I am so excited to finally share the details of our holiday partnership with Chapters Indigo which you might remember included our storybook advent for Ella and Noah! I can’t think of a better gift for children than that of a story book and whenever I’m putting together gifts for little ones, I always start with a new book from Chapters Indigo. So naturally, putting together a storybook advent over the 25 nights leading up to Christmas seemed both magical and practical. At the beginning of December I wrapped up each book and assigned each package a corresponding number to the date and tucked them all underneath the Christmas tree. Ella and Noah were brimming with bright-eyed anticipation and excitement when they saw the 25 packages awaiting them underneath the tree and I felt great knowing they would be opening books that would join our ever-growing story collection while also promoting quality time together as a family. The month of December is absolutely full of holiday hustle and bustle – introducing the tradition of a storybook advent to our family brought back some stillness that we constantly crave and really reinforced the idea of slowing down each evening, curling up together for a snuggle, and sharing in a bedtime story. And of course, reading by the twinkle of a glowing Christmas tree only added to the magic that is time cherished with little ones throughout the holidays. So without further delay, here are our favourite 25 story books from our Chapters Christmas advent.
I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This story is so beloved in our home and both beautifully and creatively written. I love that it speaks to the declaration of love that all parents have for their children while also shining a light on the teeniest little moments that should be celebrated and wished for throughout childhood.
Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins. The story of a grumpy but adorably lovable black bear named Bruce who finds himself in quite the predicament when one morning the goose eggs he planned to eat for breakfast expectantly hatch and become his…babies?! Bruce’s expressions throughout the story are priceless and his frustration provided endless belly laughs for Ella and Noah.
Construction Site On Christmas Night by Sherri Duskey. We love all the Construction Site stories so I knew Ella and Noah would be thrilled to receive the holiday-themed addition to the series during their advent. If your child loves construction sites and construction vehicles as much as ours do, specifically Noah, then this story is definitely one to add to your collection. The playful rhyming words keep the children engaged and are perfect for children like Ella who have begun reading.
In My Heart by Jo Witek. Another book from a series that we absolutely adore – we love In My Heart for the way it brings imagination to the forefront through the narration of a child. The story-telling character describes the various emotions a child can often feel from a unique and whimsical perspective. This story showcases the most charming doodle-like illustrations, bright and captivating colours, and peek-a-boo cut-outs that lead the reader from page-to-page which Ella and Noah always love.
Franklin’s Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell. An adorable story about a sweet dragon that loves to read, this was one of our favourites from the advent and one we read almost every night! I highly recommend this book for a birthday party or baby shower gift to add to a childs’ story collection, a simple lesson is in this story about not judging someone by their looks.
Fancy Nancy Splediferous Christmas by Jane O’Connor. Who doesn’t love Fancy Nancy?! One of our very favourite storybook characters is the forever-chic, vivacious, and French-speaking Nancy Clancy from the Fancy Nancy series. We loved adding this special Christmas story to our collection and bought one for my niece too. Nancy brings so much fancy festive spirit to life in this story and even begins her own family tradition creating heirlooms with her family. Don’t be surprised if our house is draped in sparkling tinsel, string lights, and ribbon next Christmas – this delightful character always leaves Ella and Noah feeling creatively inspired! “Ooh-la-la!”
The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M Walker & Garth Williams. Ella and Noah joke about having their own cookbook shelf in the library and so this adorable one was a great start! “A gorgeous new hardcover edition of the award-winning cookbook, featuring full-color photographs, classic illustrations, and more than 100 of the recipes that Laura Ingalls Wilder chronicled in her classic Little House books. A great gift for Little House fans and anyone who wants to learn what life on the prairie was really like.” – Indigo
Ocean Meets Sky by The Fan Brothers. This children’s book is truly a work of art – the sweet sentiment of the story and the breathtaking illustrations captured out hearts and quickly made this story a forever favourite. If missing a loved one is the season of life you or your child find yourself in, this story has a magnificent way of warming your heart while also illustrating a truly magical adventure!
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Can you believe this book is now 50 years old? This has been one of my favourite books since I was little and the kids have loved it for a couple of years now, Ella enjoys reading it to Noah to practice her reading too! It’s so nostalgic reading about a journey I loved as a child, one that kicked my imagination into high gear (especially as a child that loved taking off into nature) and reading it to my little ones and watching their eyes fill with wonder. We’ve been reading a vintage one so it was nice to get a new hardcover anniversary edition so the kids can each read their own as they get older!
