Children's Christmas books: the best children’s books to give this Christmas

Are you looking for gift inspiration for the little ones in your life this festive season? Look no further. Here’s our pick of the best children’s Christmas books and gift books for kids.

05/11/2021
10 minutes to read
A Christmas bag full of children's books

Are you looking for the perfect gifts for the young readers in your life? From lift-the-flap Christmas books for younger readers to beautifully illustrated classic Christmas books for kids and interactive tales the whole family will enjoy, discover the books that children will love to find under the Christmas tree this year. ​

Looking for more Christmas gifting ideas?  Don't miss our Christmas gift guide for book lovers. 

If you're looking for something to keep the little ones busy while you wrap presents, don't miss our Christmas activities for kids.

Christmas gift ideas for babies and toddlers

From lift-the-flap children’s Christmas stories to The Gruffalo gift sets, these books for babies and toddlers will make perfect Christmas gifts.

Squirrel's Snowman

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Squirrel's Snowman

In Acorn Wood the snow is coming down, and Squirrel plans to create a snowman! Lift the flaps to find out whether she and her friends can find everything they need. Created by cherished author/illustrator duo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, this winter tale has plenty of rhymes and lovely images to bring festive cheer to little children.

The Snail and the Whale: A Push, Pull and Slide Book

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The Snail and the Whale: A Push, Pull and Slide Book

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

The perfect introduction to The Snail and the Whale, little hands will love the push, pull and slide mechanisms which bring this classic story to life. This is a great Christmas gift for fans of the original story. 

Black History

by Campbell Books

Book cover for Black History

Illustrated by Jayri Gómez

In Black History, young children can read about the lives of inspirational Black people from around the world, from Maya Angelou to Stormzy and from Rosa Parks to Nelson Mandela. This pre-school read features push, pull and slide scenes, and punchy bright illustrations by Jayri Gómez.

Dear Santa

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for Dear Santa

A festive treat with bright, bold illustrations from the creator of Dear Zoo. With Dear Santa, little hands can unwrap a present on each page by lifting the flaps to discover what Santa has sent. This children’s Christmas book is a festive classic.

Busy Nativity

by Emily Bolam

Book cover for Busy Nativity

Join Mary and Joseph on their long journey to Bethlehem and see beautiful baby Jesus in his crib in this sturdy board book ideal for little hands. With gentle rhyming text and push, pull and slide tabs, toddlers will enjoy this story of the First Christmas.

Busy Reindeer

Book cover for Busy Reindeer

Children will have fun playing with the push and pull mechanisms in Busy Reindeer, which tells the story of Ruby Reindeer who flies through the sky helping Santa deliver presents. With its rhyming story and bright, colourful illustrations, Busy Reindeer makes the perfect Christmas Eve bedtime story for babies and toddlers.

Fruits

by Valerie Bloom

Book cover for Fruits

This award-winning picture book for toddlers is a fun and educational counting poem from Valerie Bloom, with beautiful illustrations by David Axtell. How much fruit can one little girl eat? Count from one to ten, learning the names of different Caribbean fruits. The rhyming text helps little ones learn to count while exploring the Caribbean’s many delicious fruits.  

Find more inspiration for gift ideas with our list of the best baby books and best toddler books.

Christmas gift ideas for kids aged 3-5

Beautiful gift books, hilarious Christmas stories about angry Brussels sprouts and charming festive tales, these are books any child would be delighted to receive this Christmas.

Room on the Broom and The Snail and the Whale Board Book Gift Slipcase

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Room on the Broom and The Snail and the Whale Board Book Gift Slipcase

It's 20 years since the publication of kids classic Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler – celebrate with a handsome slipcase gift edition which includes another of the duo's magical rhyming stories: The Snail and the Whale. With dragon-filled broomstick adventures and a timely eco-friendly message from the snail, this set will be treasured by young readers.

