Every year, Cracking the Cover compiles a list of books that make great additions to your holiday library. These books range from Christmas to Hanukkah to the celebrating the new year. The following were published in 2022. All synopsizes are provided by respective publishers. Scroll down for the complete list or click or tap the following links to directly visit a section AGES 0 AND UP • AGES 1 AND UP • AGES 2 AND UP • AGES 3 AND UP • AGES 4 AND UP • AGES 5 AND UP • AGES 8 AND UP • YOUNG ADULT • ADVENT CALENDAR
AGES 0 AND UP
CHRISTMAS IS JOY, by Emma Dodd, Templar, Sept. 6, 2022, Board Book, $10.99 (ages 0-3)
Christmas is love that lasts all year.
It’s all of us, together, here.
Christmas is peace, stars twinkling above,
a night of sweet dreams and a heart full of love.
Emma Dodd’s Christmas classic is now available in board book form. This sweet tale celebrates the joy of the season without the commercialism. It’s not particularly religious either, but certainly sets the tone.
MERRYTALE (AN ABRAMS TRAIL TALE): A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE, by Christopher Franceschelli and Allison Black, Harry N. Abrams, Sept. 6, 2022, Board Book, $15.99 (ages 0-3)
From Christopher Franceschelli, creator of the Abrams Block Book series, comes the Abrams Trail Tale series, taking readers on unforgettable holiday-themed adventures. In this Christmas story, follow two children on their way to Santa’s workshop as they travel through the city, into a gleaming forest, and across the glittering snowscape. —Synopsis provided by Harry N. Abrams
This sturdy board book features a feast for the eyes. Little ones will never get bored with these charming illustrations, die-cut surprises, flaps and a quadruple gatefold at the end. This is one that the whole family can enjoy.
MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS: A FINGER WIGGLE BOOK, by Sally Symes and Nick Sharratt, Candlewick, Sept. 13, 2022, Board Book, $9.99 (ages 0-3)
Poke your fingers through the holes of this brightly colored book to make wiggly legs for eight holiday-themed characters. The snowman has very cold feet, the teddy bear wears green and red, the little man is made of gingerbread . . . and even the jingly elf and the jolly old fellow himself can be set in motion with help from a reader and baby as they share a love of books together. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
This interactive picture book will have little ones giggling. Bright colors, simple text and fun characters make this a fun one to read aloud.
CRINKLE BELLS, by Jay Fleck, Chronicle Books, Oct. 4, 2022, Board Book, $8.99 (ages 0-3)
It’s Christmas Eve, and all the decorations are settling down for bedtime, except for a pair of noisy bells! Will these two tinkling ornaments be too tired to welcome Christmas Day? With sturdy board pages and a crinkly paper treatment that creates touch-and-feel sound effects, this playful twist on a classic Christmas carol will have even the most excited little ones ready to settle down and get some rest before Christmas morning dawns. —Synopsis provided by Chronicle Books
Bouncy text makes this book fun to read aloud. Little fingers won’t be able to resist making the bells crinkle.
AGES 1 AND UP
FIVE LITTLE DREIDELS, by Jeffrey Burton and Juliana Motzko, Little Simon, Sept. 6, 2022, Board Book, $6.99 (ages 1-5)
Five little dreidels spinning all around.
One got dizzy and then fell down.
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,
No more dreidels spinning all around.
A Chanukah twist on “Five Little Monkeys,” little ones will love following five little dreidels on a fun-filled adventure. —Synopsis provided by Little Simon
HAPPY ALL-IDAYS!, by Cindy Jin and Rob Sayegh Jr., Little Simon, Sept. 13, 2022, Board Book, $7.99 (ages 1-5)
Learn how different families celebrate the winter season with this holiday card-inspired board book that captures the meaning of Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and more! Whether it’s putting up the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, or getting ready for Kwanzaa, this story proves that the holiday season is a special time for everyone and a great way to learn about different winter holidays and send cheer to everyone you know! —Synopsis provided by Little Simon
Rhythmic text helps usher in the holiday season and introduces kids to the idea that not everyone celebrates the same holidays. Inviting illustrations make for a fun read.
