Season's Readings: The Best Children’s Christmas Books

Season's Readings: The Best Children’s Christmas Books

It’s nearly Christmas and time to get sharing those magical festive picture books with the children in your lives.

Head Preparatory School Librarian Jenny Jones shares some of her favourite Christmas picture book choices to get you and your family in the festive mood.


Recommended festive reading for children

Merry Christmas Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester Clark


The Blue Kangaroo series is beautifully illustrated with vibrant colours and the family-centred tales of a little girl and her favourite toy Blue Kangaroo are classic and charming - they really appeal to younger readers.

This Christmas tale is a sweet story about doing things for others and runs through all of the traditional things that families do during the festive season, so it’s a good book to share leading up to Christmas to get everyone in the mood.

Published by Harper Collins


Alfie’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes


One of the great things about Christmas books is that, as you only really tend to read them at Christmas, they quickly become part of your family’s traditions.

Much older children will often enjoy Christmas picture books that they loved when they were very small just because it reminds them of Christmases past and being younger. Even your slightly sarcastic teen can be moved to soppy nostalgia through the sharing of old favourite picture books - try it and see!

Alfie’s Christmas is just one of those golden picture book classics. Alfie’s family prepare for Christmas and the big day is punctuated by domestic incidents such as toddler Annie Rose finding it all a bit much and throwing a bit of a Christmas Day tantrum.

I’m sure we can all find something in this story to relate to and young children love gentle domestic stories about things that they experience day to day.

Published by Red Fox


The Queen’s Present by Steve Anthony


Rising star Steve Anthony, creator of The Queen’s Hat and the Queens Handbag, has created this visually appealing tall tale about the Queen travelling the whole globe on Santa’s sleigh looking for the perfect gift for her grandchildren.

Lots of little green elves appear on every page alongside famous landmarks and a cheeky corgi in a red Christmas jumper who has come along for a ride.

I hope it won’t spoil the ending to say that even money can’t buy the best Christmas gift of all…

Published by Hodder Children’s Books


Love Monster and the Perfect Present by Rachel Bright

Love Monster

Rachel Bright’s Love Monster series are amusing yet always have an underlying message that is delivered in a gentle way. This book isn’t specifically Christmas-themed but it is about Love Monster looking everywhere for the perfect present for his best friend.

It’s a lovely book about present-giving and love which is just right for this time of year.

Published by Harper Collins


Norman the Slug by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet


A Pre-Preparatory school favourite, this is a surreal tale of Norman the slug and a bag of presents accidentally dropped from Santa’s sleigh. With slug slime instead of sticky tape and magical flying snails instead of reindeer, this unusual Christmas story delights all ages!

Published by Simon & Schuster


Refuge by Anne Booth 

-Refuge -70903-3

This book is on the longlist for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Award for illustrated books this year and it’s easy to see why.

Refuge is a simple retelling of the nativity from the point of view of the donkey and with a focus on the importance of being kind to people in need. £5 from each sale of this book goes to War Child.

Published by Nosy Crow


The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis and Rebecca Cobb


This book deserves to be a future Christmas classic. It’s a longer picture book for independent readers to enjoy or to read aloud to the more patient listener.

It’s Christmas Eve and the twins are getting ready to hang out their stockings. One twin has been very good all year, the other has been less of a perfect child. What happens when there’s a mix up by Santa on Christmas morning…?

A heartwarming, funny family story as you’d expect from the screenwriter of Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral with quirky illustrations from the talented Rebecca Cobb guaranteed to bring a sentimental tear to the eye.

Published by Puffin Books


Discover more about life at Clifton College

Visit Clifton's Pre-preparatory Library

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