Our Favorite Christmas Picture Books

Even at 33 years old, I look forward to hauling out the Christmas books just as much as my kiddos. There’s something about savoring these sweet, funny, meaningful stories that helps me slow down and enjoy the holiday season. We have a huge collection of Christmas picture books and always get a huge stack from the library. Here are our favorites.

An * by the description indicates its part of Amazon’s 3 for the price of 2 sale thats going on now. All links are affiliate which just means I get a small commission if you make a purchase with no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting my Christmas book addiction. :)

Did I miss your favorite? Let me know in the comments.

Hilarious animal visuals along with the classic Christmas song.

Cute little mice discover the true meaning of Christmas. Written by a great story teller.

Such sweet illustrations. All of Little Mouse’s family weighs in on what the magic of Christmas is.

Can Sally Loyd Jones do any wrong with her moving books? I don’t think so.

Not in print anymore, but maybe your library has it!

* Charlie learns to love a new kitty.

After her house is destroyed in a storm, Mouse finds a perfect place to live.

Striking illustrations with very memorizable text.

* One of our faves of the favorites.

Not sure why this is so pricey. But bunnies!

There’s another version of this book illustrated by Anna Dewdney (Llama Llama), but I prefer this one.

Just gorgeous. And so cheap right now.

One of my absolute FAVORITES.

A Christmas installment of a delightful series. Christmasy words defined in terms of cookies.

There’s something about these sheep that I find so charming.

Wonderfully interactive for toddlers.

* Llama Llama getting into some simple holiday cheer.

* Not technically Christmas, but the lyrics to this classic Christmasy song is accompanied by beautiful illustrations.

These are gorgeous! $2.34 off coupon right now off of $14.73.

* Uniquely beautiful illustrations of a classic ballet.

* JARVIS is an illustrating genius. I think I’m always attracted to stories about Christmas trees – picking a tree is one of my favorite traditions.

* Wonderfully done take on Twas The Night Before Christmas.

Mary Engelbreit’s ubiquitous illustrations of the classic Christmas play.

I am SUCH a fan of Fletcher. These books always have beautiful illustrations.

* A tiny church mouse brings Christmas spirit to a town with a sick parson.

I get choked up every time I read this one.

* Same with this one.

Loved reading about this family’s Christmas Eve tradition.

From the illustrator of the Snowman and Night books.

* Another crier.

It’s always fun going back to Stoney Meadow Farms.

* Striking illustrations accompanying the Robert Frost poem.

* Bear tries to stay up to Christmas. Part of a fun series.

* Got it from the library last week and we’ve read it everyday.

* I loved this long-form picture book based on the author’s actual family.

A fun take on Goldilocks.

* Clever rhymes and amusing illustrations (plus hidden pictures) has made this a family favorite.

July in Books

July was an exceptionally productive reading month, mostly because I listened to many of these books on audio. (I use Scribd and love it. You can use my referral code for a free 60 trial membership.)

*Links are affiliate. 
Track series by Jason Reynolds: Ghost, Patina, Sunny & Lu

I explain more in my review on IG, but this series has a robust narrative arc that spans all four books. Reynolds has created four unique personalities (one in each book) that come together in surprising and satisfying ways in Lu, the fourth and final installment of the series. I highly recommend reading them in the correct order and close enough together that you remember details. They are so good, you won’t have a problem wanting to just speed through them all. I listened to Patina, Sunny and Lu on audio and cannot say enough good things about the narration. Guy Lockard, the narrator for Ghost, Sunny and Lu is a childhood friend of Reynolds whose insight into the world and characters Reynolds created was so helpful.


Cozy White Cottage: 100 Ways To Love The Feeling of Being Home by Liz Marie Galvan

Liz’s aesthetic – white + warm wood + plants – is what I’m going for as we polish up The Mustard House.  The 100 tips in this book are very generic and would be gleaned just by following her on IG. My two biggest takeaways:

    • When you don’t want to wire lights, use puck lights (which often operate with a remote control) command stripped to the inside of a light fixture. This is especially helpful when you own an old house with no overhead lights and limited outlets.
    • Don’t wait! Budget, time constraints and perfectionism hinder progress, but sometimes you just need to go for it to feel comfortable in your space. That’s why we painted our bathroom countertop. We’ll probably replace it with something more countertop appropriate eventually, but I’m so glad I took the 20 minutes to paint it instead of living with something I hated.