Grace and the Christmas Angel

by Lucinda Riley

Book cover for Grace and the Christmas Angel

Bestselling author Lucinda Riley and her son Harry Whittaker created this story together, and it begins on Christmas Eve, with the tree decorated, the presents wrapped and Grace waiting for her big day to begin. She is to sing in the nativity show, and her fisherman father has made a promise he will be back in time. But then a storm sweeps in, and when Grace goes on stage she cannot see her Dad in the audience. She starts to worry, but the Christmas Angel is there to help. Complete with an angel-ribbon marker, Grace and the Christmas Angel makes a special festive gift.

The Gruffalo and Friends Advent Calendar Book Collection

Book cover for The Gruffalo and Friends Advent Calendar Book Collection

Count down the days to Christmas with this collection of twenty-four mini books, featuring songs, activities and rhymes, all based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's much-loved classics The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale and more. Sing, colour and play your way to Christmas day with this absorbing collection.

The Christmas Bear

by Ian Whybrow

Book cover for The Christmas Bear

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

When Santa sets off in his sleigh to deliver his presents, poor Bear is left behind. This charming and very funny picture book by Ian Whybrow follows Bear on his travels as he tries to get to Tom’s house in time for Christmas morning. Beautifully illustrated by Axel Scheffler,  this is a Christmas book full of fun.

Merry Christmas, Gus

by Chris Chatterton

Book cover for Merry Christmas, Gus

This hilarious Christmas book for kids stars the wonderfully grumpy Gus. Gus doesn’t like carols, or cake, or Christmas jumpers. And he certainly doesn't like mistletoe. To Gus, a tree is only good for one thing, and it's not for hanging baubles on. Will Gus ever learn to love the festive season? 

Counting Creatures

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Counting Creatures

Illustrated by Sharon King-Chai

This stunning picture book is a fun, interactive counting book with peep-through pages, fold-out flaps and bright, beautiful artwork. Little ones will love comparing the creatures, exploring their habitats and learning the proper names for all the baby animals.

Sugarlump and the Unicorn and The Singing Mermaid Board Book Slipcase

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Sugarlump and the Unicorn and The Singing Mermaid Board Book Slipcase

Illustrated by Lydia Monks 

This gorgeous slipcase contains two of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’s best-loved stories – the perfect Christmas gift for little mermaid and unicorn fans. 

The Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The Gruffalo

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s original story of a brave little mouse and a scary monster has been read and loved by millions of children all over the world. A must-have on any child’s bookshelf, this paperback edition of the classic story has a beautifully redesigned new cover.

Starbird

by Sharon King-Chai

Book cover for Starbird

This stunning gift book shimmers with silver foil and stunning illustrations throughout. The original fable about freedom and love tells of the magical Starbird. Starbird’s song delights all that hear him, but when the Moon King traps him in a cage, the colour and life in his voice begins to fade away.

The Snail and the Whale Festive Edition

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The Snail and the Whale Festive Edition

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

The classic story of adventure and friendship from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler has been brought to life on BBC One in an animation starring Sally Hawkins, Rob Brydon, Cariad Lloyd and Dame Diana Rigg. This special festive edition of The Snail and the Whale is a brilliant Christmas stocking filler for fans of the tale.

Animalphabet

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Animalphabet

Illustrated by Sharon King-Chai

This illustrated exploration of the animal kingdom is also an interactive guessing game from Julia Donaldson, with stunning artwork by Sharon King-Chai. Do you know who can fly better than a pig or who is more wobbly than an iguana? This charming book deserves pride of place on every child’s bookshelf.

Christmas Comes to Moominvalley

by Alex Haridi

Book cover for Christmas Comes to Moominvalley

This beautiful picture book will become a Christmas classic, and is the perfect gift for Moomin fans big and small. A stunningly illustrated retelling of Tove Jansson’s The Fir Tree, the Moomins wake up from their winter sleep to find that Christmas is coming  but the Moomins have no idea who, or what, Christmas is . . .

