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If it happened here​
as it happened there...​

If it happened now​
as it happened then…​

Who would have seen the miracle?​
Who would have brought gifts?​
Who would have taken them in?

Thus begins The Northern Nativity by William Kurelek, one of the first books that came to the mind of Liz Tolkamp, Pastor at Willoughby CRC, when she was asked to name her top Christmas children’s story books.  Liz says Kurelek's book is a family favorite and they use the collection of stories it contains as part of their daily advent readings. She’s also a fan of The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey  by Susan Wojciechowski and P.J. Lynch, Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt, and Sliver Packages by Cynthia Rylant.

Little ones will love the following picks from Jolanda Howe: the board book Who is Coming to Our House?   by Joseph Slate and Good News!, Jesus is Born!, An Amazing Star by Pat Nederveld.

Laura Keeley, children’s ministry director and co-author of the Quick and Easy Christmas Programs series lists The Nativity illustrated by Julie Vivas and For All the World by Helen Earle Simcox among her favorites. And our friends at have even more suggestions in their post 12 Children's Books to Tell the Birth of Jesus.

My personal favorite appears on Laura’s list: The Nativity. Although you may find the text complex for young children (it uses the KJV to tell the Christmas story) the watercolor illustrations featuring an angel wearing work boots,  a very pregnant Mary resting on a rock, shepherds peering at the newborn king and more, will hold the attention of all ages. In addition to The Nativity, my list includes the Night Tree by Eve Bunting,  A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz and Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story by Sally Lloyd Jones.

There are many ways to use these Christmas story books

  • at home as a family as part of a devotional time (I also set mine out at a child's eye level as part of my Christmas decorations)
  • during a Christmas celebration in Sunday School
  • arranged in a cozy classroom corner at church for children to page through on their own
  • during a mid-week program at church
  • with an intergenerational small group
  • as a devotional during a Christmas celebration with extended family

and one great way to use this list

  • post it to your church website or email it to your families!

How about you? What favorite children's Christmas story books about the birth of Jesus would you add to the list?


I have been buying a Nativity picture book for my family every Christmas for the past 20 years. Before this, not as frequently, but often enough for us to now have a collection of over 40 picture books. I avoid those with talking mice and cattle, and those by Max Lucado ( blind spot on my part!). 

I enjoy learning about and exploring Christmas traditions from around the world, but there's nothing as precious as the family sitting around the Christmas tree after all the gifts have been opened, and reading/looking at the account of Jesus' birth in a picture book. And none of us is younger than 28!

As an Australian I'm particularly pleased that you love the Julie Vivas book. It's one of my favourites, and a great hit with the many children with whom I have shared it.

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