We’re so happy to participate in the 25 Days of Jubilation, hosted by Cyndi at Dog-Eared & Bookmarked, Jacinda at The Reading Housewives, and Yani at The Secret Life of an Avid Reader. This is the fourth stop on their 25-day blog tour of giveaways, reviews, interviews, and general holiday cheer. Plus, the hostesses with the mostess are even giving away a brand-new Kindle and an assortment of YA books to add to your ever-growing TBR pile.
Today, Diana and I are going to share some of our favorite Christmas-themed books to read during the holiday season. They’re not YA, but we hope you’ll indulge us as we don virtual Santa hats, hot cocoa and snuggly blankets to read the following titles.
“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson: I first read this book to my kids when they were both in early elementary school and it has become one of our family favorites. Even though they’re in high school now, we still laugh and I always cry (much to my family’s amusement) at the end. This book is a great one to read aloud to your younger children who are old enough to sit through a chapter at a time. They now also have a picture book version, but I haven’t read that yet. –D
“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens: For many years we enjoyed the different movie versions of this holiday classic. Then one year I announced that we should actually READ this classic story (yes there was much moaning and gnashing of teeth). However, we discovered that it really was more enjoyable to read it. Dickens had a way with words that doesn’t translate onto the big screen. Dickens’ messages regarding family, love, materialism are even worthy to read today than in the mid 1800’s when it was first published. –D
“The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry: Some of you probably read this short story in sixth or seventh grade, thought it was cheesy and never read it again. But I remember being heartbroken by how tragic but beautiful the story was; it represented the sort of selflessness and generosity that Christmas (not to mention true love) was all about in my young eyes. More than two decades after I first read it, O. Henry’s tale of sacrifice still makes me cry — like other tear-jerking classics “The Last Leaf” or “The Little Match Girl” or “Love You Forever.” –S
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr Seuss: This is one of those books that came to me through marriage. I was not particularly a fan of the book or the movie growing up, but my husband loves this. So, we pull it out for his nostalgia’s sake and read it. I’ve learned that there’s so much to love in a story where a Grinch’s heart grows bigger at the end. Now, if I could just get over my general creepiness over the Grinch himself, but that’s another story. –D
“Olive the Other Reindeer” by Vivian Walsh: My daughter discovered this book at a school book fair several years ago, and we enjoy reading this every year. It’s a cute story about a dog that believes she is also a reindeer when she mistakenly thinks the line in the “Rudolph” song says, “Olive the other reindeer,” and believes she IS the other reindeer. Olive causes some problems for the reindeer team, but in the end her canine skills prove to be useful. The illustrations in the book are equally as entertaining as the story itself. –D
“The Nutcracker: A Pop-Up Book” by Patricia Fry: My daughter, who’s in first grade now, became obsessed with “The Nutcracker” ballet a couple of years ago, so we got this pop-up book for her, and it’s just gorgeous. The stunningly detailed illustrations are so beautiful we sometimes spend way longer on a page than we should — especially considering bedtime usually runs a tad late in our house. If we can by some miracle keep her from ruining any of the pages, I know this book will be a treasure my daughter keeps until she’s reading it to her own little ones. –S
“The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg: It’s our family’s tradition to read this book together every December. It gets repeated again again leading up to Christmas. The award-winning illustrations and the original story delight the kids, and my husband and I love reading this North Pole adventure to them (even though two of them could read it themselves at this point). We’ll know our kids don’t “Believe” any more when they stop asking for us to read it. That will be a sad moment for us, but in the meantime, we’re going to keep on reading it! –S
“Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham: Although Grisham tends to be an author I think of for summer beach reading, I was surprised to see he had written a book without any lawyers in it and that it was funny. So, I took the plunge and bought it and then found out it was soon to be released as a movie. While the movie wasn’t as funny as the book, the book was very amusing. Now it’s one of my favorite books to reread during the holidays. When the Kranks decide to skip all of the Christmas hubbub it wreaks havoc on their family and on their neighborhood. Skip the movie and read the book, it will definitely make your holiday jolly! –D
And now for our Giveaway! We’ve decided to give away SIX of our favorite books of 2011 to SIX different winners. Between us, we’ve read hundreds of YA novels this year, but we limited our selection to those actually published this year. To enter our giveaway, just fill out this form. You decide which book(s) to try to win. You must be at least 13 years old and a US resident to win. Entries must be submitted by midnight ET Dec. 31, 2011. The winners will be announced the first week of January.
2. “Divergent” by Veronica Roth: Often books don’t live up to hype, but “Divergent” is an exception; it’s a juicy dystopian thriller with one of the most kick-ass YA couples ever.
3. “How to Save a Life” by Sara Zarr: Realistic fiction (especially the standalone novel) should never be underestimated for its power, and Zarr masterfully crafts a story about two completely different teenage girls who save each other’s lives.
4. “Lola and the Boy Next Door” by Stephanie Perkins: An enjoyable story about an unusual girl who must come to terms with her long time feelings for her childhood sweetheart, when he moves back next door and back into her life.
5. “The Scorpio Races” by Maggie Stiefvater: I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Stiefvater book not about werewolves, but I knew it would be good. Based on the Celtic folklore of water horses, this is a gorgeously written tale full of heart-stopping suspense and romance.
6. Where She Went by Gayle Forman: A haunting tale of love lost from the point of view of the broken, male protagonist. Forman amazingly is able to depict the mind and heart of a young man grieving for the woman he loves.
This week, 25 Days of Jubilation continues at the following blogs. Make sure to check them out:
- Monday, December 5th: Shannon at Books Devoured
- Tuesday, December 6th: Bex at Becky’s Barmy Book Blog
- Wednesday, December 7th: Christi at Christi the Teen Librarian
- Thursday, December 8th: Jen at In the Closet with a Bibliophile
- Friday, December 9th: Sara O. at The Librarian Reads
- Saturday, December 10th: Ginger at GReads!