5 classic Christmas stories to read aloud and linger over

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI  - This is the classic O Henry story of the poor young couple who each sell the thing most dear to them to buy the other a Christmas present – this version is illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger making it especially beautiful.


THE GIFT OF THE MAGI - This is the classic O Henry story of the poor young couple who each sell the thing most dear to them to buy the other a Christmas present – this version is illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger making it especially beautiful.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL  - Perhaps the most famous of all Christmas stories aside from the nativity - this one is illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake


A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Perhaps the most famous of all Christmas stories aside from the nativity - this one is illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake

 
CHRISTMAS STORIES  - my all time favourite author to read aloud, Michael Morpurgo's words are always perfect. Here, they're combined with amazingly beautiful artwork from some of Britain’s best illustrators. There are four stories and they’ll take up to an hour each to read aloud, so perfect for a car trip or plane ride.


CHRISTMAS STORIES - my all time favourite author to read aloud, Michael Morpurgo's words are always perfect. Here, they're combined with amazingly beautiful artwork from some of Britain’s best illustrators. There are four stories and they’ll take up to an hour each to read aloud, so perfect for a car trip or plane ride.

 
AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS  - This is the picture book version of the children’s opera. It’s long and detailed but wonderful to read aloud either before or after watching the opera itself. We saw it live many years ago and have had a jar of licorice out every year at Christmas time since – you’ll see why if you read the book


AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS - This is the picture book version of the children’s opera. It’s long and detailed but wonderful to read aloud either before or after watching the opera itself. We saw it live many years ago and have had a jar of licorice out every year at Christmas time since – you’ll see why if you read the book

AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS DVD  - Watching the DVD has become a favourite Christmas Monday night tradition.


AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS DVD - Watching the DVD has become a favourite Christmas Monday night tradition.

 
THE FAMILY UNDER THE BRIDGE  - This one isn't a Christmas story as such, but it is set around Christmas time, it’s heartwarming and it’s set in Paris - the story of children who become family to a man who didn’t know he wanted a family.


THE FAMILY UNDER THE BRIDGE - This one isn't a Christmas story as such, but it is set around Christmas time, it’s heartwarming and it’s set in Paris - the story of children who become family to a man who didn’t know he wanted a family.

 

Christmas for me is all about long days, warm nights, outside play in the dark, a bath or a swim and then a chapter or two of a story read aloud to the whole family. Then there's the summer camping trip where a read-aloud book after dinner is essential!

Or, rainy days when it’s thundering and pouring for a whole day which require a play in the rain and an ice-block and still leave time for a few more pages.

All of which means that Christmas stories full of snow and fur lined coats feel almost surreal. But we love them anyway and today's selection are good for both hemispheres.

Names in this post: Amahl

a peaceful Nullabor Christmas - full of delight and excitement

a peaceful Nullabor Christmas - full of delight and excitement

ages 2 to 12 years
A perfect Australian Christmas picture book, it’s the story of Kathleen – a little girl who lives along Australia’s Nullarbor Plain – and of the Tea and Sugar Train which used to travel across the Plain each week. A charming balance to the OTT commercialism that sometimes surrounds Christmas.

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love dinosaurs? love books? love cuddly blankets? here you go ...

 

I’m so in love with this adorable Book Dinosaurs throw blanket from Society 6. It’s absolutely adorable and I’ve had my eye on it for a while, but it was a bit hard to justify.

Thankfully ‘little baby boots’ (the kids’ current nickname for our baby boy due in Feb ’19) is the perfect excuse. Every baby needs a new blanket, right?

If there’s a new baby on your horizon or a current babe, toddler or child who loves dinosaurs, books and cuddles, you might like to check it out.

P.S. At the time of writing, it’s on sale.

Outback Pets: a fun 'real people' book that may lead to a request for a pet crocodile!

Outback Pets: a fun 'real people' book that may lead to a request for a pet crocodile!

ages 2 to 8 years
As you can see, this is a fun, beautifully illustrated book. Great for ages 2 to 8 years. Which makes it perfect for Ivy and Angus.

They’re both pet-obsessed. We have a dog, but there is always another pet we should get. So far this year the list has included a horse, lamb, little dog with a curly tail, guinea pig, rabbit, hamster, pig and a big dog that can be friends with our dog… but NOT a snake! Thankfully.

In all this discussion and dreaming of pets, ‘Outback Pets’ by Therese Hall and Geoff Cook has become an all-round favourite in our house

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"the book was better"—you hear that a lot after a movie :)

 
 

They tell me I say it every time. So yes, I’d love this tote bag!

Unfortunately it doesn’t ship to Australia, but for our north American readers, what a great gift for yourself or a reading friend.

It would be perfect for shopping (for books or anything at all) or an everyday handbag (for carrying books or anything at all).

3 minutes with Kate DiCamillo: the magic of reading aloud

I stare at him, open-mouthed. I’m struck with a sudden knowledge that this boy that I’m so afraid of is in fact just like me. He’s a kid who likes a story.

This just in! Four hours ago, on the PBS News Hour, Kate DiCamillo talked about the magic and power of reading aloud. It was a short but wonderful segment.

I know you’re busy, I really do, so I hope you can find a little time to listen or read the transcript. Spoiler: the kid in the top quote was the school bully :-).

Here’s another small excerpt:

We humans long not just for story, not just for the flow of language, but for the connection that comes when words are read aloud. That connection provides illumination. It lets us see each other.

You might also like this post and this very special book, or a whole host of Kate DiCamillo books.