AGES 2 AND UP
CHRISTMAS STREET, by Jonathan Emmett and Ingela P Arrhenius, Candlewick Press, Oct. 4, 2022, Board Book, $17.99 (ages 2-5)
This lift-the-flap Christmas alphabet story is a book, a fold-out play-scene, and a festive frieze to decorate your room. Everyone is busy on Christmas Street! Who is baking gingerbread? Who is wrapping presents? And who’s that coming down the chimney? Find out in this follow-up to Alphabet Street. And after you read the rhyming story, lift the flaps to learn the letters of the alphabet and seasonal words. Then flip the book and have fun with the giant snowy concertina play-scene on the reverse! —Synopsis provided by Candlewick Press
This sturdy lift-the-flap book is charming. It features two large flaps for each spread as well as a fold-out scene. The alphabet structure of this book is a fun way to look at Christmas. Charming illustrations take it over the top.
IT’S CHRISTMAS EVERYWHERE, CELEBRATIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD: CELEBRATIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD, by Hannah Barnaby and João Fazenda, Phaidon Press, Oct. 3, 2022, Board Book, $19.95 (ages 2-5)
Ten days until Christmas.
How I wish I could be,
Not just a plain pine,
But a real Christmas tree.
A pine tree’s Christmas wish comes true when a parade of children visit to decorate its branches with unique festive ornaments from around the world — from German nutcrackers to Mexican piñatas, Chinese apples to Ukrainian spiderwebs. Young readers are invited to experience new and old Christmas traditions through rhyming verse and illustrations. Secondary text offers informative context and insight as to how the holiday is celebrated in different cultures around the world. —Synopsis provided by Phaidon Press
Celebrate Christmas traditions around the world. The book opens up into the shape of a 3-D tree. Kids will be fascinated by the different countries and the overall shape of the book.
Santa Mouse Bakes Christmas Cookies, by Michael Brown and Robert McPhillips, Little Simon, Oct. 4, 2022, Board Book, $8.99 (ages 2-7)
When Santa Mouse wakes to the delicious aroma of cookies on Christmas Eve, he finds the elves busy baking for Santa’s big day. Always ready to lend a helping paw, Santa Mouse joins in to bake and decorate a surprising plate of cookies for everyone at the North Pole, including Santa’s hardworking reindeer. —Synopsis provided by Little Simon
A padded cover and small size make Santa Mouse Bakes Christmas Cookies a good choice. The mouse is adorable and rhyming text is fun to read aloud.
AGES 3 AND UP
’TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS: OR ACCOUNT OF A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS, by Clement C. Moore and Matt Tavares, Candlewick, Sept. 13, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 3-7)
“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.”
Once upon a time, children imagined St. Nicholas as a stern, skinny bishop who was as likely to dole out discipline as Christmas presents. But thanks to the poem “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas”—written by Clement C. Moore in 1822 and published the next year in the Troy Sentinel — a plumper, merrier St. Nick was born, transformed into the sleigh-riding, chimney-diving jolly old elf we now call Santa Claus. With monochrome illustrations by Matt Tavares that are true to pre-Victorian times, this reissue of the holiday favorite ’Twas the Night Before Christmas Or Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas honors the poem’s original language in a definitive keepsake volume. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
This charming version of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas features black-and-white, meticulously drawn illustrations. The characters are emotive and the scenes delightful. This is one of the better versions of this classic tale.
A Very Mercy Christmas, by Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen, Candlewick, Sept. 27, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 3-7)
When Stella gets the sudden idea to go caroling, she has a little trouble getting someone to join her. Her brother, Frank, is not good at spontaneity. The Watsons are very involved in a precarious fruitcake attempt (but happy to send their pig, Mercy, out for the occasion). Eugenia Lincoln declines, a bit rudely, to accompany on her accordion, and Horace Broom is too busy studying planetary movement. Will Stella need to sing by herself — with enthusiastic contributions from the pig, the cat, and the horse she picks up on the way? Or does the evening hold a miracle Stella hadn’t expected? —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
A Very Mercy Christmas is the perfect choice for fans of the Mercy Watson series. Fans can expect familiar characters and a charming story with trademark humor and heart. Complete with a Mercy pop-out ornament, this book is sure to be a hit.
