and settle down with a great book about the holidays.

UT’s Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature helps people discover the best new books for children and teens. Center director Miranda Clark helped compile this list of books that will help kids learn about various winter holidays.

The newer books, which are noted, can be viewed at the CCYAL on the fourth floor of the Communications Building or accessed through the center’s collection on GoodReads.

Other books come at the recommendation of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, which was one of the nation’s first centers dedicated to children’s literature.

“They are a well-recognized source of expertise in the world of children’s literature,” Clark said. “Our center recommends CCBC as a source for retrospective bibliographies on a variety of topics.”

Hanukkah stories

While the Candles Burn: Eight Stories for Hanukkah by Barbara Diamond Goldin (ages 8 to 11). Eight stories about Hanukkah— one for each night. Covers many aspects of Hanukkah without too much repetition.

Just Enough is Plenty: A Hanukkah Tale—Barbara Diamond Goldin (ages 5 to 11). Malka’s family invites a stranger to celebrate with them and finds he has some surprises for them.

Hanukkah Lights, Hanukkah Nights—Leslie Kimmelman (ages 2 to 4). A family celebrates each night of Hanukkah differently.

The Hanukkah Hop!—Erica Silverman (ages 3 and up). Rachel and her family prepare for a lively Hanukkah celebration. In the center’s collection.

It’s A Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook—Stephanie Spinner (ages 4 to 8). Owen gets to light his family’s menorah each night, and each night his grandmother tells another story about a family member.

Kwanzaa stories

Seven Candles for Kwanzaa—Andrea Davis Pinkney (ages 3 to 9). Shows contemporary American families celebrating Kwanzaa in ways children will recognize.

The Sound of Kwanzaa—Dimitrea Tokunbo (ages 4 to 8). Introduces each of the seven principles of Kwanzaa with a definition and example.

Kwanzaa: A Family Affair—Mildred Pitts Walter (ages 9 and up). Interprets the background, principles and symbols of Kwanzaa through one family’s celebration.

Multicultural and historical Christmas stories

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama—Selina Alko (ages 5 and up). Sadie’s family celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas and has twice the fun. In the center’s collection.

Home for Christmas—Jan Brett (ages 3 and up). This Scandinavian-style holiday tale is about Rollo, a mischievous young troll with little patience for doing chores, who runs away from home and encounters a series of animal families, with whom he lives and plays. In the center’s collection.

Going Home—Eve Bunting (ages 5 to 9). Carlos learns about his heritage on a Christmas trip to Mexico.

Peiling and the Chicken-Fried Christmas—Pauline Chen (ages 8 to 10). Peiling convinces her family to celebrate Christmas, but it doesn’t go quite the way she planned.

Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be—John Harris (ages 4 and up). Fictional, but inspired by actual facts, this is the story of James Pierpont, music director at the Unitarian Church in Savannah in the 1850s, and what may have inspired him to compose this famous holiday song. In the center’s collection.

What a Morning! The Christmas Story in Black Spirituals—John Langstaff (ages 3 and up). Biblical quotes match up with African-American songs to tell the Christmas story.

Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting—Jim Murphy (ages 12 and up). Tells the story of the 1914 Christmas truce during World War I through background and first-hand accounts.

A Midnight Clear: Stories for the Christmas Season—Katherine Paterson (ages 12 to 16). Twelve contemporary stories explore Christmas themes like love, giving and pilgrimage.

Elijah’s Angel: A Story for Chanukah and Christmas—Michael J. Rosen (ages 7 to 11). A Jewish boy and an African-American woodcarver become friends and share their cultures.

The Carpenter’s Gift: A Christmas Tale about the Rockefeller Center Tree—David Rubel (ages 5 and up). Combines the Rockefeller Center celebration with Habitat for Humanity through the story of a man who donates trees for both. In the center’s collection.

Tree of Cranes—Allen Say (ages 5 to 7). A Japanese boy learns about Christmas from his American mother; two stories about promises overlap.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales—Dylan Thomas (ages 8 and up). Thomas, an acclaimed poet, tells stories from his childhood Christmases.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu)

Holly Gary (865-974-2225, hgary@utk.edu)

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