What to Read Next: New Holiday Books for Kids

Read about young Santa, a delinquent tween, and Tolkien's letters to the North Pole. Read about young Santa, a delinquent tween, and Tolkien's letters to the North Pole. By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media book editor

Finding the right book for your kid can be a challenge. But if you guess right and keep new ones coming, you may be on your way to raising a lifelong reader.


Check out our Essential Books for Kids and Teens guide to find more than 150 of our perennial favorites. Plus, every month we highlight a few books for different ages, including some exceptional titles that could be the perfect thing to pique kids' interest, get them hooked on a new author, or help them rediscover an old favorite.

Here are our picks for December:

  • For kids age 3 to 7, there's Little Santa by Jon Agee, which offers a charming origin story of Santa Claus that bears no relation to the one about St. Nicholas. Who knew that Santa grew up at the North Pole with a snow-hating family desperate to move to Florida and that even as a tyke in a red onesie he had a taste for sliding down chimneys and riding flying reindeer? With deadpan humor and appealing art in a wintry pastel palette, this gentle, original story will appeal to kids and grown-ups alike. Perfect for read-aloud.

  • For readers age 9 to 12, check out Nickel Bay Nick by Dean Pitchford about a troubled and troublemaking tween boy who gets involved with a secret philanthropist and helps salvage Christmas for his economically depressed small town of Nickel Bay. As much a coming-of-age novel as a holiday tale, it shows a hard-luck kid transformed by doing good for others. With grit, humor, and heart, it avoids corny cliches -- quite a feat for a Christmas story!

  • For teens age 13 to 17, we have a special recommendation for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings fans: J.R.R. Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas. Each year, from 1920 to 1943, Tolkien would write and colorfully illustrate a letter from Father Christmas for his four children. This collection of the letters makes a great holiday read-aloud for kids age 5 to 10, but teens reading on their own will find it surprisingly funny and a little weird -- in a good way. And, hey -- it has elves and goblins! (It also includes a goblin alphabet and a bit of elvish writing.) A fine choice in a month when The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug comes out in theaters.

What are some of your family's favorite holiday books?


About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to:www.commonsense.org.


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