MURRAY CHRISTMAS, by E. G. Keller, Harry N. Abrams, Sept. 27, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 3-7)
“Patrol dog” Murray is put on high alert by all of the sudden changes around the holidays — from the tree in the living room to the laundry mistakenly hung by the fireplace, threats lurk everywhere! And worst of all? Some random guy in a red suit keeps showing up everywhere — and Murray is not impressed. Can he learn to embrace the festivities, or will Murray’s misguided attempts to protect his family ruin Christmas? —Synopsis provided by Harry N. Abrams
This fun Christmas book will have your kids laughing out loud. Murray is a charming character with an expressive face that’s sure to be a delight.
THE BEST GIFT FOR BEAR, by Jennifer A. Bell, Two Lions, Sept. 27, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 3-7)
Hedgehog has been busy making gifts for all of her friends. But what could possibly be grand enough for her dear friend Bear? Bear had shown Hedgehog the wonders of butterflies and taught her to ice-skate, after all. When Hedgehog finally finds her inspiration and delivers the gift, it doesn’t quite turn out as she expected… —Synopsis provided by Two Lions
This gentle tale of friendship is sweet and tender and celebrates the true spirit of thankfulness.
THE TWELVE CATS OF CHRISTMAS, by Feather Flores and Carrie Liao, Chronicle Books, Oct. 11, 2022, Hardcover, $15.99 (ages 3-7)
Celebrate the holidays with twelve adorable cats — and one kitten — with this festive feline take on the classic carol The Twelve Days of Christmas! From chasing ribbons and shredding paper to cuddling by the fire and climbing the Christmas tree (uh-oh), the sweet and mischievous kitties teach readers of all ages to enjoy the holiday season in true feline fashion. With festive illustrations and irresistible text that invites readers to read — or sing! — aloud, this charming Christmas picture book is guaranteed to delight all. —Synopsis provided by Chronicle Books
This is the purrrfect book for cat lovers this season. Each cat has its own personality, bringing the tale to life.
THROUGH THE NORTH POLE SNOW, by Polly Faber and Richard Jones, Candlewick, Nov. 8, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 3-7)
When a hunting fox pounces through the snow and finds itself inside a warm home, it’s welcomed and given dinner by a kind bearded man with a big round belly. Soon yawning, the man leaves the fox to explore through piles of strewn wrapping paper and rows of empty shelves. As the man sleeps, the fox curls up, too, until sun and flowers return, luring them both outside. But soon the man gets back to work — drawing and measuring, painting and hammering, sewing and stuffing, until all the empty shelves are filled from top to bottom. —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
This sweet look at Santa’s preparations through the year is gentle and thoughtful. It’s less about what people get and more about the kindness of one man. It’s a simple, lovely read.
AGES 4 AND UP
PAGES OF MUSIC, by Tony Johnston and Tomie dePaola, Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Sept. 13, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
First published in 1988, this picture book set in Sardinia features refreshed illustrations by the beloved and award-winning Tomie dePaola and tells of the giving and sharing of music on a very special Christmas morning.
Long ago, a painter and her son, Paolo, visited the poor but beautiful island of Sardinia and a shepherd shared with them his bread called foglia de musica, pages of music. When the mother offered to pay, the shepherd took his musical pipe and filled the air with music so sweet that Paolo danced and sang with joy.
Many years later, Paolo, now a gifted composer, returns to the island with his entire orchestra on Christmas morning to share with the shepherds his own “pages of music” — a song of a night long ago, a blazing star, and a child born in a manger. —Synopsis provided by Simon and Schuster
Though on its face, Pages of Music doesn’t appear to be a Christmas story, it is. Through dePaola’s stylistic illustrations and Johnston’s engaging text, readers will learn the value of the gift of music.
