Picture this, if you will, a cold Christmas morning- the gifts are strewn about, there is a wrapping paper trail all over the house- but no one minds. All eyes and noses are buried in the depths of a brilliant book.

Silence ensues as the family lose themselves in the words, pictures and imaginations of books.

In past years, I planned for these very moments by creating a book advent for my children. We opened one book every day and spent quality time together reading, and as they got older, they would steal the books away to read on their own. There was always a mixture of old classics and new favourites in our advent. Last year, we had so many books that both of my children had their own book advent.

It has been exactly a year to the day that I began blogging and I wanted to return to advent and preparation for Christmas reading moments. For the next 12 days I will blog about a set of books that would make brilliant gifts, form a creative advent calendar or make a perfect read aloud for classrooms or bedtimes.

I am also running a giveaway via twitter to win a set of 12 books, one for each month I have been blogging but it could also serve as half of an advent calendar. Good luck if you decide to enter!

Let’s start our 12 Days of Christmas Reading with these wonderful titles!

This is a stunning story with glorious illustrations.  Two big names in the publishing world have created a moving story about friendship, adventure and Winter magic.  Phoebe is an orphan waiting for her miracle day which never seems to come. One night, while locked in the kennels, Phoebe watches the snow fall and decides to build a snowman.  Hours later, a snow dragon appears and whisks Phoebe and sausage dog, Herb off on an adventure. The dragon takes Phoebe off on an adventure through the skies and whispers these wise words, “Be content, Be watchful, be brave and never stop believing in miracles”.  These words keep hope alive in Phoebe’s heart.  The story is magical and imaginative and the illustrations are perfect- snowy and wondrous.  Hope and happiness abound in this and it is officially one of my new favourite books! Published by Simon and Schuster.
Dasher is a young reindeer living with his family in a travelling circus. She loves listening to her Mama tell stories and she longs to follow the North Star to a snowy wonderland. One night, by chance, Dasher escapes and begins to follow the star. In a clearing, Dasher finds Santa and his horse. Offering to help, Dasher finds herself magically pulling the sleigh. And so begins the story we all know and love of the reindeer flying around the world delivering gifts. The story is wonderfully imaginative and the illustrations are gorgeous. I had an instant connection to the beauty of this book and feel it would make a wonderful gift to anyone who loves the story of magical reindeer and a flying sleigh. Published by Walker Books.

When I was doing my teacher training in Canada, I came across this book and immediately loved that this glamorous Auntie is related to Santa. The divine illustrations are bold and colourful, full of Christmassy details! Auntie Claus lives in the penthouse of the Bing Cherry Hotel and always shares these pearls of wisdom, “it is far better to give than it is to receive”, with her niece Sophie. When Auntie Claus begins packing for her annual business trip after Halloween, Sophie decides to stow away. As expected, Auntie Claus goes to meet her brother Santa and Sophie is discovered. What a magical journey and adventure Sophie has while in the North Pole! This book, like the two above, has longer text and stunning illustrations. Published by David and Charles Children’s Books.

The Suitcase was an immediate hit for Chris Naylor-Ballesteros and so when I saw this book on the Bloomsbury festive list, I knew it was one I would love.  A beautiful but lonely tree sits alone on a hill, his forest home all gone. The tree looks longingly at the village and settles down for a long winter’s night. Following the rhythmic, rhyming pattern of the classic ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas’, it is a wonderful story of a tree being given a new home. A classic story book layout gives this book the feel of an age old tale. Absolutely adored it. Perfect to read on Christmas Eve or when decorating your own tree. Published by Bloomsbury.