The Return of Sproutzilla

by Tom Jamieson

Book cover for The Return of Sproutzilla

Illustrated by Mike Byrne

You thought having to eat them for Christmas dinner was terrible enough, but what could be worse than a mean, green sprout who hatches a dastardly plan to destroy Christmas! The fantastically funny sequel to Sproutzilla VS Christmas, this picture book will have the whole family laughing out loud this holiday season. These are brilliantly funny Christmas books for kids. 

Meerkat Christmas

by Emily Gravett

Book cover for Meerkat Christmas

Join Sunny the Meerkat on his search for a white Christmas in this interactive and heartwarming festive story from the creator of Meerkat Mail. This tale of family and festive fun is full of Christmas cards to read as you follow Sunny’s journey from the Kalahari desert as he looks for his perfect Christmas.

I Am Perfectly Designed

by Karamo Brown

Book cover for I Am Perfectly Designed

Illustrated by Anoosha Syed

I am Perfectly Designed is the perfect story for families of all shapes and sizes to share this festive season. Embodying the kindness and love of its creator, Queer Eye star Karamo Brown, it’s an empowering story about loving who you are and a celebration of the bond between a parent and a child.

The Night Before Christmas in Wonderland

by Carys Bexington

Book cover for The Night Before Christmas in Wonderland

Illustrated by Kate Hindley

This festive mashup of two classic children’s books begins with Santa, not Alice, falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Join the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and a few of Santa's reindeer for a tea party and find out if Santa can charm the Queen of Hearts (who hates Christmas, naturally) and put the Merry back into Christmas in Wonderland. If you’re looking for a fun Christmas tale with a twist, here it is!

The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child Gift Slipcase

Book cover for The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child Gift Slipcase

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Take a trip into the deep dark wood this Christmas with the ultimate present for fans of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s modern classics. This limited edition gift set published to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of The Gruffalo includes beautiful hardback editions of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child. With special foil detailing and a limited edition slipcase to keep the books in, this is a Christmas gift for young Gruffalo fans to treasure.

How Winston Delivered Christmas

by Alex T. Smith

Book cover for How Winston Delivered Christmas

Join little Winston the mouse as he embarks on his mission to deliver a last-minute letter to Santa that got lost along the way. It’s packed with colourful illustrations and a different Christmas activity idea in every chapter: we recommend reading it together on Christmas Eve while you’re getting ready for Santa to stop by.

Get crafty this Christmas with Winston's festive activities for kids.

Don't miss our edit of the best picture books for more Christmas gift inspiration. 

 

Christmas gift ideas for kids aged 5-9

These books for children aged 5-9 are full of delightful Christmas stories, hilarious jokes and fascinating facts to keep them entertained through Christmas and beyond.

Aziza's Secret Fairy Door

by Lola Morayo

Book cover for Aziza's Secret Fairy Door

The first title in a magical adventure series, perfect for readers aged 6+, Aziza's Secret Fairy Door is packed with mischief, friendship and magic. A mysterious gift arrives on Aziza's birthday – a secret fairy door that will whisk her away to a magical world with princesses, fairies, unicorns and more! But when the precious jewelled doorknob is taken, Aziza is trapped. Will she ever see her home and family again? Maybe her new friends can help . . .

Rumaysa: A Fairytale

by Radiya Hafiza

Book cover for Rumaysa: A Fairytale

Illustrated by Rhaida El Touny

For as long as she can remember Rumaysa has been locked away in her tower, forced to spin straw into gold for the evil Witch, unable to leave. Until one day, after dropping a hijab out of her small tower-window, Rumaysa realizes how she might be able to escape. A magically fresh, empowering and funny debut, which retells three classic fairytales – Rapunzel, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty – with beautiful inside illustrations by Rhaida El Touny and cover illustration by Areeba Siddique.

Wild Child

by Dara McAnulty

Book cover for Wild Child

Join brilliant young naturalist Dara McAnulty on a nature walk and experience the joy of connecting with the natural world on your multi sensory journey.

