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Top 10 Must-Have Holiday Books for Your Classroom

Janelle Cox

This holiday season, bring the spirit and joy of Christmas into your classroom with a few new, as well as classic, children's stories. These recommended holiday books for children in grades K-5 are about love, friendship, and the joy of giving. Share these stories with your students as a read-aloud, or present them in your classroom library.

“Pete the Cat Saves Christmas” by Eric Litwin

'Twas the day before Christmas and Santa was ill. In the cold winter wind he had caught a bad chill.
Will Christmas be canceled? Will it come to that? "Never!" cried Santa. "Let's call Pete the Cat!"

This wonderful holiday story has fun rhymes and rhythm patterns that are sure to keep young children on their toes. Although he is small, Pete the cat gives it all to save Christmas.

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The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” By Carol V. Aebersold

This clever story about how Santa is always watching, and knows who's been naughty or nice, is much more than just a storybook, but an activity as well. Each year on Thanksgiving night, Santa sends an elf to your home (or school), and throughout the season he watches if you are naughty or nice. Then he flies back to the North Pole each night to report to Santa. Each morning he hides in a different spot and it's the child's job to find him. This delightful hide-and-seek game is a great way for teachers to get affirm grasp on students' behavior during the holiday season.

The Christmas Story” by Jane Werner Watson

"The Christmas Story" is a simple classic story about Jesus' birth in Bethlehem. This beneficial read is perfect to add to your classroom holiday collection. It's nicely illustrated and easy for young students to understand.

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” by Dr. Seuss

The Grinch absolutely hated Christmas and all that it stood for. Until his wonderful idea to don a Santa outfit. “What if Christmas doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!” This is one of the perfect holiday books to read aloud to students.

“Frosty the Snowman” by Diane Muldrow  

Based on the beloved “Frosty the Snowman” television special, this magical story about a snowman with a magic hat, a button nose, and two eyes made out of coal will bring the Christmas spirit to your classroom! It’s a story of love, friendship, and a need to fit in. This cozy story will teach students if you work together you can accomplish a lot. 

“Llama Llama Holiday Drama” by Anna Dewdney

How many times have you heard your students say "How many more days until Christmas?" Well, just like your little ones, little Llama can't wait until Christmas arrives! He's exhausted with all there is to do until the big day, but luckily mama Llama teaches him patience and kindness. Children big and small will love the beautiful illustrations and fun whimsical rhymes. 

“Merry Christmas Mom and Dad” by Mercer Mayer

Little critter has very good intentions of being a good helper for Christmas but just can't seem to do anything right. This is a great read to bring out the Christmas joy, and for students to learn how they can help around the holidays.

“The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving” by Jan Berenstain

Brother and sister cub learn about the joy of giving while participating in their local church play. This story sends children a lovely message about how it's better to give than receive.

“The Night Before the Night Before Christmas” by Natasha Wing

"Twas the night before Christmas, with so much to do, our tree wasn't up yet, and mom had the flu."

Wing gives a whimsical twist to the classic rhymes of Clement Moore's classic Christmas poem. The day before Christmas they had so much to do but nothing seemed to go just right. This hysterical holiday story will have your students in a roar of laughter.

“The Littlest Elf” by Brandi Dougherty

This is a wonderful story about a little elf named Oliver who desperately wants to feel included in Santa's workshop. Through trials and tribulations, Oliver finally discovers his special job. This cute follow-up to the Little Pilgrim is a perfect holiday read. Students will learn to never give up on a dream and that there is always something out there that is right for them.

What are your must-have holiday books for your classroom? Please share with us in the comment section below!

Janelle Cox is an education writer who draws on her 15 years of professional experience in the education system. Janelle holds a master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, where she provides educational information and lesson plans for teachers around the globe.