Winter Holiday Booklist
Colorín Colorado presents a diverse collection of winter holiday books to share about Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Many of these stories include migration stories or special family traditions.
For more great titles across lots of cultures, see our Winter Holiday Booklist Collection!
An Ellis Island Christmas
When Krysia is six, her family leaves Poland for America. The journey is difficult, as is the arrival at Ellis Island when the family is separated. While the family waits for Papa, Krysia sits down by the Christmas Tree of the Great Hall at Ellis Island and watches as other fellow travelers begin to sing and dance. The mood is festive, but Krysia begins to worry — will Papa ever return? Cultural details from Polish customs passed down through the author's family enhance the touching story of one family's Ellis Island experience.
Baseball Bats for Christmas
Product Description: In 1955, Rocky Parsons, the bush pilot, drops off a bunch of Christmas trees in Repulse Bay much to the delight of the kids who have never before seen a tree. What do you do with a bunch of splidly trees, the purposes of which are not immediately apparent? Play baseball, of course! An autobiographical tale from Michael Kusugak's childhood tells a story of life in the arctic, and shows how easily different cultures can interpret things differently.
Christmas in Lagos
It is ten days to Christmas, and also the last day of school. Ranti, a six year old girl who lives in the West African city of Lagos, Nigeria, sits in class and listens to her classmates describe all the exciting, far-away places they will visit during the Christmas holidays.
It's Christmastime, and Eric has a special assignment — he has to write a report about a new painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Eric's grandmother makes a deal with him: if he will help her make traditional Puerto Rican pasteles, she will take him to the museum. Together they leave the familiar neighborhoods of Spanish Harlem and venture out to the Met, where Eric encounters a painting that changes his life. A note from author and illustrator Eric Velasquez provides some background to this quiet yet profound story from his childhood.
Hanukkah: A Counting Book in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish
The Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah, celebrates the rededication of the Jewish temple after a group of ancient heroes defended their right to worship as they wished. This handsome little counting book honors the most joyful of Jewish holidays, and teaches readers how to count from one to eight in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish.
Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa: A Kwanzaa Holiday Book for Kids
Li'l Rabbit is not having a very good Kwanzaa. Granna Rabbit is sick, and so his family won't celebrate his favorite part of Kwanzaa this year: a big feast called Karamu. But maybe he can help Granna Rabbit have a special treat for Karamu so she can celebrate anyway. Is Li'l Rabbit too little to help? Or does he just need a little help from his family and friends? The story of Li'l Rabbit captures the true meaning of Kwanzaa — coming together to help others. Donna L. Washington's story, with art from Shane W.
Miracle on 133rd Street
It's Christmas Eve and Mami has bought a delicious roast for a Christmas feast. But it’s too big to fit in the oven! Jose and Papa need to find an oven big enough to cook Mami’s roast. As they walk from door to door through their apartment building, no one seems to be in the Christmas spirit. So they head down the street to find someone willing to help, and only when they do, lo and behold, the scent—the itself magical smell—of dinner begins to spread, and holiday cheer manifests in ways most unexpected.
Native American Night Before Christmas
Clear Light Publications: An innovative retelling of the classic Christmas tale, Native American Night Before Christmas presents a whimsical look at a Native American Christmas Eve, when Old Red Shirt (the Indian Santa Claus) comes a-calling on his wooden sleigh pulled by a team of flying white buffalo. Jesse Hummingbird's inspired illustration transform the author's playful adaptation into a fresh and modern work of art. A delight for people of all ages and cultures. Winner of the 2010 Moonbeam Award for Holiday Books.
Oskar and the Eight Blessings
A refugee seeking sanctuary from the horrors of Kristallnacht, Oskar arrives by ship in New York City with only a photograph and an address for an aunt he has never met. It is both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, 1938. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan, from the Battery to his new home in the north of the city, he passes experiences the city's many holiday sights, and encounters it various residents. Each offers Oskar a small act of kindness, welcoming him to the city and helping him on his way to a new life in the new world.
Cantankerous child Alfie F. Snorklepuss, who tells everyone who will listen that Santa Claus doesn't exist, gets a much-needed attitude adjustment from the man in red who takes him on an eye-opening journey to the North Pole.
Seven Candles for Kwanzaa
Although Kwanzaa commemorates an ancient African harvest ritual, it is a relatively new holiday in North America. Seven Candles for Kwanzaa comfortably explains the origins, language, and daily themes of this warm and festive seven-day holiday.
Soulful Holidays: An inclusive rhyming story celebrating the joys of Christmas and Kwanzaa
Cozy up together with this engaging book told in easy-to-read memorable rhymes about Christmas and Kwanzaa. The catchy couplets will delight readers with the inclusive traditions of families who honor one or both of these incredible holidays.
The All I'll Ever Want Christmas Doll
Nella and her family live in a small town during the Depression so "Santy" Claus doesn't come very often. This year, however, he brings a special doll - and Nella, the middle child, learns that playing with her sisters is more fun than with the doll alone. Richly detailed illustrations add definition to time and place as well as to the characters.
The Gifts of Kwanzaa
"Habari gani? What news?" Synthia Saint James presents the language and origins of Kwanzaa with enticing writing and bold pictures that honor the people and colors of Africa.
The Hanukkah Hunt
Ruby's cousin Avital is sad because her mom is going to be away on a work trip during Hanukkah. To help make sure Avital still has a happy holiday, Ruby plans an enormous eight-night treasure hunt. But will she be able to think up the right surprise for Avital to discover on the final night?
The Nutcracker in Harlem
In this original retelling, set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, one little girl finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy. This quintessential holiday tale is brought to vivid life by debut picture book author T. E. McMorrow and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator James Ransome. An author’s note at the end provides additional information about the history of the Harlem Renaissance, and about the author’s inspiration for this musical retelling.
The People Remember
Art and lyrical language weave together a history of African Americans from the time when they were taken from their homeland to the Black Lives Matter movement. The history is intertwined with principles of Kwanzaa which was first celebrated in 1966. This handsome book is meant to be shared.
The Trees of the Dancing Goats
Polacco has a warm, colorful illustrative style she applies to what at first seems the simple story of a Jewish girl, Trisha, and her Christian neighbors, whose bout with scarlet fever at Christmas threatens to ruin Trisha's Hanukkah. Trisha and her family respond with a loving gesture that is rewarded in kind.
Together for Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is Kayla’s favorite time of year. But this year, it looks as if a heavy snowstorm will keep her big brother, Khari, from getting home in time for the festivities! Will Khari miss the celebration completely? Or will Kayla and her brother somehow find a way to be together for Kwanzaa? A perfect introduction to Kwanzaa, this book will teach children all about the traditions and practices that make it a special winter holiday.
Tree of Cranes
When Christmas Feels Like Home
Product Description: After moving from a small village in Mexico to a town in the United States, Eduardo is sure it will never feel quite like home. The other children don't speak his language and they do not play soccer.
Winter Walk in the City
Take a walk through the city in winter and experience the sights, sounds, colors, and smells of the multitude of different holidays we celebrate this season. From Hanukkah and Christmas to Mawlid al-Nabi and Chinese New Year, everyone has a reason to celebrate. With simple rhymes, a counting pattern, and stunning papercraft art reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats, this diverse board book is the perfect introduction to the cultural melting pot that makes the city so special.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!