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Festive Tales for Independent Readers

From encounters with St. Nick to enthralling and enduring folktales, these books invite your child to celebrate diverse festivals of light.
 
Cover image for The Bells of Christmas
The Bells of Christmas
by Virginia Hamilton Illustrated by Lambert Davis

Twelve-year-old Jason Bell waits impatiently for Christmas 1890.

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Cover image for A Christmas Carol and Other Stories
A Christmas Carol and Other Stories
by Charles Dickens

An immediate bestseller when it was first published in December 1843, A Christmas Carol has endured ever since as a perennial Yuletide favorite.

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Cover image for A Christmas Memory
A Christmas Memory
by Truman Capote , Truman Capote Illustrated by Beth Peck

Seven-year-old Buddy inaugurates the Christmas season by crying out to his cousin, Miss Sook Falk: "It's fruitcake weather!" Thus begins an unforgettable portrait of an odd but enduring friendship between two innocent souls.  Buddy and his eccentric elderly cousin set out on a crisp day in November to reenact their ho

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Cover image for Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate
Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate
by Janice, D.S.W. Cohn Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth

In Billings, Montana, a Menorah displayed in boy's bedroom prompted someone to throw a rock through the window.

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Cover image for Confused Hanukkah: An Original Story of Chelm
Confused Hanukkah: An Original Story of Chelm
by Jon Koons Illustrated by S. D. Schindler

Hanukkah is fast approaching in the village of Chelm, but the Rabbi is away. Unfortunately, not one of the villagers remembers how Hanukkah is supposed to be celebrated. So they send Yossel, a simple young man, to the neighboring village to learn what he can.

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Cover image for The Gift of the Magi
The Gift of the Magi
by O. Henry Illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
This picture book version of one of the most famous Christmas stories ever written has been the most successful of Lisbeth Zwerger's books published in this country. Zwerger's simple, stark illustrations capture the human drama of O.
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Cover image for The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories From Chelm
The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories From Chelm
by Eric A. Kimmel Illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein

The residents of Chelm do not see things the same way that people in other towns and cities do. In Chelm, latkes can be created from nothing using a magic spoon, hay forks can be menorahs, and dreidels do not have any letters on their sides. But are the residents truly foolish, or perhaps wiser than all the rest?

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Cover image for Kringle
Kringle
by Tony Abbott Illustrated by Greg Call

Unlike the traditional Santa Claus myth, Kringle is a coming-of-age story about an orphan who becomes a force for good in a dark and violent time. It is a tale of fantasy, of goblins, elves, and flying reindeer — and of a boy from the humblest beginnings who fulfills his destiny.

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Cover image for The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
by L. Frank Baum
Taking the beloved symbol of merriment out of his conventional trappings and into the world of imaginative folklore, Baum gives Santa Claus an exciting life.
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Cover image for New Year
New Year
by Michele Sobel Spirn

Includes, among others, Chinese New Year Lantern Festival, an English New Year's Day, a Russian children's party at Moscow's Kremlin, and the Hindu holiday of Diwali.

Go "time traveling" without leaving the classroom with this fun activity.

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One Wintry Night
by Ruth Bell Graham

Breathtakingly illustrated, this book by the late Ruth Bell Graham tells the Christmas story in a unique and memorable way, making it the perfect gift for the young and the young-at-heart.

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Cover image for Sam I Am
Sam I Am
by Ilene Cooper , Ilene Cooper

Twelve-year-old Sam Goodman knows the holidays are going to be difficult when his dog knocks over the Hanukkah bush/Christmas tree. His Jewish father and Christian mother have never quite figured out how to celebrate both holidays, and when the tree goes down, their resentments, simmering for so long, boil over.

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Cover image for Santa Paws
Santa Paws
Series: Santa Paws, Book #1
by Nicholas Edwards

Santa Paws is known far and wide for his amazing rescues. Even the people on tiny Blueberry Island off the coast of Maine have heard of his daring feats.

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Cover image for Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story
Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story
by Angela Shelf Medearis Illustrated by Daniel Minter

In an African village live seven brothers who make family life miserable with their constant fighting. When their father dies, he leaves an unusual will: by sundown, the brothers must make gold out of seven spools of thread. If they fail, they will be turned out as beggars.

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Cover image for A Very Special Kwanzaa
A Very Special Kwanzaa
by Debbi Chocolate

Charlie's school is holding a Kwanzaa Festival, and he doesn't want any part of it. Last year, he became the class clown. He was chosen to stand in front of the entire class wearing a dashiki, beads, and sandals — in the middle of winter! This year, he just wants things to be normal.

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Cover image for When Santa Fell to Earth
When Santa Fell to Earth
by Cornelia Funke Illustrated by Paul Howard

Scared by a storm, Twinklestar, the least reliable reindeer, bolts—causing Santa and his sleigh to crash-land.

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