If you’re looking for inspirational AND practical decor advice, I will always recommend Myquillyn’s (The Nester) books.


The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice by Anthony Ray Hinton

Hinton spent 30 years, wrongfully accused, on death row in Alabama. I was consistently mesmerized and horrified and uplifted by Anthony Ray Hinton’s story. Excellent on audio, narrated by Bryan Stevenson.



Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhhà Lai

When I was growing up, my mom got her nails done on the regular. I have vivid memories of sitting on the couch in her shop, eating the hard candies – she had the kind wrapped like a strawberry with a fruity goo inside – and reading magazines. She would always give my little girl nails a little color while my mom’s nails dried. Linda watched my brother and I grow up (she gave me my wedding day manicure) and we followed her kids’ successes through school and beyond. Overtime, we learned about her painful journey to America from Vietnam. I thought of Linda the entire time I was listening to Inside Out and Back Againa beautiful coming of age story in verse that follows Hà from her home in Saigon to Alabama during the Vietnam War.


  • Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through The Landscape and Memory of Vietnam From the publisher: “Catfish and Mandala is the story of an American odyssey―a solo bicycle voyage around the Pacific Rim to Vietnam―made by a young Vietnamese-American man in pursuit of both his adopted homeland and his forsaken fatherland. Intertwined with an often humorous travelogue spanning a year of discovery is a memoir of war, escape, and ultimately, family secrets.”


The Crossover + Booked by Kwame Alexander

Sports-centered novels aren’t necessarily my thing, but these middle-grade books in verse were lively and full of heart. The diverging paths of Jordan and Josh in The Crossover reminded me of how it felt to grow apart from my childhood best friend. I particularly liked the bookish elements in the aptly named Booked.

Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos by Lucy Knisley

I’ve read every one of Knisley’s well-crafted graphic novels (they’re non-fiction, so I guess they’re not novels…). While well done, I didn’t really relate to her marriage centric book Something New, but I did resonate with Knisley’s take on becoming a mom. We don’t share specific experiences – trouble getting pregnant, miscarriage, and a traumatic birth – however, Kinsley captures the wild, wacky and wonderful thing that is growing a small human so well.


Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley

In this semi-autobiographical graphic novel, Knisley ventures in to the middle grade genre with great success. Jen has to navigate her mom’s annoying new boyfriend, moving from the city to said boyfriend’s farm, and that boyfriend’s two daughters on the weekends. I initially thought the boyfriend was just too annoying to be real life, but the author’s note redeemed that aspect of the story.

 Unbound by Ann E Burg

I’m grateful to Alison for recommending this middle grade slave account written in verse. I listened to Grace’s story as she moved up to the big house and then eventually escaped to the swamp with her family. Grace is a self-aware protagonist whose reflections on freedom were powerful.

 The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne

A must read if you are a fan of Jane Austen. Byrne offers a compelling look at Austen’s interior and exterior life through the lens of ordinary objects. I now have a much clearer understanding of one of my favorite author’s life and times.



Being Known by Robin Jones Gunn 

Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for my free copy. The Christy Miller series was my version of The Babysitters Club. I grew up alongside Christy and now she is doing life with a group of women who call themselves Haven Makers. What I wrote for the first in this series holds up for Being Known as well… This books was full of nostalgia for me and I’ve come to appreciate books like this for what they are – Hallmark renderings of reality. Robin Jones Gunn writes about real struggles in this book, but the interactions sometimes seem made-for-tv ish. Did I still enjoy it? Sure did.

Distracting With Pretty

I thought a pandemic would increase my reading, but it has done the opposite. I’ve found myself too distracted, too tired or too pre-occupied with life at home to do much other than collapse onto the couch in the evening. What is slowly drawing me back into the rhythm of regular reading again are audiobooks and rereads.

There’s something comforting and pleasantly familiar about rereading a beloved classic. So I was especially grateful for the free review copy of the Sense and Sensibility edition of a new series by Karen Swallow Prior. In this series of lovely, cloth-bound books, bestselling author and literature professor, guides readers through classics with insightful introductions and vast footnotes. What a good study Bible will do for you as you read Scripture – cultural context, definitions, and thematic clues – Prior’s guide does for reading and reflecting classics.

