Tuesday, December 22, 2020



 Many people ask me for recommendations for good holiday books to read because I read in many different genres, and I love to read books for all ages. Below is a list of my favorite holiday books, fiction and non-fiction, which I've categorized by genre, for readers of all ages. Perhaps you'll find a story here that will touch you during this most wonderful of seasons.

Christmas Fiction – Adult:

·   Author:  Charles Dickens, 'A Christmas Carol'

·   Author:  Debbie Macomber,  'Starry Night:  A Christmas Novel', 'Call Me Mrs. Miracle', '1225 Christmas Tree Lane', The Christmas Basket', 'Merry & Bright'

·  Author:  Shelley Shepard Gray, 'Peace', 'Christmas in Sugarcreek'

·  Author:  Tricia Goyer, 'A Christmas Gift for Rose'

·  Author:  Sandra R. Bricker, 'Once Upon a Jingle Bell' (the first story in a collection titled 'Merry Humbug Christmas')

·  Author:  Liz Curtis Higgs,  'A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella'

·  Author:  William W. Johnstone,  'A Rocky Mountain Christmas', 'A Lone Star Christmas'

·  Author:  Martha Rogers,  'Christmas at Holly Hill'

·  Author:  Cindy Woodsmall, 'Christmas in Apple Ridge'—a 3-in-1 story collection.

·  Author:  Wanda E. Brunstetter, 'Amish White Christmas Pie'

·  Author:  John Grisham, 'Skipping Christmas'

·  Author:  Jennifer Beckstrand, 'A Perfect Amish Christmas' (the third story in a collection titled, 'An Amish Christmas Quilt')

·  Author:  Sandra Dallas, 'A Quilt for Christmas'

·  Author:  Vanetta Chapman, 'A Simple Amish Christmas'

·  Author:  Barbara Cameron, 'Annie's Christmas Wish'

·  Author:  Beth Wiseman, 'Winter Kisses' (a story in a collection titled, 'An Amish Christmas Love')

·  Author:  Amy Clipston, 'The Christmas Cat'  (a story in a collection titled, 'An Amish Christmas Love')

·  Author:  Lenora Worth, 'Amish Christmas Hideaway'

·  Author:  Kelly Irvin, 'Cakes & Kisses' novella in the 'An Amish Christmas Bakery' collection

·  Author:  Cindy Woodsmall, 'A Christmas Haven:  An Amish Christmas Romance'

·  Author:  Jennifer Chiaverini, 'The Christmas Boutique'

·  Author: Marta Perry, 'Naomi's Christmas'


Christmas Non-Fiction – Adult:

·   Author:  Amanda Murphy, 'Modern Holiday' (Christmas sewing projects)

·   Author:  Ree Drummond, 'The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays'

·   Author:  Debbie Macomber, 'Debbie Macomber's Christmas Cookbook:  Favorite Recipes and Holiday Traditions from My Home to Yours'

·   Author:  Christiane Bellstedt Arber, 'Scandi Christmas:  Over 45 Projects and Quick Ideas for Beautiful Decorations and Gifts'

·  Author:  Bob Richter, 'A Very Vintage Christmas:  Holiday Collecting, Decorating, and Celebrating'

·  Author:  Country Living Magazine, 'Country Living Christmas Joys:  Decorating * Crafts * Recipes'

·  Author:  Andrew Gant, 'The Carols of Christmas:  A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs'

·   Author:  Southern Living, Inc., 'Southern Living Christmas All Through The South: Casual Food, Decorating, and Entertaining Ideas to Make the Season Merry' 

·   Author:  Stephen Brown, 'Glitterville's Handmade Christmas:  A Glittered Guide for Whimsical Crafting'

 Christmas Non-Fiction for the Entire Family: 

·   The birth of Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament of the Holy Bible

Christmas Fiction – Children:

·   Author:  Rumer Godden,  'The Story of Holly and Ivy'

·   Author:  Margery Williams Bianco, 'The Velveteen Rabbit'

·  Author:  Jim Aylesworth, 'The Gingerbread Man'

·  Author:  Jan Brett, 'The Gingerbread Baby', 'The 12 Days of Christmas', 'The Gingerbread Man'

·  Author:  Clement Moore, ''Twas the Night Before Christmas'

·  Author:  Laura Ingalls Wilder, 'Little House in the Big Woods'

·  Author:  T.E. McMorrow,  'The Nutcracker in Harlem'

·  Author:  Susan Jeffers, 'Jingle Bells'

·  Author:  Daphne Benedis-Grab, 'The Angel Tree'

·  Author:  Louisa May Alcott, 'Little Women'

·  Author:  Susan Edwards Richmond, 'Bird Count'

·  Author:  Chris Barton, 'The Nutcracker Comes to America:  How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition'


If you have any recommendations for good holiday books not included on my list, please post the title and author's name in the Comments for this post.