This beautiful gift book, is divided into five sections: looking out of the window, venturing out into the garden, walking in the woods, investigating heathland and wandering on the river bank. Each introduces young readers to each habitat and fantastic facts about the native wildlife there, and also contains a discovery section which takes a closer look natural phenomenon such as metamorphoses and migration.

The 143-Storey Treehouse

Book cover for The 143-Storey Treehouse

The eleventh book in the hit Treehouse series created by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton – there are thirteen new levels at the ever-growing treehouse, with a deep cave housing a fire-spitting dragon, a scary graveyard where it's always midnight, a special complaining room and much, much more. 

Terry has forgotten to pack the tent for his and Andy's holiday, and the spooky tales round the campfire are getting a little too scary. When their fellow campers start disappearing, it's down to Andy to brave the dark and scary woods to save them.

Black and British: An Illustrated History

by David Olusoga

Book cover for Black and British: An Illustrated History

David Olusoga tells the hidden stories of Black Britain, from Roman Africans who kept guard at Hadrian's wall, to Black Georgians campaigning to abolish slavery, and Black soldiers in the trenches in the First World War. This beautiful hardback gift book is a stunning visual journey through 1800 years of Black British history for younger readers.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Book cover for The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Or Grandma is Overly Generous is a witty new take on the festive classic The Twelve Days of Christmas, accompanied by beautiful full-colour illustrations. In this gorgeous gift book Grandma's presents start off sensibly – a partridge is easy enough to take care of – but her generosity soon gets wildly out of hand . . .

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

Book cover for Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

This beautiful edition presents Costa Award and Kate Greenaway Medal winner Chris Riddell's gorgeous new visual interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s classic story. Featuring a foiled jacket, head and tail bands and a ribbon marker, and with lavish colour illustrations throughout, this gorgeous hardback will be treasured for years to come. This is an Alice in Wonderland book every Alice fan should have on their bookshelves.

Wild City

by Ben Hoare

Book cover for Wild City

Illustrated by Lucy Rose

Little readers can travel the globe and meet the creatures that share our urban spaces in this beautifully illustrated gift book. With lyrical and factual text written by award-winning natural history journalist Ben Hoare and stunning illustrations by Lucy Rose, budding natural historians will be enthralled. 

Santa gets A Second Job

by Michele D'Ignazio

Book cover for Santa gets A Second Job

Illustrated by Sergio Olivotti

This hilarious and heartwarming Christmas book for kids aged six to eight sees Santa find the perfect second job – as a bin man! Santa finds plenty of gifts hidden amongst the rubbish, and soon he’s back on his sleigh delivering recycled gifts. 

Counting on Katherine

by Helaine Becker

Book cover for Counting on Katherine

Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk

Counting on Katherine is the true story of Katherine Johnson, an African American woman who played a major part in the success of the first ever moon landing. From a young age Katherine had a passion for numbers. Despite the discrimination and racism she faced on a daily basis, she dedicated her life to honing her skills – skills that would one day save the lives of NASA astronauts.

Christmas With Princess Mirror-Belle

Book cover for Christmas With Princess Mirror-Belle

Illustrated by Lydia Monks 

In this chapter book for young readers, magically mischievous Mirror-Belle comes popping out of the mirror to sweep Ellen into two hilarious Christmassy escapades – from joining in with the Christmas ballet show to attending Ellen's friend's fancy-dress party and trying to catch Father Christmas!

The Real Family Christmas

Book cover for The Real Family Christmas

Illustrated by Kate Pankhurst

A funny festive story collection for young readers, The Real Family Christmas will get everyone in the holiday spirit. Featuring three stories about the Christmas family and their hilarious escapades, it will have independent readers laughing out loud at these fun Christmas stories.

The Misadventures of Frederick

by Ben Manley

Book cover for The Misadventures of Frederick

Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

The Misadventures of Frederick is the story of a cautious little boy and his newfound fearless friend. A tale of friendship and celebrating differences told through letters: a joyful book for young readers packed with beautiful illustrations and heartwarming moments.

