5 Festive Reads for the Family

The Christmas season is almost upon us and there is nothing like a festive picture book to really get you in the holiday spirit! Below are some recommended reads from Allyson Thompson, a Grade 5 teacher at  ISS International School, one of our latest Member Schools to join School Notices Singapore.  She picks five of her favourite picture books that have us looking forward to this holiday season along with some engaging activity ideas to add a little homemade cheer to your holiday decorations.

  1. Last Stop on the Reindeer Express by Maudie Powell-Tuck

“Mia misses her Grandpa. Without him, Christmas has lost its magic. But when Mia discovers a world within a mysterious post box, she is whisked away on a truly wonderful adventure over sparkling seas and streets of paper stars. But what will Mia find at the end of her journey? A magical tale of love and adventure, brought to life by peep-through pages, lift-the-flaps and breath-taking illustrations from Karl James Mountford (The Curious Case of the Missing Mammoth). Last Stop on the Reindeer Express is a wonderful way to help childrenarticulate their feelings when spending Christmas away from a parent, grandparent or sibling.” -Goodreads.com

Activity: Take time this holiday season to create your own Christmas letter for a family member near or far!  Materials You’ll Need:

– Postcard or Card

– Colourful paper to create your own peek through designs

– Scissors

– Pencil, pen or your favourite colouring utensils

– Postage to mail!

2. Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht

“Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. With style and warmth, debut author Patricia Toht and Jarvis, the author-illustrator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, evoke all the rituals of decorating the tree — digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights. Joyously drawn and rhythmically written, this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday season is as merry as the tradition it depicts.” Goodreads.com

Activity: Create your own pinecone tree decorations.

Materials You’ll Need:

– Pinecones

– Paint (green and any other colours you might need to decorate your tree)

– Cork or clay for the tree trunk

– Star for the top!


3. The Wish Tree by Kyo Maclear

“Charles wants to find a wish tree. His brother and sister don’t believe there is such a thing, but his trusty companion Boggan is ready to join Charles on a journey to find out.  And along the way, they discover that wishes can come true in the most unexpected ways.” -Goodreads.com.

Activity: Assemble your own wish tree for to celebrate and inspire you in the New Year! Materials You’ll Need:

– Vase or pitcher to hold your tree

– Bare branches to hold your wishes

– Paper (cut into any shape you wish)

– Ribbon or string

– Writing utensil to jot all those lovely wishes down!


4. The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Campbell Ernst

“The lonely old woman and the lonely old man decide to bake a girl this time, but when they open the oven, she runs off like her brother did. Never fear, this smart cookie has a plan to outfox the fox. Will it work? Let’s just say that the ending is sweet for everyone. Ernst’s familiar art, here placed against gingham-check backgrounds, utilizes the oversize format to best advantage, with large characters leaping out of their frames. On the cover, the candy-studded Gingerbread Girl with licorice-whip hair stares boldly out at readers.Kids won?t be able to resist following her inside.” -Goodreads.com

Activity: Gingerbread girl baking and decorating.  Materials You’ll Need:

– Your favourite gingerbread cookie recipe

– Decorative icing and candies

5. The Little Reindeer by Nicola Killen

“An enchanting Christmas story about a magical yet unlikely friendship between a little girl and a lost reindeer, lovingly told and illustrated with red foil highlights and interactive die cuts.

When a jingling sound wakes her from her sleep, a little girl’s dreams come true when she meets a lost reindeer in the forest. They set off on a magical adventure and it becomes a Christmas never to forget. Nicola Killen’s evocative illustrations are sure to enchant in this beautiful book with die cut pages, foil, and flashes of festive red”

Activity: Calling all reindeer! Now accepting applications! Have kids decorate and fill out their own job application to join Rudolph and the gang.  Materials You’ll Need:


– FREE Reindeer Creativity template from Teachers Pay Teachers (linked below!)

– Scissors

– Glue

– Colouring supplies


A big thank you to Allyson Thompson, librarian and book lover at ISS International School who suggested these gorgeous reads.  We hope you enjoy these books as much as we did and the crafts will get you and your littles ones in the festive mood!  ISS are holding their Christmas Fair on Saturday 7th December 11am – 3pm.  Find out more HERE. School Notices will be there along with many other lovely vendors with Christmas present ideas galore – see you there!

Click HERE to read our feature on where to go for Christmas Carols this year or Dreaming of a WHITE Christmas

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