This is my final blog post for 2020. It has been a great year for books, and I thank you for sharing my reading, writing, and stitching journeys with me. I appreciate your support of my creative endeavors!
I hope to see you back here on January 4th, 2021, for a Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday post spotlighting a book about feeding birds in your backyard. To keep up with my posts, please consider subscribing {it's completely free} to my blog in the sidebar on the right side of this post. You will also find my social media platform links there. Let's stay connected.
Wishing each and every one of you a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy 2021! 



Sunday, December 20, 2020



~Post Includes:  Book Spotlight, Author
Bio, Link Pack to Activities,
and My Thoughts~



Ivy, Holly, and Mr. and Mrs. Jones all have one Christmas wish.

Ivy, an orphan, wishes for a real home and sets out in search of the grandmother she's sure she can find. Holly, a doll, wishes for a child to bring her to life. And the Joneses wish more than anything for a son or daughter to share their holiday. Can all three wishes come true? This festive tale is perfectly complemented by beloved Barbara Cooney's luminous illustrations, filled with the warm glow of the Christmas spirit.

Margaret Rumer Godden was born in Sussex, but grew up in India, in Narayanganj. Many of her 60 books are set in India. Black Narcissus was made into a famous movie with Deborah Kerr in 1947.

Godden wrote novels, poetry, plays, biographies, and books for children.

For more information, see the official website: Rumer Godden

Barbara Cooney was a Caldecott Award winner. I found a detailed, insightful biography of her here:  
--  Waldorf Preschool Newsletter which focuses on ideas for family activities relating to this book:  Ideas for Families 
--  Find activities for this story under Day 13 on this 'Literature-Based Homeschool' Blog:  Language-Arts, Social Studies & Art Ideas   
I used to read this book to my first grade students each December before we went on winter break. I think I'm giving this story the highest compliment possible by saying that after the holidays, the girls and the boys begged, and I do mean begged, me to reread this touching story to them again. Most years we read the story at least three times!

It's an awesome story with delightful illustrations. The text of the story originally appeared in the Ladies Home Journal Magazine in 1957. It was originally published by Viking Penguin Inc. in 1958. I have owned a copy of this book for thirty-three years, and I still read it every holiday season for my own pleasure. Each time I read this magical story I find new things to appreciate and admire about it.

The first line of the book is:  "This is a story about wishing."

Who knows more about wishing than children? That's how the magic of this story begins. And there is an element of fantasy in this story that children of all ages will enjoy.

The main characters of the story are an orphan girl, Ivy, and a beautiful Christmas doll in a toy shop window, Holly. Through a chain of unfortunate events and through her own iron will, Ivy disobeys the instructions of Miss Shepherd, the woman who runs the orphanage. Instead of going to the infants home in the country, Ivy tells everyone at the train station and on the train that she is getting off at Appleton to spend Christmas with her grandmother.

There is no grandmother, but there is an Appleton. When Ivy awakes from a nap, she jumps out of the train at a station where the sign reads "A. p. . t.n.". Ivy is not a good reader {many of my students could relate to this at this point in the school year}, but she knows "A" stands for Appleton. She forgets about her suitcase and pencil box and begins to explore the quaint town.

Ivy enjoys the Christmas market and wanders around until darkness falls. Then she begins walking up and down the streets of the neighborhood looking into houses and seeing happy families, lovely Christmas trees, and other decorations. Ivy is even more determined to find her 'grandmother'. 

Eventually she finds the toy shop and discovers Holly the Christmas doll on the shelf in the front window. Ivy is mesmerized by the doll -- her Christmas doll

I won't go any further with the plot because I do not want to spoil the beauty and magic of this story for any of you who may read it for yourself or read it to your children and grandchildren. Suffice to say, this is my all-time favorite piece of Christmas-themed children's literature!

***Highly-recommended to readers of all ages! This story will open up valuable discussions about being without a family, wishing, and adoption.


Find the links to read more great Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts from middle-grade authors and bloggers at Greg Pattridge's 'Always in the Middle' Blog.