As soon as the calendar turns to December, my boys are ready to count down to Christmas. I love the countdown, too, and what better way to do it than with a diverse collection of Christmas books?
You may also enjoy these Diverse Christmas Books!
I took 24 of our favorite multicultural Christmas books and put them together into a “book advent calendar” of sorts, so you can read a great holiday book every day leading up to the big day. I’ve even created a printable calendar so you can mark off each day as you complete it.
24 Days of Multicultural Christmas Books
Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou — I just love this poem, and I love this poem even more when it’s paired with beautiful illustrations. Angelou read this poem at the 2005 White House tree-lighting, and the accompanying illustrations tell the story of a family joining with others in their community of all races and religions to celebrate the holidays.
I Got the Christmas Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison — This book follows a little girl who is full of Christmas spirit! As she walks through her town with her parents, she takes in all the sights and sounds of the holiday season. Her Christmas spirit is contagious, and she ends up spreading cheer wherever she goes…even to Santa himself!
When Christmas Feels Like Home by Gretchen Griffith — Eduardo has recently moved from Mexico to the United States, and he’s having a hard time adjusting to his new home. It takes the magic of Christmas to make the US feel more like a place where he can belong, and he learns that home is really wherever you can be with the people you love.
The Christmas Truck by J. B. Blankenship — This book is a lovely story about a family parented by two dads that comes together to help a child they’ve never met at Christmas time. They purchase a gift for a child on a “wish tree,” but when the gift is broken, they have to work together to make things right. The orientation of the parents in this story is not the focus in any way, but it’s an important detail that kids need to see.
Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko — Sadie loves the holiday season, and she’s lucky enough to be able to celebrate two holidays every winter! The celebration in her home is a mix of Hanukkah and Christmas, and this lovely book shows how families can combine traditions to create something that is special and unique.
A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas by Pat Mora — This fun book takes a familiar song and uses it to teach readers about Latino culture. I love this book because it introduces lots of Spanish words (with pronunciation guides) and includes a glossary.
Santa’s Kwanzaa by Garen Eileen Thompson — What does Santa do after Christmas is over? He goes back to the North Pole to celebrate Kwanzaa! This book is a great introduction to Kwanzaa, and is also perfect for families who celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas. (Check out some more of our favorite Kwanzaa books here.)
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto — Maria is so excited for Christmas Eve! She’s especially excited to help make the tamales for Christmas dinner. However, her mood quickly turns when she decides to try on mother’s diamond ring for just a second…and she ends up losing it. What if it’s inside one of the tamales? This lovely book will introduce children to a Mexican family’s Christmas celebration, while at the same time exploring a familiar scenario of regret for breaking the rules.
Winter Candle by Jeron Ashford — Nana Clover is preparing for Thanksgiving dinner when she realizes she doesn’t have a candle to put on the table. She visits the super in her building, who lends her one. Two weeks later, the Danziger’s need a havdalah candle, so the small light gets passed on to them. This one candle moves around the building, celebrating St. Lucia Day, Kwanzaa, and other holidays. This book is a beautiful picture of how we can all share light with each other, no matter what we believe or how we celebrate.
A World of Cookies for Santa by M.E. Furman – Children all over the world wait for Santa to come every December, but not everyone leaves him the same snack! This adorable picture book follows Santa all around the world, and shares the tasty treats he receives, as well as how children of different cultures celebrate Christmas.
Santa’s Husband by Daniel Kibbelsmith — What is Santa’s everyday life like? In this book, Santa is black, his husband is white, and they live together at the North Pole. We see glimpses of their wedding, their vacation, and taking care of pre-Christmas responsibilities. Sometimes this happy couple disagrees; but they always love each other.
The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll by Patricia C. McKissack — Set during the Depression, this book follows the story of Nella, who is hoping Santa will bring her a Baby Betty doll. But when the doll comes, she realizes that it’s not much fun when she doesn’t share her gift with her sisters.
