Throughout the years it has become a family tradition to celebrate Advent by feasting on a trove of picture books, (at least one for each day!), all while snuggled up in front of a fire in the family room. Some of our favorited titles are becoming quite tired though, so over the long weekend I spent some time at the library freshening up the Advent Book Basket with some new titles.
Here’s a peek at a few of the new books that will be awaiting the children each evening this year:
The Birds of Bethlehem by Tomie dePaola
Thanks to our local Librarian, (a lovely God-send who often pulls things aside for me), I stumbled across this lovely new title from Tomie dePaola. This book is newly published, (as of this October!) and like all of Tomie’s previous work is just beautiful–both in story and illustrations!
“This inventive and fresh Nativity story is told from a bird’s-eye view. On the morning of the first Christmas, the birds of Bethlehem gather in the fields–not only to eat but to share the exciting news. People from all over have descended on Bethlehem and an angel has appeared in the night sky. Something extraordinary is coming! The birds agree that they must find this wondrous thing, and off they fly to the stable where a child has been born.”
The Third Gift by Linda Sue Park
This is another new title to our local library and I was happy to get my hands on one of the few copies in our city’s system. Along with the heartwarming story, the ending author’s note is a wonderful little history lesson that I’m sure will spur a rabbit trail in our house!
“The three wise men, or the three kings, are familiar figures in the Christmas tradition. Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park has taken the brief biblical references to the three as the starting point for a new story. In it we meet a boy who is learning his father’s trade; a man who gathers resin from certain trees; a merchant in the marketplace; and three strangers in brightly colored robes who are shopping for a gift for a baby. Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline with exquisite paintings, this simple, moving tale of ordinary people involved in an extraordinary event brings new resonance to the well-known gift list of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story by Sally Lloyd-Jones
This is a sweet little picture book that I know my son will be fond of with all of the animals throughout. I’m sure he will be chanting, “It’s time! It’s time!” with the turning of the pages.
“The skies shouted it to the seas that thundered it to the waves that roared it to the great white whales that sang it to the starfish in the deep. And tiny sandpipers danced it on shining sands… ‘It’s time! It’s time!’ On one quiet night, creation whispered a secret. Grass and bees, robins and trees all spread the word. Sheep told their young while angels sang the song to the shepherds. Hushed news of a miracle echoed to the ends of the earth. The moment had come. The long-awaited child had arrived! Creation cried out in celebration, but only a few people heard. Only a few joined nature’s chorus, a song in praise of the newborn King.”
Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel by Shirley Climo
This little book is a nod to my children’s German ancestry. I really enjoyed the interjected vocabulary and how Tante spends much time preparing for Christmas, (like Strega Nona in Merry Christmas, Strega Nona!), making it a perfect fit for Advent.
“Everybody loves Christmas at Tante’s. The old lady decorates a wonderful tree and makes certain to have something for all who come to visit, be it the nearby village children or the shy animals of the pine forest. The only creatures Tante overlooks are the spiders she has swept out of her cottage while cleaning. But the curious spiders want to come inside and see Tante’s tree, too. When a midnight visitor lets them into the old lady’s home, they unknowingly spin Tante the very gift she has longed for–a gift that has inspired the draping of tinsel on Christmas trees ever since.”
You can find the other titles that will be placed around our hearth this year by visiting the archives.
Have you stumbled upon any new titles in preparation for this year’s Advent season? Please share!