Cricket at the Manger by Edith Hope Fine, pictures by Winslow Pels  Boyds Mills Press, 2005

A grumpy cricket burrows under the straw to hide.  Later when the circket sees an infant in the manger, his thoughts of sleep are banished for the cricket knows that this night is meant for rejoicing. The story of the Nativity is told through the voice of one of the smallest creatures in the stable. Unique illustrations in mixed media make this a special book for a special time of year.

Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey by Robert Byrd   Dutton Children's books, 2000

Late one winter day in Italy, St. Francis encounters an unhappy donkey. He shows the donkey his marvelous origins teaching him the power of who he really is. Byrd's detailed illustrations are inspired by Francis's love and concern for all living things. Each spread is a feast for the eye and for the soul.

Through the Animals' Eyes - A Story of the First Christmas by Christopher Wormell  Running Press, 2006

Magnificent wood engraved illustrations bring new meaning to the sacred story of the Nativity, as seen through the eyes of biblical animals from the Asiatic donkey to the Griffon vulture. The back matter includes descriptions of these animals of the Holy Land.

Singing Christmas carols like Silent Night and Away in the Manger set the scene for these picture books.

A Child is Born by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Floyd Cooper   Hyperion Books for Children, 2000

From the author of Goodnight Moon comes a lyrical celebration of the miracle of Christmas. Luminous paintings by award-winning illustrator Floyd Cooper glimmer with light, reflecting the hope that is eternally renewed.

Little One, We Knew You'd Come ​by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by Jackie Morris   Little, Brown & Co, 2006

"Little one, we knew you'd come. We hoped. We dreamed. We watched for you. We counted the days till you were due..." This unique Christmas story lyrically evokes for children excitement of the day they were born, and the wonder of the miraculous birth at the center of the Nativity story.

Mary's Song by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn   Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2012

On that first Christmas night, the earth bursts with praise at the Savior's birth. Mary simply wants to be alone with her sweet babe. When quiet finally falls, Mary cradles her son and sings her mother-song leaving readers dreaming of that silent night so long ago.

The Christmas Star by Marcus Pfister, translated by J. Allison James   North-South Books, 1993

"Surely these stars know the place of the Holy Child's birth."  Readers will join the shepherds, kings, and animals of the forest and follow the shining star (glistening on the pages) to the stable where the Hold Child lies.

The First Night by B.G. Hennessy, paintings by Steve Johnson with Lou Fancher   Viking, 1993

With its spare, moving text and tender, luminous paintings, this exquisite retelling of the Nativity frames the first quiet hours before the angels, kings, and pageantry when this baby was just like any other baby.  Its sense of mystery and wonder will capture children and adults alike.

How Jesus Came by Thomas Wahl OSB, illustrated by Gertrud Mueller Nelson   Pueblo Publishing, 1981

This book written by a monk introduces children to Jesus' story from the annunciation to how He will come again at the end of the world. The reader is asked questions throughout the story and concludes with "Here I am. I love you, Jesus. I am trying to do what you want."


Legend says that the animals talk on Christmas Eve.

    Enjoy these books focusing on the birth of Jesus as told by the animals.

Read a Christmas Story

Wrap 24 holiday books and use it as an Advent calendar reading one each night in December.  Or focus on the Sundays in Advent and each week read aloud a Christmas picture book about the Nativity.

This Christmas,

  give your children

    something they want

        something they need,

              something to wear and

                    something to READ!

Christmas Creche

​An old French custom during Advent encourages family members to lay a piece of straw in the empty crib of the Nativity scene whenever they do something special for someone. Then on Christmas Eve, baby Jesus is placed in a warm, comfortable manger. The book Saint Francis and the Christmas Miracle  at Greccio by Jeffrey Campbell and illustrated by Francesca Bianco retells the legend of the Nativity Scene which began in Italy in 1223 when Francis and his Brothers recreated the Bethlehem scene, baby and all.  A detailed review of this book is on the Book Talk page. December CKBC members will receive this book.  Or order one in the Store Shopping Cart.

Reasons We Love You

On a small slip of paper, write a reason you love your child. As a family, read it before placing it in a jar marked: "Reasons we love you." You can make one jar for each member of the family and take turns writing and reading the slips at dinner. This is a great activity that can start on Thanksgiving and last through Advent.

​Advent Wreath

Hands in Prayer

Each night during Advent, trace your child's hand on construction paper and cut it out. On each hand, write the name of a person to pray for. Attach the hands to a ribbon for a unique mantel or tree decoration. Or save them in a bowl and choose one each night before bed to say a special Advent prayer for.

Even toddlers can participate as the family prepares by lighting a new candle each Sunday. Use pink and purple tissue paper to cover battery-operated votives - 3 purple and 1 pink. Children will be so proud to "light the candle" each night for a family prayer before dinner.

Advent Traditions

​Enjoy these simple activities with your family to celebrate the Advent Season

St. Nicholas Day

The feast day of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, is December 6. This 4th century Bishop of Myra showed his devotion to God in extraordinary kindness and generosity to those in need. Children around the world know and love St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Santa Claus. In the Netherlands, children put their shoes in front of chimneys in hopes of finding chocolate or a small toy when they awake. It's a fun tradition to start with your family.

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Celebrate Advent with Danny

Catholic Kids Book Club members received this book in November to help them celebrate this season.  A detailed review is on the Book Talk page.  Order a copy in the Store Shopping Cart.

Catholic Kids Book Club


Traditions Make Memories

Traditions do not need to be elaborate or time consuming. Spending quality time with your family preparing for the celebration of Christmas, the birth of the Christ Child, will have a lasting effect on you and your children.

Email us your family's Advent traditions so that we can share them with our Catholic Kids Book Club readers.