Before we go on a Christmas break full of sun and surf, here's a roundup of Christmas books we've loved. We hope you find something new to share or a past love to remember.
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.
Our family is still young and we don’t have a lot of traditions yet, but one that we borrowed from Kim when Alec and I were newly married is giving and opening books on Christmas Eve.
Kim and I get the job (joy really) of choosing the books for our families, and we hide them away till the night. But those choices are sometimes pretty difficult! Here's what I've bought for this year—I think I did well:
ages 3 to grownup
I’ve been a John Williamson fan since childhood and a few months ago we were lucky enough to go to one of his concerts as a family. Amazing. There's really nothing quite like a live performance.
During intermission, I came across Christmas in Australia. I had no idea John Williamson had written a children’s book and just had to buy it—my only regret was that the kids were so exhausted by the end of the show we couldn't wait in the line to get it
Before we go on a Christmas break full of sun and surf, here's a roundup of Christmas books we've loved. We hope you find something new to share or a past love to remember. We hope you have a beautiful Christmas, with or without the sun and surf. Love and warmest wishes from us all - Joan, Kim, Sam, Jesse & Louisa
Michael Morpurgo's latest Christmas offering Coming Home is about a delightful robin whose fortitude and determination carry him home to his love - it's a charming reminder of the universal pull of home, whether metaphorical or physical.
This is a book overflowing with Christmas goodness. Everything that makes up a perfect, simple and nostalgic Christmas is there – a community party, a children’s Christmas play, wishes and hopes and fond memories, family and food, long summer nights.
ages 2 to 8 years
ages 8 years and up
This is a truly remarkable book – the sort that makes you gasp and know that it needs to be in your house, on your table and hopefully in the hearts of your family. It’s a refugee story and perhaps a Christmas fable - there’s a mother and a baby, a father and a donkey.
History connects us with times past, helps us feel grateful for present moments and, with the right telling, it can give us hope for the future. Here's a sampling of Christmas history stories that my family likes, maybe you'll enjoy them also...
Here are a few books that capture an Australian Christmas and do it so well that they’ll appeal to children and adults wherever they live around the world, even if they’re buried in snow for Christmas. (Although to be fair they could also result in a yearning for some sunshine.)
I like my nativities simple, not too cute and always reverent. I also like them to be so beautiful that the pictures alone speak to hope and joy and love. Here are five of my favourites (including maybe the most beautiful drawing of the Baby Jesus ever).
for all ages
After World War II – as indeed after every war – there was a period of terrible poverty in the directly affected areas. And a terrible lack of consumer goods. In this story, a young girl, Anna, is in need of a new coat, in post-war Europe!
ages 2 to 8 years
Sam and Charlie are twins; one is 'naughty' and the other is 'nice'. Which is cause for some considerable consternation in the family. It turns out to be a problem for Santa too!
ages 2 to 12 years - a really fun book for Christmas!
The illustrations here are fabulous; hazy and colourful at the same time, evocative and cheery. The story is lovely, about giving what you can and giving the best you have. A gentle nudge to smile a little more and appreciate the good things of life.
ages 2 to pre-teen and grownup
22 gorgeous picture books, separated into age groups. Our picks for Christmas gifting.
About an over-excited little boy on Christmas Eve. Well versed in Christmas legend, he knows that not a creature should be stirring – not even a mouse. But our hero can’t sleep! It’s a major dilemma. Each page is full of fun!
ages baby to pre-teen
This is a truly gorgeous Nativity book. We love it because it tells the nativity in a way that makes new listeners stop and think and ponder to understand. The story is in idioms from Liberia and it’s beautiful to read. It’s so well told that the rhythm of the words is easy to catch and then it just flows.
ages baby to grown-up - and everyone in between.
Truly, this is a lovely book. In a time of poverty and despair, two young men - a priest and a teacher - recognised the gift that comforting words could be and created a carol that would drift and echo through the ages.
ages 4 to 12 years
This is a nativity story that invites us into Joseph’s thoughts on that first magical night. We hear Joseph’s doubts about his own abilities and his wonder at the child who is before him. And he wonders how he can ever live up to the task.
ages 4 to grownup
We hope you have a beautiful Christmas, with or without the sun and surf. Love and warmest wishes from us all - Joan, Kim, Sam, Jesse & Louisa