Christmas is the time for love and the love of giving. And what better gifts than books that reflect Christ and all that He gave to humanity? I’ve compiled a list of some of the newest books geared for children and families that reflect love, selflessness, faith and family. The first three books are geared for ages 3 to 8 and the rest are perfect for families.
The Forgotten Carols: A Christmas Miracle for Isaac and Eliza, by Michael McLean, and beautifully illustrated by Brandon Dorman, is a picture book centered around the story of a poor family who recently lost their military father. When Mom learns that she has to work on Christmas Eve, she hires a lady from the hospital where she works to tend her two children. But this older woman has much to offer as the night wears on. Each time she reaches into her leather case she brings out a magical ornament for the children to hang on their wreath. A special guest suddenly appears from the Nativity story and sings a song that testifies of Christ. Each of the featured guest pages opens to a double page displaying the visitor and the words of the song. There’s a wonderful CD with the music of each of these “forgotten” carols along with the narrated story by the author. This is the perfect Christmas Eve book that could very well start a family tradition.
I Know That My Savior Loves Me, illustrated by Simon Dewey, with words by Tami Jeppson Creamer and Derena A. Bell, is a song portrayed in a picture book format. Both authors of the song became involved in writing the music and lyrics after Ms. Creamer was asked to write a song for her stake Primary choir prior to her stake conference. She collaborated with her friend, Ms. Bell, with the culmination being this inspiring song helping children understand that Christ is always with them. The paintings throughout are breath-taking which helps to convey the tremendous love He feels for young children. You’ll find the actual music at the back of the book.
I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus, by Cynthia L. Dobson, and beautifully illustrated by Simon Dewey, is the portrayal of one of the most powerful Primary songs in this picture book. The lessons learned in this song of showing kindness, taking the sacrament, and of forgiveness are displayed in picture and text on each textured page.
The Three Gifts, by Patricia Cook Orr, and illustrated by Wilson Ong, is a perfect smallish book that centers on the real gifts of Christ to all: the Atonement and His perfect example of how to live life while on the earth. The tale is focused on the Wise Mens’ gifts and the possible outcome of the gold, frankincense and myrrh given to the baby Jesus. The illustrations sprinkled throughout are painted with incredible emotion and beauty!
A Christ-Centered Christmas, by Emily Freeman, is what I like to call an action book because you read the first part of each section and then activities are provided for family members to take part in by baking, singing and pondering. This smallish paper-back is broken down with each member of the nativity. There are seven members, so there are seven evenings needed before Christmas Day to share the stories and activities and with each evening adding to the nativity set by placing the newly learned about member into the stable. For instance, the Angel chapter has a wonderful background story, a hot cocoa recipe, the “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” hymn, a scripture reference and a pondering moment prior to placing the angel in the nativity.
The Parable of the Golden Pathway, by Jenny Phillips, with illustrations sprinkled throughout by Dan Burr, is a story geared for the youth of the Church. The story is a tremendous lesson of being strong and staying strong against difficult situations and decisions that the teens of our time face on a daily basis. There are three siblings that go through fire and brimstone and face life-changing situations that youth will identity with and be edified with as well. The fact that this story is not overly long will also appeal to kids. There’s a CD included with enlightening music that goes along with the parable.
The last two books are inspiration-filled books with amazing facts that are sure to uplift, encourage and spiritually boost your lives. Christmas with the Prophets, by Laura F. Willes, is truly a wonderful way to share Christmas in the true spirit of the season because it showcases each of the prophet’s Christmas-time experiences while growing up and while serving as the Prophet. There is also an influential message at the end of each Prophet’s section. There are also photos and drawings sprinkled throughout and much significant history portrayed during each Prophet’s life.
To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson, by Heidi S. Swinton, is a culmination of the marvelous and giving life of our modern-day Prophet. The title says it all! Our wonderful Prophet has continually given his life in service and in helping those who needed help whether it was through labor, a spiritual lift or monetarily. Thomas S. Monson was always willing and desiring to help others. This overly-large book of over 500 pages includes another over 50 pages of the President’s lifeline, notes and a helpful index. There are also photos, both black and white and full color, sprinkled throughout. (I love the serene colored photo on page 300 of him walking through a grove in Germany). Here is one book that all families will cherish!