Even though I’ve read all of Austen’s work multiple times, I appreciated Prior’s educated insights and I especially loved the reflection questions after each volume. What a wonderful addition to my Austen shelf. It would also make a stellar gift for any Austen fan.

Another thing that has helped me stay sane during these surreal times is to surround myself with as much beauty as possible. I especially love each of these editions of Sense and Sensibility.

*These are affiliate links*

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I have now read and thoroughly enjoyed another in Karen’s series of classics – Heart of Darkness by Jospeh Conrad. I’m the type of person who enjoyed much of their high school required reading. But Heart of Darkness was among the titles I didn’t appreciate when I read it as a teen. I found it a bit confusing and just too, well, dark. Prior’s insights were so helpful when coming back to this title as an adult. It’s been 16 years since I last read it and I appreciated the background on Conrad’s life, both personal and professional. Prior’s notes and reflection questions were a good guide as I navigated this novel for a second time. It’s still not my favorite classic, but I feel like I at least redeemed my first reading with Prior’s help. It also didn’t hurt that the book was lovely.

The Wondering Years by Knox McCoy

One of the biggest benefits I’ve gotten out of deep-diving into personality frameworks is the reminder that we all approach the world differently.  Looking through the lens of say, the Enneagram, has helped me to better understand these diverse perspectives and increased my ability to extend grace and compassion to myself and others as differences come in contact and often cause friction.

For the same reason, I love reading spiritual memoirs. They remind me that everyone’s journey toward Jesus is different. They remind me to extend grace to myself and others as we work out our faith. They remind me that God created us uniquely, for a purpose.

One such book just released – The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions by Knox McCoy.

In a voice that is humorous and perceptive, Knox shares pop culture anecdotes and analogies that have helped him make sense of life and faith. His ability to transition from funny story to personal reflection is seamless. Though I’ve never been punched in the face (unless you count my visceral reaction to Chapter 18: The Cancer) and don’t consider myself any sort of pop culture maven*, Knox’s stories and insights were infinitely relatable. Also, his footnotes are perfection.

The Wondering Years forever inducted into my cannon of re-readable spiritual memoirs and is easily one of my favorite books of 2018.

*The Popcast with Knox and Jamie is the only reason I ever kind of know what I’m talking about in regards to pop culture. And a lot of times, I don’t always know what they’re talking about. But I still tune in every Wednesday – it’s that good. Same goes with this book. I didn’t always catch the references, but it didn’t diminish my enjoyment one bit.

The lovely folks at W Publishing gave me permission to print an excerpt (which you’ll find below) and you can listen to Knox read the first chapter here. I’m also giving away two copies of The Wondering Years over on Instagram!

In case you were wondering… Some other favorite spiritual memoirs are

Without further ado, a snippet from Chapter Three: High Stakes.

Even though I’m a card-carrying evangelical Christian*, trust me when I say that this book isn’t a low-key effort to be like To Catch a Predator, wherein I burst into the consciousness of your soul and, over the course of these pages, make you accept your salvation from Jesus Christ**. At points in my youth, I was very much that person – and with the benefit of hindsight, I’ve developed some, uh, complicated feelings about that behavior and history. Instead, my goal here is to perform something of a spiritual audit of my own faith experience. (Or at leas that’s what my editor tells me. I’m really just here to make a ton of references to Saved By The Bell and hope for the best.)

I realize that makes us strange bookfellows. I mean, why should you care about me putting my faith under a microscope? That feels kind of intimate, no? Well, I guess what I’m hoping for is that you get from this what I get from watching The Profit.

For context, The Profit is a reality show starring Actual Rich Guy Marcus Lemonis. In each episode, he decides whether to invest in businesses that are in operational or financial trouble. To make his decision, he considers three principles: people, product, and process. In other words, are the people at the company hardworking, is the product viable and profitable, and are the processes in place for success? Once he identifies which of these things are broken, he takes steps to right the company, and there is much entrepreneurial rejoicing.

I like The Profit because it’s a good show, but also because I find Marcus’ thoughtful approach to business applicable to many areas of my life, especially my faith. When our faith isn’t as strong as it could be, where have we gone wrong? Is it the people, the product, the process? How do we right what’s broken if we don’t examine it?

And I realize I’m very casually tossing around the word faith as though we all distinctly understand what it means. To clarify, my use of faith is a generalized shorthand for everything encompassing my religious beliefs. In other words, faith is a lot like Mary Poppins’ purse: very simple idea, deeply complicated contents.

