Finding the right Advent books for kids that help foster a Christ-centered Advent and Christmas is of great importance to me. I love books and I want my children to as well.
The Advent books my kids have are different than the ones that they read during the rest of the year. Liturgical Living for me is just that, to have my family live within the seasons the Church gives us. Advent is a time of preparation and anticipation of the birth of Jesus. I like the books that I give my children to reflect that as well.
If you are looking for ways to Prepare for a Less Stressful Advent, check out this post.
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Here is a list of the Children’s Advent Library.
I love the fact that every year we add a title or two to help grow the Advent library for our children.
Firstly, I use the Children’s Book of Saints by Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik S.V.D. daily for all of the Saint feast days in Advent (and throughout the year). I find it gives enough of a background for my children to understand what the Saint contributed to the Church, although it can be a bit above their heads at times.
Check out this article on the 8 ways we Celebrate St. Andrew’s Feast Day.
These books mostly focus on the birth of Christ or the important aspects of the Nativity. I like to have a wide age range for the books. This means I have board books that are bright and durable for my babies and toddlers, and longer more informative ones for my older kids.
Celebrating a Christ-centered Christmas: Children’s Edition by Emily Belle Freeman, David Butler, et al.
The Story of Christmas by Pamela Dalton
Mary and Joseph: Models of Faith by Barbara Yoffie
The First Christmas Ever by Zondervan
The Berenstain Bears, The Very First Christmas by Jan and Mike Berenstain
Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck.
Little Bible Playbook: The First Christmas by Allia Zobel-Nolan.
Lift the Flap Nativity by Allia Zobel-Nolan.
The ABC’s of Christmas by Jo Parker.
The Christmas Story by Patricia A. Pingry.
Most of these books are given to my children on the Saint’s actual feast day to help really celebrate them and bring them to life. These Saints are important to my family for one reason or another and we enjoy making them a part of our family life.
St. Nicholas’ Feast Day- December 6th
Nicholas of Myra: Giver of Many Gifts by Barbara Yoffie
The Miracle of Saint Nicholas by Gloria Whelan
Saint Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins by Jim Frost
Feast Days of Our Lady- December 8th and 12th
The Immaculate Conception by Reverend Jude Winkler O.F.M
Our Lady of Guadalupe by Reverend Lawrence G Lovasik S.V.D
St. Lucy’s Feast Day- December 13th
Lucy: A Light for Jesus by Barbara Yoffie
Lucia: Saint of Light by Katherine Bolger Hyde
St. Thomas the Apostle Feast Day- December 21st
St. Thomas the Apostle: Builder and Believer by Barbara Yoffie
Winter non-Advent Related
I enjoy having books good wholesome non-consumer minded books for my children. We have added these to our library for Advent (and the rest of winter as well).
The Berenstain Bears and the Christmas Angel by Mike Berenstain
The Berenstain Bears’ Merry Christmas by Stan Berenstain
The Family Christmas Tree Book by Tomie dePaola
A Day on Skates by Hilda van Stockum
Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle
Recommended by Others
The Spider Who Saved Christmas by Raymond Arroyo
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
The Legend of the Golden Straw by Gregory F Aloia and James M. Needham
Jesse Tree Consideration
Last year we did the Jesse Tree and it was such a delight for my family. It really gave great insight into the bible and how our Lord fits into the overall history of Creation. We used The Advent Jesse Tree by Dean Lambert Smith with ornaments I embroidered. We found the reflections for children that were used in this book were perfect for my 5 year old and my 4 year old to understand.
When Do We Give Out our Books?
We typically put our seasonal winter non-Advent specific books out on the First Sunday of Advent. We enjoy setting out our red tablecloth, blankets, pillows, oven mitts, etc. When Advent is short we may even be setting out our Jesse Tree before Advent even officially begins. This year however Advent starts early and therefore we like to space out how we give out the books to further add to our children’s anticipation of the season.
Then we give the children saint books on their corresponding feast day. St. Nicholas is a little different because we give each child a book according to their ability. My oldest will get The Miracle of St. Nicholas, my 5-year-old will get St. Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins, my 3-year-old will get the Nicholas of Myra: Giver of Many Gifts book, my 18-month-old will get a board book of my choosing (probably The Mitten).
They will get the book on the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th, the St. Lucy books on the 13th, and the St. Thomas Book on the 21st.
This year I am so excited because I have finally built up enough books about the Nativity that I will be able to give one book on the Nativity for the seven days leading up to Christmas. If you do not know what the O Antiphons are, you having been missing out on a beautiful part of the Catholic Liturgy. If you don’t know, don’t despair! I only just learned about them last year and they are beautiful.
According to the Catholic Education Resource Center’s Website; “The O Antiphons refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.
The importance of O Antiphons is twofold: Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. Let’s now look at each antiphon with just a sample of Isaiahs related prophecies
According to Professor Robert Greenberg of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, the Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one – Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia – the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, Tomorrow, I will come. Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, Tomorrow, I will come. So the O Antiphons not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation but, bring it to a joyful conclusion.”
For more information on the O Antiphons check out this Catholic Cuisine Article.
I hope this List helps you Build Your Own Children’s Advent Library.
These are the Advent books that my children and I have delighted in over the past few years. I hope that my list will inspire you to create your own children’s Advent Library. My children love getting new books and because they don’t have these books from February-November, they become special once again each and every Advent.
If you are still trying to find an Advent Devotional to use for yourself, check out this post.
Leave a comment below if your family has a book I didn’t mention. I would love to add it to my children’s Advent Library next year. Leave a comment too if you don’t like one of the books I mentioned. I would love to know why.