Best Christmas Story Books for Kids 2020

A good book is evergreen, but there is something especially rewarding about winter reading, especially as Christmas approaches, when the days are shorter and the weather less favorable.

When it comes to kids, reading is one of the best ways to minimize screen time, and it’s an easy compromise if the book is exciting, fun to watch, and has a compelling cast of characters.

Not that young people need a lot of encouragement to get into the festive spirit, but Christmas themed books always add a little extra magic.

We researched titles with uplifting or cheerful storylines, beautiful artwork, and timeless storylines so that we could come back to them again and again over the years.

From the most beloved traditional fairy tales and reinvented classics to the brand new books just off the press, we’ve rounded up the selection of books to buy this Christmas.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commissions from some retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from actual testing and expert advice. These revenues help fund journalism through The independent.

‘The Three Wishes’ by Alan Snow, published by Pavillion

First of all, the illustrations here are so beautiful, with their folk aesthetic – rich in patterned borders and color. While there is a range of images, this is also a heavy word – explaining the origins of Santa Claus.

It is the story of a young boy who loses his reindeer; they wandered into another world, an endless summer world. He finds them but remains stuck in this season. Three of his new friends – a fish, a bird and a wooden creature – grant him three wishes, which will ensure him freedom, happiness and time.

He is periodically allowed to visit his family – but time stops in the outside world and the boy leaves gifts to show that he has returned home. For anyone who has ever wondered how Santa Claus manages to get around the world in one night, why his reindeer can fly, or why he wears a red coat, this book has the answers. Enchanting.

‘A House For Christmas Mouse’ by Rebecca Harry, published by Nosy Crow

It’s a beautiful friendship story, which sees a fearless mouse move to a new forest in search of a home in time for Christmas. It’s snowing and the sun is setting, but with the help of a few new furry friends, the little mouse is sure to have a fun time. We especially liked the shiny silver details that decorated each page and the softness of the artwork. Perfect Christmas storybook for the little ones.

‘Magnificent Mabel and The Christmas Elf’ by Ruth Quayle and Julia Christians, published by Nosy Crow

This collection of three short stories follows the antics of Mabel, which as the title suggests, is rather magnificent. Only the first is festive – thanks to a very naughty elf who gets Mabel in a lot of trouble – but the whole volume is an energetic lark for young people who are confident in independent reading. The main character is strong, strong-willed and very funny – the perfect heroine.

‘Merry Christmas Baked Potato’ by Matt Lucas, published by Egmont

Written by comedian and actor Matt Lucas, it’s the story of a baked potato who is also Santa Claus. We follow him on the busiest night of the year: from a backpack to an upside down map, there’s plenty of drama as well as plenty of colorful Scott Coello illustrations. Both funny and silly, he also promotes cuteness in his festive joy. We thought the activity suggestions (potato elf prints, anyone?) On the last page were a really nice touch as well.

“Mog’s Christmas” by Judith Kerr, published by Harper Collins

One of the world’s most famous – and most forgetful – cats has been around for 50 years; Mog has charmed generations of children with his playfulness. This tale, Mog’s Christmas, tells the story of the Thomas family as they prepare for the big day – December 25. But Mog isn’t sure about all this change – “talking” trees, garlands and a house full of strangers, and retreats to the roof for a nap. Written with humor and heart, the late and great Judith Kerr created one of the most beloved pets in literature and this book is a timeless Christmas classic.

“The Snowflake” by Benji Davies, published by Harper Collins

You couldn’t dream of a sweeter Christmas story than this one, created by author and illustrator Benji Davis. It tells the story of a snowflake, who is afraid of falling and fears where it will land, and of a little girl, Noelle, who thinks that her Christmas tree is missing something. The illustrations are so detailed and lovely; fully evoking the magic of a White Christmas, while the words remind us that everyone has a chance to shine.

‘Night After Christmas’ by Kes Gray, published by Hodder Children’s Books

Have you ever wondered how Santa and his team let off steam after all their hard work over Christmas? Well, this glittery pocket book will answer all of your questions. Written by the creator of the very successful Oi Frog, it’s a story inspired by the classic poem “The night before Christmas” and it is also told via pithy rhyme pages. Spoiler alert – there is a very big party between these pages.

Personalized Christmas Greeting Story Book

Who doesn’t want to be the star of the story? This beautiful book can be personalized with any name and appearance. Available in hardback or paperback, we loved that inside the cover a personalized donor’s message could be printed. The story itself features the Christmas fairy, a unicorn, and a dragon, full of exciting adventures as well as brilliant lessons about friendship, family, and self-confidence. The illustrations are sweet and inviting, and we can’t think of a child who won’t be happy to be told a story about them.

‘The Jolly Christmas Postman’ by Allan and Janet Ahlberg, published by Penguin Random House

For fans of The merry postman, the downright epic book for any age, which features famous fairy tale heroes and villains, and includes letters and cards inside their own envelopes, The Merry Christmas Factor is the festive version. It’s just as smart and fun as the original; we follow the postman on Christmas Eve as he peddles his bike through the snow to deliver mail to the four bears, then to the Gingerbread Boy, before ending up in the very festive workshop of the great man himself. We (and all the kids we know) loved this book, the formula for a story where you can open other people’s message is crowd pleaser.

‘The Miracle on Ebenezer Street’ by Catherine Doyle, published by Puffin

Featured as a modern reinvention of the Dickensian Christmas classic A Christmas Carol, this story is the most brilliant tribute to his inspiration. Perfect for confident readers who are up for a real novel page turn to entice them.

There are adult themes to discuss here: death and grief form the basis of this tale. George is a boy who faces his third Christmas without his mother – his family has fallen into their own sadness and George feels lonely.

But there’s also a lot of light and playfulness – we’re talking about magical snow globes and a sturdy purple reindeer. It’s action packed, imaginative and we loved how uplifting it was, without fearing the big issues. Doyle writes beautifully, so it’s no wonder she’s won so many awards.

‘The Twelve Christmas Cats’ by Alison Ritchie, published by Simon & Schuster

We loved this book where the traditional Christmas days are replaced by felines of various colors, breeds and dispositions. From a mischievous moggy hitting balls on the tree to 12 kitties on the roof waiting for Santa Claus – readers are treated to very detailed illustrations and very cheerful rhymes, as well as the opportunity to put in practice their counting skills.

The verdict: Christmas tales

The three wishes wins for us – we really enjoyed Alan Snow’s folk storytelling and beautiful illustrations. We believe children will fall in love with this and this is the kind of book that will not only stand the test of time, but it will also be passed down from generation to generation.

Get sorted Christmas gifts with the best motivational books for kids

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions we earn income if you click on the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to distort our coverage. Reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.


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