‘Twas Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield — Celebrate the night before Christmas with a Latino family in this rhyming picture book. This story takes the familiar rhythm of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and uses it to introduce Latino culture and traditions. This book and its illustrations are full of joy!
Tree of Cranes by Allen Say – Set in Japan, this story follows a young Japanese boy who is learning about Christmas from his American mother. As he warms up from the cold outside, she folds origami cranes and explains the traditions of Christmas to him. There’s even a special Christmas surprise for him under their origami-decorated tree!
Everett Anderson’s Christmas Coming by Lucille Clifton — Everett Anderson can’t wait until Christmas comes to Apartment 14A. He loves everything about Christmas, but he’s looking forward to receiving a special gift most of all. I love the Everett Anderson books and wish they were easier to find!
The Crying Christmas Tree by Allan Crow – Kokum (Grandmother) brings home a Christmas tree for her family. However, when they see it, they laugh; it’s so scrawny and spindly! Kokum is disappointed that her family doesn’t like the tree, and decides to go out Christmas shopping. When she returns, the family has something special to show her.
Christmas Makes Me Think by Tony Medina – In this story, we follow a young black boy who is so excited for Christmas! But the more he thinks about Christmas, the more he begins to wonder about the people who are less fortunate than him. What can he do to make someone else’s holiday as happy as his own?
Eight Candles and a Tree by Simone Bloom Nathan – Sofie and her friend Tommy both celebrate Christmas, but Sofie celebrates another holiday as well! Sofie’s family invites Tommy’s family over for a Hanukkah party, and Tommy learns more about this special celebration, and how Sophie’s interfaith family blends Hanukkah and Christmas.
Yoon and the Christmas Mitten by Helen Recorvits – When Yoon hears about Santa Claus at school, she cannot wait to tell her parents! She is so excited at the possibility of celebrating Christmas. However, Yoon is sad and disappointed when her parents explain to her that Christmas is not their custom; they are Korean and they celebrate the New Year. Yoon knows that she is Korean, but she is also American now, as well. Can her family find a way to blend the two cultures?
Elijah’s Angel by Michael J. Rosen – Young Michael loves to visit Elijah, the neighborhood barber. He especially loves looking at the beautiful figures Elijah has carved from wood, including many from the Bible. When Elijah gives Michael a carved angel as a holiday gift, Michael is worried. He’s not sure his parents (or G-d) would approve of him bringing a “graven image” into the house. Michael finally shows his parents the angel, and they teach him an important lesson of the power of friendship, and how our love for one another should transcend religion.
Circle of Wonder by N. Scott Momaday – Tolo doesn’t speak, but he feels deeply. On Christmas Eve, he feels the spirit of his grandfather calling him to a special place, and he begins to understand how all life is connected. This story is a beautiful blending of Native American and Christmas traditions.
Jackie’s Gift by Sharon Robinson – Steve Satlow is thrilled when his hero, Jackie Robinson, moves to his block. He’s even more excited when his new neighbor becomes a friend. When Jackie hears that the Satlow family doesn’t have a Christmas tree, he brings them one…but what he doesn’t realize is that the Satlow’s are Jewish. This is a lovely story about how we can honor and celebrate the holidays of others. It is based on a true story and written by Robinson’s daughter, Sharon.
The Road to Santiago by D.H. Figueredo – Every year on Noche Buena, Alfredito and his family take the train to visit their relatives in Santiago, Cuba. But this year, the trains are not running. There’s a war happening in Cuba, and the trains are no longer running. The family must find a new way to get to their relatives — and along the way, they have an amazing adventure. This book is based on the author’s own experiences as a child in Cuba.
Twas the Night B’fore Christmas: An African-American Version by Melodye Benson Rosales — This retelling of the Clement Clark Moore classic poem features details and dialect that would fit an African-American family at the turn of the 20th century. This Santa Claus has “skin like molasses,” and the rich, luxurious illustrations will put you right in the middle of the story. This book is hard to find, but worth the search.