Silas and the Marvellous Misfits

by Tom Percival

Book cover for Silas and the Marvellous Misfits

Silas and the Marvellous Misfits is the second book selected in the Marcus Rashford Book Club.

Erika has a BIG secret. She’s a member of the Dream Defenders – a top-secret organisation that banishes your worries while you sleep! And tonight they're on a mission to rescue Erika's best friend Silas from the clutches of the evil Glooms – creatures who want everyone in the dream world to look and think exactly the same way! Can the Dream Defenders save Silas and help him to see that being a misfit can be a truly marvellous thing?

This action-packed adventure shows kids the joy of being themselves and celebrating their differences.

The Treehouse Joke Book

by Andy Griffiths

Book cover for The Treehouse Joke Book

Illustrated by Terry Denton

Give the gift that any Treehouse fan needs this Christmas – The Treehouse Joke Book! Kids will love telling their new jokes at every Christmas gathering and entertaining friends and family with silly one-liners. With topics ranging from bears to birds, penguins to pirates, school to space, you won’t find any of these jokes in your Christmas crackers.

The Curious Book of Lists

Book cover for The Curious Book of Lists

Illustrated by Caroline Selmes

An essential stocking filler for inquisitive young minds, The Curious Book of Lists is packed with eye-popping information on hundreds of topics – from the world’s fastest animals to history’s most fearless female warriors!

Find ideas to keep children of all ages entertained this holiday season with our list of the best indoor activities for kids.

Find more gifting inspiration with the best books for five and six-year-olds

 

Christmas gift ideas for kids ages 9 -12

From beautifully illustrated magical adventures to a festive collection of Christmas poems, these books for children aged 9-12 make perfect Christmas gifts.

The Boy With Wings

by Sir Lenny Henry

Book cover for The Boy With Wings

Illustrated by Keenon Ferrell

Comic Lenny Henry has written a suitably laugh-out-loud adventure story for readers of 9 to 12 years, with dazzling illustrations throughout by Keenon Ferrell. Tunde has some problems with the school bully, but when he sprouts wings and realises his true mission is to save the Earth, school becomes the least of his problems. Flying high in the face of danger, Tunde is the boy with wings.

Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City

by Rob Biddulph

Book cover for Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City

Drawing feels like magic to Peanut Jones. But art can't fix her problems. Her dad has gone missing, and she's stuck in a boring new school where the teachers hate her doodling, St Hubert’s School for the Seriously Scientific and Terminally Mathematic. Everything seems bothersome, until the day she finds a magic pencil and is suddenly pulled into a world packed with more colour, creativity, excitement and danger than she could ever have imagined. And maybe, just maybe, she might find out what happened to her dad.

Danger at Dead Man's Pass

by M. G. Leonard

Book cover for Danger at Dead Man's Pass

Danger at Dead Man's Pass is the fourth book in the bestselling Adventures on Trains series.

All aboard for a thrilling adventure in the acclaimed Adventures on Trains series. Danger at Dead Man's Pass sees Harrison Beck high in the German mountains investigating an ancient family, after a mysterious letter from an old friend. According to legend the Kratzensteins, a rich and powerful family of railway tycoons, are cursed. But is there any such thing as a curse?

Hal and his Uncle Nat take the night train to Berlin and go undercover, taking the Kratzenstein family's funeral train to the peak of the Brocken Mountain. Will the hidden secrets of the Kratzenstein's be revealed and the curse lifted before disaster strikes?

To find out more about all of the books in the Adventures on Trains series, discover our guide to the books in order, here. 

A Poem for Every Winter Day

by Allie Esiri

Book cover for A Poem for Every Winter Day

This beautiful collection is full of verses that will transport you to sparkling winter scenes, with poems for Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day. The poems are selected from Allie Esiri’s bestselling poetry anthologies A Poem for Every Day of the Year and A Poem for Every Night of the Year, including poems by  Mary Oliver, Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Hardy, E. E. Cummings, Robert Burns, Joseph Coelho, George the Poet, Benjamin Zephaniah and Jackie Kay. 