THE MAGIC OF A SMALL TOWN CHRISTMAS, by Megan Alexander and Hiroe Nakata, Aladdin, Oct. 18, 2022, Hardcover, $19.9 (ages 4-8)
In the town of Heartbeat Falls, where skies are crystal clear, the magic of Christmas is celebrated in many different ways: from picking the perfect tree to decorating it with glittering ornaments; from ice skating to eating yummy gingerbread cookies; from hanging handmade stockings to sharing a homecooked meal. Here, the residents know the beauty of a small town doesn’t come from its size, but from the love shared by its people, shining brightly in their eyes. —Synopsis provided by Aladdin
Watercolor and ink illustrations bring this small town to life. Gentle text helps usher in the joy of the season.
TOMIE DEPAOLA’S BOOK OF CHRISTMAS CAROLS, by Tomie dePaola, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Oct. 25, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 4-8)
Christmas is a time for warm family gatherings, the sharing of gifts and festive meals, and everywhere, there is music! Carols with familiar melodies and lyrics telling stories of events from long ago have delighted young and old for generations.
This intricately illustrated collection of Tomie’s favorite Christmas carols, first published in 1987, highlights dePaola’s love of Christmas and its traditions. Paintings illuminate every page of sheet music, and for six of the carols, a foldout page opens up to reveal the carol dramatically illustrated across three pages in a triptych-like design. —Synopsis provided by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Thirty-one classic carols are paired with exquisite illustrations to create a book that is both beautiful to look at and to hear from. Religious and secular carols are combined to make something truly special.
Snow Horses: A First Night Story, by Patricia MacLachlan and Micha Archer, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Nov. 8, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
On the very last evening before the new year, when the snow is falling soft and thick, two black horses wait for the jingle of their sled. As they ride about town, they will spread light to their beloved neighbors, bidding farewell to the last night — and saying hello to the first morning. —Synopsis provided by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Snow Horses is like a warm blanket wrapped around you on a sleigh ride. Patricia MacLachlan’s lyrical prose sets the framework for Micha Archer’s amazingly detailed collage illustrations. It’s a joyful celebration of entering a new year.
AGES 5 AND UP
HERE IS THE WORLD: A YEAR OF JEWISH HOLIDAYS, by Lesléa Newman and Susan Gal, Harry N. Abrams, Aug. 2, 2022, Paperback, $6.99 (ages 5-7)
Celebrate the Jewish holidays all year round in this acclaimed picture book — now in paperback.
Here is the world, ever changing and new,
Spinning with joy at the wonder of you!
Here Is the World is a joyous celebration of the Jewish holidays throughout the year for young children. Beginning with the weekly observance of Shabbat, readers join a family through the holidays and the corresponding seasons. From sounding the shofar on Rosh Hashanah to lighting the menorah for Chanukah to rattling a grogger for Purim, and on through the Jewish year, the joy and significance of each holiday beautifully come to life.
Back matter includes a description of each holiday, easy crafts and recipes for every season, and a 3D tear-out dreidel. —Synopsis provided by Harry N. Abrams
Though this charming picture book offers an overview of a number of Jewish holidays, it’s perfect for this time of year, especially with the included 3D dreidel. Kids with other religious backgrounds will find this book fascinating, and little ones growing up in Jewish households will see life reflected on the page.
AGES 8 AND UP
CLARICE BEAN, THINK LIKE AN ELF, by Lauren Child, Candlewick, Sept. 13, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 8-12)
Clarice Bean loves Christmas, and she’s determined to spread tidings of joy in every possible way. That means making cards to send the neighbors, no matter how unfriendly; assisting a friend in need; stepping in at the Christmas concert; and helping out at home. But as hard as Clarice tries to spread the good cheer, it becomes clear that this holiday season will look different for the Tuesday family. Mom and Dad are too exhausted to even think of hosting their usual big gathering, decorating the tree turns into an evening of calamities, and the dog eats the turkey. But as they say, good things fall apart so better things can fall together. Maybe Clarice’s creative problem-solving — and some surprise help — can inspire the Tuesdays to embrace the holiday mishaps and enjoy a day better than anyone imagined! —Synopsis provided by Candlewick
Chock full of color and black-and-white illustrations, this book is a delight. Fans of the original Clarice Bean books in particular will be drawn to this fun look at the holiday season.