* Just kidding – we don’t carry cards. Too mark-of-the-beasty.

** What would this show be called? To Convert a Heathen? To Catch A Convert? Also I can’t believe this isn’t already a show on a Christian TV network.

Knox McCoy – The Wondering Years


My Favorite Bunny (picture) Books

Best bunny

Bunny books are my kryptonite. I’ve had an ever growing collection of bunny books since I was a little girl, thanks to my mom who has faithfully given them as gifts over the years. One of the best parts of having a children’s book collection of any sort is sharing them with your own children. It’s been a joy to see my two little ones delight in these stories as much as I did/do.

Several of these recommendations are no longer in print but are worth searching out at the library or getting a used copy from an online seller like Thrift Books or Discover Books (I try to avoid previous library books when ordering from these sites so we don’t get the plasticy cover).

Whether you’re looking for a book to slip in to an Easter basket or you have a bunny loving kiddo, these bunny books are some of my favorite! I’m always looking for more bunny books, though, so please share any I missed in the comments!

Please note that the links are affiliate. 

 Too Many Hopkins by Tomie de Paola

I’m sad this isn’t in print any more (an absolute classic in our household), but it’s available used. Tomie de Paola is an iconic children’s book author and illustrator. Too Many Hopkins subtly teaches the basics of gardening, how to work together and all the Hopkins have fun alliterative names.

I am a Bunny by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry

This classic IS still in print! Little Nicholas in his cute red overalls talks about the things he does each season. The unique size of this board book is fun but it also comes in regular Golden Book size.

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Doerrfeld so perfectly captures the essence of empathy and kindness in her minimalist text and sweet illustrations. A very poignant reminder for me as a parent what speaks louder than words is a listening ear.

 Pat The Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Every child’s library should include this book. I can smell the flowers even now…

Bunnies Are For Kissing by Allia Zobel Nola, Illustrated by Jacqueline East

“Bunnies are for kissing. They’re meant for hugging too. Sure as we have floppy ears, sweet Bunny, we love you!” Quoted from memory because this book is a favorite of my kids and has a catchy rhyme scheme.

Bunny Trouble & More Bunny Trouble by Hans Wilhelm 

Naturally, I liked the characters in the Bunny Trouble stories because the little sister is named Emily. Even if you don’t share a name with one of the characters, these are fun and especially good for Easter because this troupe of bunnies paint Easter eggs for a living.

Fuzzy Rabbit by Rosemary Billam, Illustrated by Vanessa Julian-Ottie

Even though the Fuzzy Rabbit books aren’t in print, I can’t leave them off the list. Used copies abound.  Fuzzy has adventures in the park and with his owner’s little brother. The illustrations are charmingly old-fashioned.

This Little Bunny Can Bake by Janet Stein

If you’re child enjoys cooking, this little bunny will be a welcome addition to your collection. Bunny and several other students go to Chef George’s School of Dessertology and learn the basics of baking. There isn’t much of a storyline but the illustrations are packed with silliness (Dog making a shoe-fly pie…) that is fun to talk about with kiddos.

The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits by Douglas Florian, Illustrated by Sonia Sánchez

What do rabbits do all day? This family of rabbits will show you all the fun things they do – smelling flowers in Spring, lazing for hours in Summer, and digging holes, to name a few. The text is poetic and the illustrations are unique and charming.The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, Illustrated by Sarah Massini

There are plenty of versions of this classic, but I’m quite partial to the illustrations by Sarah Massini in this beautiful edition.

Bunny’s First Spring by Sally Lloyd-Jones, Illustrated by David McPhail

Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of The Jesus Storybook Bible, is a treasure. She writes books that have depth of sentiment but still connect with little readers. In Bunny’s First Spring, Bunny experiences the changing seasons for the first time and fears “the beautiful earth must be dying.” Lloyd-Jones perfectly captures the wonder and beauty to be found in the signs of passing time.

Too Many Carrots by Katy Hudson

Barnes and Noble pushed this book last Spring for good reason. Hudson’s illustrations are vibrant and engaging. She also doesn’t skimp on the end sheets and front matter, all of which are boldly illustrated with fun extras. Ultimately about sharing, Too Many Carrots follows rabbit as he tries to find a home suitable for himself and his carrots.