Owl and the Lost Boy

by Amy Wilson

Book cover for Owl and the Lost Boy

This sparkling seasonal fantasy is perfect for reading by the light of the Christmas tree. Owl is fed up of being stuck in a perpetual summer – it’s not fun when you’re the daughter of Jack Frost. So she embarks on an adventure deep into the world of time itself to find her friend Alberic, the Earl of Autumn’s son, and end the eternal summer. 

Christmas Poems

by Gaby Morgan

Book cover for Christmas Poems

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

This collection of classic and contemporary Christmas poems celebrates everything about the festive season, from snow and stockings to the Nativity story. Why not take it in turns to pick a poem to read as a poetry advent calendar of sorts in the run-up to the big day?

Shadows of Winterspell

by Amy Wilson

Book cover for Shadows of Winterspell

Deep in the forest, magic is waiting . . . If you’re looking for a gift idea for a child who loves magic and mystery, Shadows of Winterspell might be just the ticket. The story of a young girl dealing with the presence of dark ancient magic and set in the depths of winter, this children’s fantasy tale makes a great gift for independent readers.

Guardians of Magic

by Chris Riddell

Book cover for Guardians of Magic

A brand new magical quest story from the creator of Goth Girl, this illustrated hardback will make a special gift for young bookworms. Guardians of Magic is the first title in a brand new series from Chris Riddell, and this hardback edition also includes a full-colour guide to the giants who feature in the story.

Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year

by Allie Esiri

Book cover for Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year

Weave a little bit of Shakespeare’s wisdom into every day with this beautiful hardback anthology of his works. With each day featuring a Shakespeare poem, extract or sonnet, chosen and introduced by Allie Esiri, this gift will give young readers an introduction to the wit and humour of the greatest writer in the English language.

The Lotterys More or Less

by Emma Donoghue

Book cover for The Lotterys More or Less

The story about a thoroughly modern family from bestselling author Emma Donoghue. In The Lotterys More or Less, nine-year-old Sumac is determined to make sure all of the family’s Christmas traditions are upheld. But from uninvited guests to weird weather and mysterious power cuts, it seems like everything is against the Lotterys having a ‘normal’ family Christmas.

 

Christmas gift ideas for kids aged 12+

These children’s books, from the YA book everyone’s talking about to a festive story collection from much-loved author Eva Ibbotson, will be treasured by children aged 12+.

You Are A Champion

by Marcus Rashford

Book cover for You Are A Champion

'There is no finish line when it comes to your dreams.'

You Are A Champion will empower young people to develop positive thinking, build mental resilience, learn how to navigate adversity and, ultimately, achieve their full potential.

Written with journalist Carl Anka, You Are A Champion is the empowering and life-changing first children’s book from Marcus Rashford MBE. It is full of practical advice and engaging illustrations and infographics, including input from performance psychologist Katie Warriner.

The Christmas Star

by Eva Ibbotson

Book cover for The Christmas Star

A collection of three festive stories from Eva Ibbotson. In the first story – 'Vicky and the Christmas Angel' – a young Viennese girl discovers, to her horror, who really brings the children's presents at Christmas.

Wayward Son

Book cover for Wayward Son

The sequel to her bestselling novel Carry On, in Wayward Son Rainbow Rowell returns to the world of Simon, Penny and Baz and asks, what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day? This new novel from the author of Fangirl will delight YA fans everywhere.

Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

Book cover for Children of Blood and Bone

This high fantasy series is the young adult answer to Afrofuturism – a genre that is making waves in the world of SFF, which has been so Eurocentric for far too long. Adeyemi draws on African culture and mythology to create the mesmerizing, fantastical world of her books. The main character Zélie once lived in a world of magic, but now those who call themselves maji are hunted down by a ruthless king. Zélie is determined to restore magic, but it may be her own powers that prove the most difficult to master. It’s a coming-of-age story about self-discovery with a tumultuous background; there’s a reason this one couldn’t be pushed from the bestsellers list for so long.