2016 Transcendent Holiday Titles
Babushka: A Christmas Tale by Dawn Casey, ill. Amanda Hall
Oh, certainly this isn’t the first Babushka title you’ve ever encountered in your life . . . or is it? It’s certainly the cheeriest I’ve seen. And lovely too.
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, ill. Anna Dewdney
Anna Dewdney left us in 2016. One of the many losses we’ve had to swallow. Be comforted then that she did a really stand up and cheer job on this old Margaret Wise Brown book. A nice take on an old classic.
The Christmas Story by Robert Sabuda
Christmas for Greta and Gracie by Yasmeen Ismail
Okay. Stand back. I’m going to say it.
Most emotionally honest children’s book with a Christmas theme since The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
That is all.
Groundhog’s Runaway Shadow by David Biedrzycki
Lest you fear this is an entirely Christmas-related list (it’s alphabetical which skews it a little at the start). I love Groundhog’s Day books and we get about one to two a year. This one’s worth the price of admission.
Hanukkah Delight! By Leslea Newman, ill. Amy Husband
A board book and a bloody good one too. And trust me, there’s a need. Great Hanukkah board books aren’t exactly a dime a dozen.
Hanukkah with Uncle Reuben: Not Santa . . . (But Not Bad) by Mark Tuchman
The only mystery with this book is how it hasn’t been picked up by a major publisher yet. Consider it your culturally sensitive alternative to Shmelf the Elf.
The Lost Gift: A Christmas Story by Kallie George, ill. Stephanie Graegin
I’m not the kind of reader who goes in for cute little furry animals delivering lost Christmas presents on their own, but this book isn’t cloying. It’s cute, but it comes by its adorableness honestly. Kudos George & Graegin!
Maple and Willow’s Christmas Tree by Lori Nichols
More Than Enough: A Passover Story by April Halprin Wayland
When Marjorie Ingall wrote up her The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2016 list (THE best list to go to each and every year for all things Jewish) she alerted me to this book. I was able to locate it pretty quickly and I’m awfully glad I did. Here’s what Marjorie had to say about it: “We see a young family shopping, preparing for and celebrating the holiday, announcing ‘dayenu’ regularly along the way. In an afterword, Wayland explains the meaning of the word, outlines the elements of the Seder, and notes that ‘dayenu’s message—being grateful for the blessings in each moment—goes beyond Passover. It’s a concept I hold in my heart when I’m on a beautiful hike, when I’m biking with my family, when I’m petting my kitty.’ A good reminder for all of us.”
The Nutcracker by Kate Davies, ill. Niroot Puttapipat
Potatoes at Turtle Rock by Susan Schnur and Anna Schnur-Fishman, ill. Alex Steele-Morgan
If you buy only one book by a tattooed female rabbi this year . . .
Refuge by Anne Booth, ill. Sam Usher
That this book isn’t better known is shocking to me. It draws direct comparisons between refugees and a certain fleeing couple and their newborn babe. $1 from the sale of each book sold until October 2017 will go to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
A Teeny Tiny Halloween by Lauren L. Wohl, ill. Henry Cole
For all that Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year, in a lot of ways, this was the only book that really did it for me in 2016. A great rendition of a classic.
Yitzi and the Giant Menorah by Richard Ungar
Funny and smart. And now, naturally, I have the Steven Universe song “Giant Woman” caught in my head, though now it’s with the words “Giant Menorah” instead.
Interested in the other lists of the month? Here’s the schedule so that you can keep checking back:
December 1 – Board Books
December 2 – Board Book Adaptations
December 3 – Nursery Rhymes
December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds
December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books
December 6 – Alphabet Books
December 7 – Funny Picture Books
December 8 – Calde-Nots
December 9 – Picture Book Reprints
December 10 – Math Picture Books
December 11 – Bilingual Books
December 12 – International Imports
December 13 – Books with a Message
December 14 – Fabulous Photography
December 15 – Fairy Tales / Folktales
December 16 – Oddest Books of the Year
December 17 – Older Picture Books
December 18 – Easy Books
December 19 – Early Chapter Books
December 20 – Graphic Novels
December 21 – Poetry
December 22 – Fictionalized Nonfiction
December 23 – American History
December 24 – Science & Nature Books
December 25 – Transcendent Holiday Titles
December 26 – Unique Biographies
December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books
December 28 – Nonfiction Chapter Books
December 29 – Novel Reprints
December 30 – Novels
December 31 – Picture Books