We all have favorite remembrances of the holidays. Whether they are of baking cookies, telling stories, singing carols or special worship services, you’ll get added pleasure as you enjoy any of these new books.
AMAZING PEACE, by Maya Angelou, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, Swarta & Wade, $17.99; all ages.
In 2005, Maya Angelou participated in the tree-lighting ceremony at the White House. She wrote the poem "Amazing Peace" for the occasion and read it at the ceremony. In the poem, people from a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds come together to celebrate the holidays. The book includes a CD of Angelou reading her work.
A VERY MARLEY CHRISTMAS, by John Grogan, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey, HarperCollins, $27.99; ages 3-8.
Young puppy Marley wants to help get ready for the holidays. He gets tangled in lights, tinsel and ornaments. Everyone has been waiting for snow and on Christmas morning Marley discovers it first. What fun having a puppy around.
THE NUTCRACKER, retold by Stephanie Spinner, illustrated by Peter Malone, Knopf, $16.99; ages 4-8.
Many children see this story as a ballet during the holidays. This book is a way to introduce them to the story. It also includes a CD with the music performed by the Utah Symphony Orchestra.
LET’S GET READY FOR CHRISTMAS, by Salina Yoon, Price Stern Sloan, $7.99; ages preschool.
In this easy board book, children will read about getting ready for the holidays, including baking, gift wrapping, stuffing stockings and tree decorating.
Open the windows and pull the tab to see what you can find.
PADDINGTON AND THE CHRISTMAS SURPRISE, by Michael Bond, illustrated by R. W. Alley, HarperCollins, $16.99, ages 3-8.
Paddington has saved enough money to take the Brown family to Barkridges, the local department store, to visit Santa’s Winter Wonderland. The family takes a sleigh ride. When the family turns around to talk to Paddington, he is gone. This is the 50th anniversary of the first adventure of Paddington.
‘TWAS THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS, by Brenda Seabrooke, illustrated by Delana Bettoli, Dutton, $16.99; ages 4-8.
Have you ever wondered just how the 1822 classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas came about? This story gives the story behind the holiday classic. It was the day before Christmas when Charity, the 6-year-old daughter of author Clement Moore, asked her father if he had written the special surprise story she wanted for Christmas. Father assured her that it would be ready. As his driver took him in the sleigh to town to get a turkey, ideas ran through Moore’s mind.
The horses pulling their sleigh were Dasher and Dancer. The man who put the turkey in the sleigh gave him the idea for the description of Saint Nick. When he got home he quickly put all the ideas together for the story. The story is included for readers to enjoy.
CHRISTMAS CRAFTING WITH KIDS, by Catherine Woram, photography by Polly Wreford, Ryland Peters & Small, $19.95; all ages.
How do you get ready for the holidays? If crafts are included, the 35 projects in this book will be helpful. Make a variety of pompom ornaments or decorate your own gift wrap using potato print stamps. Cookie cutters can be used in many ways besides for cookies, such as clay ornaments, gift tags and shapes for cards.
THE CHRISTMAS ROSE, by Sepp Bauer, illustrated by Else Wenz-Viëtor, Charlesbridge, $12.95; ages 5-9.
Fritz and Gretl have a request of Saint Nikolaus, who arrives on Dec. 6 in Germany: "Please cure our father." They are told it can be done if they visit the Winter King who can give them a white winter rose. The journey takes until Dec. 24 so the book is set up to read a page each day during Advent.
Judy Belanger is Chicago Parent’s children’s book reviewer and a retired elementary learning resource center teacher with four grandchildren. She continues to substitute in grades K-6.