TALK SANTA TO ME, by Linda Urban, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Sept. 27, 2022, Hardcover, $20.99 (ages 12 and up)
A teen girl gets the perfect second try at a first kiss in this hilarious, romp-filled young adult romantic comedy perfect for fans of Jenna Evans Welch and Hallmark Christmas movies.
Francie was born in a stable. Really. Granted, it was the deluxe model with the light-up star on the roof, one of the many Christmas items for sale at her family’s Hollydale Holiday Shop. Their holiday gift empire also includes the Santa School, which was founded by Francie’s beloved grandpa, who recently passed away.
Francie’s always loved working in the shop, but lately Aunt Carole has been changing everything with her ideas for too-slick, Hollywood-inspired Santas and horrible holiday-themed employee uniforms. Aunt Carole’s vision will ruin all the charm and nostalgia Francie loves about her family’s business…unless she does something about it.
But this winter is about more than preserving the magic of Christmas. Francie is saving up for a car and angling to kiss the cute boy who works at the tree lot next door—hopefully it will be good enough to wipe her fiasco of a first kiss from her memory.
As the weather outside gets more and more frightful, can Francie pull off the holiday of her dreams? —Synopsis provided by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
THE STORY OF CHRISTMAS STORY BOOK SET AND ADVENT CALENDAR, by Carolyn Croll and Workman Calendars, Workman Publishing Company, Nov. 1, 2008, Advent Calendar, $17.99 (ages 3 and up)
This unique advent calendar features 24 jewel-like miniature board books to help children count down to Christmas. Each day from Dec. 1 through Christmas Eve, open a book, just like the peek-a-boo window on an Advent calendar, and then hang it on the Christmas tree by its gold thread loop. Read in sequence, the books tell the magical story of the first Christmas, from Gabriel’s visit to Mary to the Three Wise Men gazing at the star to Jesus’ birth. A treasured keepsake to reuse year after year. —Synopsis provided by Workman Calendars
This new-to-me calendar has been available since 2008, and there’s good reason for its longevity. The 24 little books are sweetly illustrated and are adaptable to different ages. The gold loops make it easy to remove the book/ornaments, which are well-constructed. This is a good option for families looking for more nonsecular celebrations.
GNOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS ADVENT CALENDAR, by Workman Calendars and Anita Ashfield-Salter, Workman Publishing Company, July 26, 2022, Advent Calendar, $19.99 (ages 5 and up)
Meet your new holiday tradition! Each day, discover a beautiful pop-out gnome ornament designed by artist Anita Ashfield-Salter, along with a festive phrase or pun celebrating the joys of the season. Then hang the ornaments on your tree with the included gold cord or string them together to form a colorful garland — your gnomes will be right at home. These charming illustrations of gnomes will appeal to the whole family and become a beloved Christmas tradition for kids and adults alike.
Three-paneled calendar includes 24 pop-out ornaments with foil accents and gold cord for hanging. —Synopsis provided by Workman Publishing Company
This advent calendar is more fun than I anticipated. The gnomes are such fun and it’s reusable. It’s a fun gift for gnome lovers and families alike.
AN ADVENT CAROLS COUNTDOWN: STORIES BEHIND THE MOST BELOVED MUSIC OF CHRISTMAS, by Michael D Young, Shadow Mountain, Sept. 6, 2022, Hardcover, $15.99 (ages 12 and up)
Get in the Christmas spirit with this unique collection of the most beloved Christmas carols, from the warmly nostalgic to the majestically solemn and uplifting.
The book features one carol for each day from December first to Christmas Eve and presents both the lyrics and the stories and facts behind the creation of the songs.
Sharing everything from popular, familiar carols to lesser-known but cherished hymns, author Michael D. Young combines his musical expertise with information specific to each song. Each entry also features a QR code that will link to an audio or video performance of the carol performed by world-renowned Tabernacle Choir. —Synopsis provided by Shadow Mountain
This fascinating look at the stories behind Christmas carols is a unique way to get ready for the season. It’s something that would be fun to read as a family or as an individual.
Copyright © 2022 Cracking the Cover. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.