SALT LAKE CITY -- I love the Christmas season with the lights, the music, and the candy. But one of the things I love the most are the children's books I read every year.
The following are 12 of my favorite Christmas children books.
1. "The Little Match Girl" by Hans Christian Anderson
First published in 1845, this short classic belongs in every Christmas collection. A young girl tries to keep herself warm by lighting the matches, and with each match brings a vision of the hopes and dreams of the little girl.
2. "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clark Moore
This poem is one of the most well known Christmas poems of all time. In this classic narrative poem, Santa Claus delivers gifts to a sleeping house the night before Christmas Day.
3. "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson
Six delinquent children decide to join the local parish's annual Christmas pageant in what is feared to become the worst Christmas pageant ever. Yet, even though the pageant is unlike any other one before, it will forever be remembered as the best Christmas pageant ever.
4. "Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg
A young boy, who no longer believes in Santa Claus, hears the whistle of a train late on Christmas Eve. He boards a train headed for the North Pole and begins to discover the meaning of believing in something magical.
5. "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss
A Grinch, who hates Christmas and all its Christmas cheer, lives on a mountain outside of Who-ville. He creates a plan to ruin Christmas, and almost succeeds until all the Who's discover the true meaning of Christmas don't lay presents under the tree.
6. "Christmas Oranges" by Linda Bethers
Discover the Christmas spirit through generosity in this beautiful picture book. Rose, a young orphan suffers under the hand of a cruel headmaster from enjoying a the annual Christmas treat. Yet, the other children in the orphanage refuse to let Christmas be ruined.
7. "A Christmas Dress for Ellen" by Thomas S. Monson
A family residing in Canada is experiencing hard times. The mother, Mary, had written to her sister in Idaho asking for help with food, necessities of living, as well as Christmas gifts for her children, especially her cynical daughter, Ellen who burdens herself with the family problems. Christmas Eve arrives with no packages from her sister and Ellen goes to bed believing that Christmas arrives with disaster. But late at night, when all hope is all but gone, the door knocks revealing George Show, the mailman.
8. "Can You See What I See?: Night Before Christmas" by Walter Wick
Every page of this book illustrates scenes of Christmas using inanimate objects to tell the story of the "Night Before Christmas." Treasures are hidden through the pages in an "I Spy" format that will keep little children entertained for hours.
9. "A Christmas Bell For Anya" by Chris Stewart
It's the winter of 1917 and the reign of the Czars in Russia have come to a violent end. Yet, despite the dark and bitterness surrounding them, a small village moves forward with its usual Christmas preparations. This year, Anya is chosen to ring in Christmas morning with the village bell and along with her widowed father, they both discover the true meaning of Christmas.
10. "Christmas Day in the Morning" by Pearl S. Buck
This year for Christmas Rob, a young teenager, wants to give something to his father to show that he truly loves him. Weeks pass by and Rob is unable to find something within his budget that can express his true appreciation. But then, on Christmas Eve, an idea pops into his head. And this gift is the best gift ever.
11. "Russell's Christmas Magic" by Rob Scotton
Santa has a broken sleigh and is stranded in Firefly Wood. With no solution in sight, Santa is afraid Christmas will have to be canceled and children all over the world will not receive presents in the morning. But then Russell the Sheep comes to the rescue and shows that imagination has a power of magic of its own.
12. "Yes Virgina: There is a Santa Claus" by Chris Plehal and James Bernardin
A young girl, Virginia, writes a letter to the New York Suns editor asking if there is a Santa Claus. This beautiful picture contains his unforgettable response.
Lauren is a recent college graduate from Southern Utah University with a degree in English. She works at a local library.