Cozy up with holiday and winter book picks.
December welcomes an array of holidays, hot chocolate and snow fall—the perfect time to cozy on up with a good book. We round up books for a variety of ages available at the library and area stores. Perfect for a bed time story or a gift for under the tree.
For ages 3 and older:
Over the River & Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure
Written by Linda Ashman, Illustrated by Kim Smith
The classic poem and song by Lydia Maria Child originally celebrated Thanksgiving Day. In this clever reimagining, author Linda Ashman shows four families making their way to Grandmother’s house for a holiday. Each group of this far-flung multiracial family is made up of a different combination of family members, comes from a different kind of neighborhood and uses a different transportation method to get to their celebration. How will they make it there when each family’s travel is delayed on their way to the delicious dinner at the end of their journey! You’ll have to read the book to find out.
For ages 6–9:
A Year Full of Celebrations and Festivals
Written by Claire Grace, Illustrated by Christopher Corr
Winter Solstice, Hanukkah and Christmas are just a few of the more than 90 celebrations and festivals collected in this volume that covers the whole calendar. Fact-filled write ups of each holiday are accompanied by colorful illustrations of the people, animals and places being described, and will help kids and their grown ups get an overview of the holiday and learn a little bit about how people celebrate all around the world. The included celebrations don’t include the St. Paul Winter Carnival, but they do cover ice and snow festivals in Canada, China, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland!
The Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota
Written by Constance Van Hoven, Illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Jack’s twin cousins, Sarah and Hannah, are visiting him in Minnesota for the holidays—and they’re bringing unusual gifts for the 12 days of Christmas, including golden hotdishes, lumberjacks, hockey sticks and more.
For ages 9–13:
Written by Meg Cabot, Illustrated by Chesley McLaren
You might be more familiar with Princess Mia from the Princess Diaries book series or the movie starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, but Princess Mia is a helpful royal, too. In this book, she presents a guide to general winter holiday etiquette and the stories behind specific holidays including Yuletide, Kwanzaa and more. Each chapter is told in the voice a different favorite character from the series in the signature humorous style Cabot brings to all the Princess Diaries books. Two color spot illustrations by Chesley McLaren bring a touch of whimsy to this informative and fun book.
For ages 13 and older:
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Edited by Stephanie Perkins
This compilation of a dozen short stories is as cozy as a Hallmark holiday movie binge, as imagined by favorite young adult authors like Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan and Jenny Han, among others. The stories’ protagonists are different ethnicities, from different places and celebrating different holidays, but they all face challenges on their way to finding love during the holiday season. There’s a mix of realistic and more fantastical fiction, and whether the setting is Santa’s North Pole workshop or Brooklyn, New York, the authors all find an ending with one of the greatest gifts of the season—hope.
For ages 18 and older:
America’s Test Kitchen: The Complete Autumn & Winter Cookbook
It’s cold outside and the nights are long, but you can warm yourself up with over 550 recipes found in this cookbook from the folks behind Cook’s Illustrated. These recipes take advantage of the bounty of the harvest season from impressive entrees like Braised Brisket with Pomegranate, Cumin and Cilantro to delicious and giftable Wintermint Bark and Cranberry Shrub Syrup.
Nick and Noel’s Christmas Playlist
Written by Codi Hall
This holiday rom-com follows Nick Winters and Noel Carter, two family friends who have known each other their whole lives. When Nick comes home for the holidays and discovers his long-term girlfriend hasn’t been faithful, Noel is there to fill up his stocking with holiday cheer.
Written by Kristin Hannah
This historical fiction novel follows Anya and her daughters, Meredith and Nina, in the wake of their father’s death. The only connection between the daughters and their disapproving mother is the partial Russian fairytale Anya would tell the girls in their youth. Their father makes one last promise: To ensure they’ll listen to the fairytale all the way to the end. So begins the journey of unlocking the truth to Anya’s life, and what this fairytale really means.
Edina Library, 5280 Granview Square Suite 101; 612.543.6325; hclib.org
Southdale Library, 7001 York Ave. S.; 612.543.5900; hclib.org