Top 10 Children's Books to Jumpstart the Holidays

Jessica Lazzara is Jumpstart's Vice President of Program.

Sharing a book with a child is one of the absolute best gifts you can give this holiday season! Whether it’s giving a new book as a present, sharing an old favorite with family, or taking a trip to the local library to explore the many books available, there are so many ways to inspire a life-long love of reading.

So take your favorite book off the shelf or try a new one from the list below. Then grab a spot next to the fire or snuggle under a blanket and enjoy the special experience of reading with a child.

1. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

Extra Yarn is a sweet story about a girl named Annabelle and her seemingly endless box of yarn, which turns her black and white town into a colorful world.

2. Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue

In this enchanting bedtime story, a little girl does not want to go to sleep. “Does everything in the world go to sleep?” the little girl asks. She engages in an imaginative conversation with her parents until she is finally ready to fall asleep.

3. Yo, Jo! By Rachel Isadora

While two brothers wait outside on their stoop for Grandpa, Jo's got a greeting for everyone. They yell everything from “s’up” to “yo” until Grandpa finally arrives. Then, only three words will do: I love you.

4. Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip Stead

In this story of kindness and friendship, Bear wants to tell his friends a story, but they are all too busy preparing for winter. Months later, Bear wakes up from hibernation and is excited to reunite with his friends and share his story.

5. Dear Juno by Soyung Pak

In Dear Juno, a young boy receives a letter from his grandmother in Korea. Although he cannot read the writing, he figures out what the letter says by thinking about the items included in the envelope. He writes back with drawings and meaningful objects. This story shows us how the power of family can travel across great distance and that communication goes far beyond words.

6. Snow by Uri Shulevitz

Everyone doubts that one or two snowflakes will amount to anything except for one boy and his dog. This playful story tells us how a city can be completely transformed by a snowy day.

7. I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love by Nancy Tillman

A wonderful book about the depth of love, this story lets children know that every child is special and unique and will always be loved, no matter what.

8. Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk

This book introduces us to the joy of reading and writing as we meet Sam, a library mouse, who turns his love of reading into a career as a talented author.

Looking to bring the story to life? Library Mouse is featured in A Guide for Grandparents, which also includes ideas to extend this book with a trip to the library. Take a look and enjoy many other books and activities for families to share.

9. Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats

Peter is feeling displaced and angry because all of his baby furniture is being painted pink for his new baby sister. This is a gentle and reassuring story about sibling rivalry and how a family helps a child accept a big change.

10. Otis by Loren Long

We all enjoyed Jumpstart's Read for the Record book this year, which told us a story of a special friendship. Reread this timeless story and go beyond the storybook as a family with these activity guides. You can also enjoy additional adventures with Otis and his friends by exploring other book from the Otis series, such as Otis and the Puppy or An Otis Christmas.

Thinking of shopping for books (or anything!) on Amazon this holiday season? Consider shopping through AmazonSmile and selecting Jumpstart for Young Children as your charity of choice.

After choosing Jumpstart on AmazonSmile, you’ll get the same online shopping experience, and Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase to support our Corps members and the children we serve. It’s a win-win deal!

Photo credit: Kristin Marie Enns-Kavanagh
Amazon and the Amazon logo and AmazonSmile and the AmazonSmile logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

Vice President of Education & Research at Jumpstart

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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