Today I’m sharing ten picture books that feature Christmas celebrations from all across the globe! This book list was originally featured as a guest contribution on the fantastic blog Non-Toy Gifts.
Each of these books will give readers an enchanting glimpse at how families in other countries celebrate the season, from La Noche Buena in Mexico to Lucia Day in Sweden. I’ve found fantastic stories that visit six of the seven continents, and I’m delighted to share them with all of you!
This fascinating book describes how Christmas is celebrated in twelve different countries, including Italy, Australia, Guatemala, Germany, and Ethiopia. Readers will love discovering the differences – and similarities – between Christmas customs around the world. The book also includes Christmas crafts, Christmas facts, and a pronunciation guide.
This charming story describes how a modern-day family in Sweden prepares for Lucia Day, a traditional Christmastime celebration. The three children and their parents gleefully prepare tasty holiday treats, and when Lucia morning arrives the family sets off to share holiday cheer with their extended family and friends. The book includes an afterword with the history of St. Lucia and two Swedish holiday recipes.
Ten-year-old Juma has the same wish every year – to see Father Christmas. When his wealthy aunt Aida visits from Nairobi, she brings gifts and arranges for a local man to dress up as Father Christmas and surprise the whole village. When Christmas Eve arrives, Juma and Aida are in for a surprise themselves! Lush mixed media illustrations pair beautifully with this magical tale.
A young Japanese boy celebrates his first Christmas with his mother, who shares stories of her childhood Christmases in America. This serene and poignant story gives a lovely glimpse at the similarities and differences between Eastern and Western cultures.
This delightful rhyming story follows a modern-day Mexican family as they celebrate Nochebuena – Christmas Eve. The lyrical text effortlessly blends English and Spanish words and the lively full-page illustrations make this book one that kids will ask for again and again (and parents will happily oblige!).
Italian chef Lidia Bastianich gathers her five grandchildren to tell them a story of the Christmases she spent in Italy as a child. This book is a lovely depiction of a traditional Italian Christmas, and the illustrations are warm and appealing.
When a family of bears can’t decide where to spend Christmas, they go on a holiday world tour of all of their favorite places including Peru, Australia, China, and Sri Lanka. Detailed full-page illustrations depict the Christmas festivities of each international local, each featuring the native bears of that region.
This lavishly illustrated book is a poignant retelling of the Mexican legend of the first poinsettia. Juanita has no gift to present to the baby Jesus at Christmas Eve mass. Not wanting to enter the church empty handed, Juanita grabs an armful of green weeds. As she approaches the altar, the weeds miraculously bloom into beautiful red poinsettias.
It’s December in Prague and young Radim and his father buy a carp at the market for Christmas dinner. When Radim starts to become attached to the carp and feels guilty about eating him, he hatches a plan to let the fish escape. Stunning painted illustrations perfectly compliment this unique Christmas story.
This stupendous coloring book features full-page vignettes of Christmas celebrations in 30 different countries including Russia, Great Britain, France, China, and Australia. Brief text on each page describes some of the traditions and customs of each country. Kids and adults will love coloring in these detailed and festive illustrations.
I hope I’ve inspired you to pick up a new book or two and experience the joy of Christmas from a new perspective this year! Which one of these unique books is going on your Christmas list?