 It’s Not Easy Being A Bunny by Marilyn Sadler, Illustrated by Roger Bollen

Poor PJ Funnybunny does not like being a bunny. He tries living with all sorts of other animals only to figure out being a bunny isn’t so bad after all.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve read this since I was a kid. Great repeating text and an opportunity to demonstrate your moose calling abilities.

The Bold, Brave Bunny by Beth Ferry, Illustrated by Chow Hon Lam

This reminded me of a modern It’s Not Easy Being A Bunny. (One of the opening lines reads, “There were so many bunnies. It. Wasn’t. Even. Funny.”) Teetu becomes overwhelmed and frustrated by the abundance of bunnies in his family, so he takes a break from the burrow. He knows that B is for more than bunnies – B is for brave, B is for bold – but he unexpectedly discovers that B is also for belonging. Much like the title, the illustrations are bold and high contrast making it a very striking read. Thank you so much to Harper Kids for our copy.

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Illustrated by Anita Jeram

Anita Jeram is one of my favorite illustrators (think Bunny My Honey, You’re All My Favorites, and Skip To The Loo, My Darling – an amazing potty training book)

 Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems

Another set (this is the first) of books that has a dad-child relationship on display. This one would be dad-daughter-bunny… Willems uses colored drawings over black and white photographs to illustrate these Knuffle Bunny adventures. They are hilarious.

La La Rose by Satomi Ichikawa

Ichikawa’s love of Paris is evident in her gorgeous illustrations of Luxembourg Gardens where poor La La Rose gets separated from her friend Clementine. La La Rose narrates her journey around the Gardens until she is finally reunited with Clementine. I am so sad this award winning book isn’t Prime-able. It’s worth searching out. If you can’t find it, cry your way through You Are My I Love You and get a sense for Ichikawa’s gift for illustrating.

 The Night Before Easter by Natasha Wing, Illustrated by Kathy Couri

For our family, Easter is about celebrating that Jesus died and rose again to give us eternal life with Him. That being said, we aren’t above bunnies and eggs and baskets of goodies. This is a clever riff on The Night Before Christmas.

A Night-Light for Bunny by Geoffery Hayes

Bunny and Papa search for the perfect night light. Bun has a bit of an attitude, but I like that this includes the dad and talks about sources of light. The end has a song that my children enjoy hearing me sing (tunelessly) differently every time we read it.

The Country Bunny And The Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward, Illustrated by Marjorie Hack 

A strong female protagonist (the country bunny, mom to 21 baby buns) makes this a timely tale despite it’s publication date almost 80 years ago. The Country Bunny proves herself wise, kind, clever, and swift enough to be one of the five Easter Bunnies who deliver eggs all over the world.

 The April Rabbits by David Cleveland, Illustrated by Nurit Karlin

Another book that I must have acquired in elementary school and have vivid reading memories of the illustrations. Robert sees an increasing number of rabbits for every day in April. Lots of humor in the illustrations.

 I’m Big Enough by Amber Stewart, Ilustrated by Layn Marlow

Confession: I still sleep with my childhood blanket. And it has a name. (Insert monkey covering eyes emoji here.) I have a very tolerant husband. Bean can’t find her blanket and learns to cope without it until she realizes she really is big enough to not have one. Apparently Bean is more mature than me.

 Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro , Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss

If there were book trump cards, this would be mine. Bunny and books. Need I say more? Love by Emma Dodd

A larger board book that celebrate the everyday joys between a momma and baby bun. Impossibly cute illustrations. My beginning reader can make his way through this on his own.

 Audrey Bunny by Angie Smith, Illustrated by Breezy Brookshire

Another one I can’t make it through without crying. If you know anything about Angie Smith’s story (she’s a Christian author/blogger who lost a daughter, Audrey, in utero), it will make the name of this Bun even more poignant.

 The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, Illustrated by Clement Hurd

A classic by the author of Goodnight Moon and Little Fur Family (just realized that connection and my mind is a little blown).

Bunnies for Tea by Kate Stone

The book is shaped like a tea cup. Sweet illustrations and rhyming text.

Bunny Slopes by Claudia Rueda

It’s always good for me to have books around that help me (and the kids) celebrate Winter. This one gets readers to interact and help Bunny get skiing. Bunny Overboard and Hungry Bunny are also so fun!

I can’t vouch for these yet, but I did just request ALL the Betty Bunny books by Michael Kaplan from the library…