• Jan MacWatters

Reading Recommendations for Christmas

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

Need recommendations for your family stocking stuffers?

Choose a book that they will enjoy but that will also help to develop skills needed in school.

Family activities, arts and crafts.

TEKS Connection: Social Studies: Elementary students should know about different holiday traditions celebrated around the world.

WIld and Free Holidays: 35 Festive family activities to make the season bright. Ainsley Arment. (2020) Non-Fiction

Whether you’re a home-schooling family or just staying at home for the holidays, this is a great book of ideas to get everyone started on some fun activities. All you need is a willingness to try, and some basic supplies, most of which you will already have at home or can find on a walk. Kids of all ages can tackle many of the projects unsupervised but the goal is to share the activity as a family. Have some fun this holiday season, or stock up on supplies and enjoy some cozy evenings as the cold weather sets in. Project ideas cover holidays throughout the year.

What do you celebrate? by Whitney Stewart, illustrated by Christiane Engel. (2019) Non-Fiction

Illustrated with bold, bright colors, this book introduces the history and traditions behind a wide variety of holidays celebrated around the world. Whether it’s Chinese New Year, Guy Fawkes day or the Cherry Blossom Festival, you’ll learn about the customs, clothing and, best of all, the foods that are eaten to celebrate.

Pre K - 3rd Grade

TEKS Connection: The student understands the characteristics of good citizenship.

The Mouse in the Hammock: A Christmas Tale.

Bethany Brevard (2019) (Fiction/Picture Book)

A beautifully illustrated Christmas tale about the impact of small acts of kindness on the people in the world around us.

Sun Flower Lion by Kevin Henkes. (Fiction/Picture Book)

Simple, brightly colored illustrations help to develop the imagination of young readers. Is the white and yellow shape a sun, a flower, or even the head of a lion? Perfect for new parents to read out loud with children not yet able to read for themselves as well as for beginning readers.

3-6th grade

TEKS Connection: The student demonstrates an understanding of art history and culture by analyzing artistic styles, historical periods, and a variety of cultures. The student develops global awareness and respect for the traditions and contributions of diverse cultures.

Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum. Illustrated by Andrew Joyner. (2019) (Non-Fiction)

Created and published from manuscripts found after his death, this book takes a look at how various artists have viewed the horse in a wide variety of ways. Whether this is simply Dr Seuss at his best, a book about art or a book about horses is hard to say. But it is a great book to add to the collection of anyone who loves to read, draw, study art or just loves horses.

Handimals: Animals in Art and Nature. By Silvia Lopez . Illustrated by Guido Daniele. 2019 (Non-Fiction)

Beautiful illustrations of endangered animals made using human handprints. Coupled with a photo of the endangered animal, this book is a brilliant way to share the concept of the metaphor of human hands helping to ensure animal survival.

6-8th grade

TEKS Connection: Students study people, places, and societies of the contemporary world

Girl Giant and the Monkey King. Van Hoang. (Dec 2020)

Learn about the culture and folk tales of Vietnam in this engaging story about a young Vietnamese immigrant who is much too strong and agrees to help the Monkey King in return for reducing her strength so that she can fit in at her middle school.

TEKS: Students read for pleasure

Never After: The Thirteenth Fairy By Melissa de la Cruz (2020)

Filomena is a big fan of the Never After books and when she gets the chance to skip school to go on an adventure in the world of Never After, she jumps at the opportunity to escape her middle school life for a while. Fans of fantasy and fiction will enjoy this series, and will be looking forward to the 2nd in the series which is due to be published next year.

High School

TEKS Connection World History: The student understands the roles of women, children, and families in different historical cultures.

The Storyteller’s Secret. By Sejal Badani 2019 (Realistic Fiction/ Historical Fiction)

This story, rooted in Indian culture and history flips between present day USA and early 20th century India where women were expected to stick to their assigned roles in society. Badani weaves a tale of sadness and oppression(so have your tissues ready), but there is hope both in

the rebellious nature of people who do what is right, and in the innate humanity of us all; the decency and the ability to look beyond the mistakes of the past and accept the gift of the future.

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys. (2019)

Set against a backdrop of Franco’s Post World War II Spain, Sepetys skilfully blends a dark family secret with a story of love, jealousy and family loyalty. The most difficult thing about this book is putting it down before the end.

Come back tomorrow for more suggestions.

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