An Anthology of Intriguing Animals by Ben Hoare. This book is as stunning as it is captivating! This 225 page anthology is brimming with remarkable illustrations, photographs, and facts making it perfect gently introducing non-fiction to younger readers or inquisitive animal lovers alike. From the baleen whale to the snow leopard, the milk snake to the platypus, any younger reader is sure to learn more about their favourite animals within the pages.
This Is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe. Follow one day in the real lives of seven kids from around the world-Italy, Japan, Iran, India, Peru, Uganda, and Russia! This beautifully illustrated book gives you a glimpse into the lives of seven children from around the world, what they eat, what kind of home they have, about their school and more. The kids really enjoyed this book but as a mother I wish they showed more diversity in families when it comes to the parental dynamic, none of the families only had a father or a mother, all had a mother and father – I would just find this a little difficult for some children that may read this book and struggle to relate or wonder why each child had both parents? Perhaps a silly thought but it was something I couldn’t shake.
Dear Girl by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal. This. Book. I just love it. The messages each page brings to girls are so, so important. I loved reading it with Ella and Noah but intentionally made additional time to read it through with my sweet Ella. Despite how deep and important the messages are on each page, its delivered in an entirely age-appropriate way which can help parents start conversations surrounding self-esteem and courage early! I’m also so excited that Dear Boy has since been released which I’ll definitely keep in mind for this year’s advent!
Lola Dutch by Kenneth and Sarah Jane Wright. If your child loves Fancy Nancy then you must introduce them to Miss. Lola Dutch and her pals! Together with Gator, Pig, Crane, and of course, Bear, Lola brings her imagination to life through brilliant and colourful adventures where the sky (and her bedtime) is the limit!
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds. This story is wonderful to share with readers of all ages but particularly with littles whose vocabularies have begun to grow. You’ll meet Jerome, a word collector who enjoying collecting words both big and small and especially loves collecting words that roll of his tonge like “effervescent” and “symphony.” But he discovers just how important his word collection is when one day he trips and stumbles, spilling his words and accidentally sharing them with others.
Today by Julie Morstad. Stories written by Julie Morstad tend to become favourite in our house, and Today wasn’t any different. Ella and Noah were both drawn to the whimsical sketch-like illustrations that invite you to visually explore each page. The simplicity of this open-ended story allows early readers, like Noah, to practice reading while using their imagination to guide the direction of the story. And because this story is led by the child’s imagination, it might be different each and every time you read it.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hidgson Burnett. One of my favourite stories of all times, and movies. Did you read this as a child too? As a child that grew up living in story books in a patch of wild tall grass outside, I lost myself many of times in this book and I couldn’t wait to bring home this beautiful slipcase edition for the kids. “ Mary Lennox is sent to live at her uncle’s gloomy manor in Yorkshire. Here, quite unexpectedly, she discovers a new world of warmth and friendship. Unlocking a hidden garden in the grounds, Mary reveals a place of enchantment that begins to weave its magic on her and those around her.”
Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty. Another empowering story by Andrea Beaty! Ella is quickly growing her collectiong of Andrea’s books, her favourite was Rosie Revere the Engineer until Ada was unpackaged before Christmas. These stories are great for kids and you can purchase the project books to go with them!
The Nut Cracker by New York City Ballet. Before Christmas we brought the kids to see the Nutcracker Ballet by The National Ballet of Canada, a tradition I had been waiting to start for a few years till they were a touch older. Both Ella and Noah were in love with the performance and this book was a perfect follow up to that experience, the illustrations are beautiful and it makes for a great Christmas storybook addition to the library.
Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alex Schertle. Like the beloved Construction Site series, Ella and Noah are both equally enamoured by the adventure of Little Blue Truck. The holiday-themed story brings back Little Blue’s familiar friends, playful rhyming, nostalgia-inspired illustrations, and the best part…colourful, twinkling Christmas lights! This sweet storybook comes in Spanish as well.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin. I think every parent needs to curl up and read this incredibly sweet and sentimental story with their little one – even if their little one is quickly outgrowing their lap. Wondering who your child might grow up to become and the glorious things they might one day accomplish is perhaps one of the most priceless gifts a parent is privileged to experience – this story beautifully shares that experience with darling illustrations and the most precious predictions. Read it through teary eyes with a box of tissues within reach.
Stella, Queen of the Snow by Mary-Louise Gay. I love the darling and tender relationship between Stella and her little brother, Sam; it reminds me so much of the sweet relationship between Ella and Noah. Throughout the Stella stories, Sam inquisitively wonders things like what polar bears eat for breakfast, where frogs go in the winter, or if birds get goosebumps. Wise and patient Stella, thoughtfully and imaginatively explains the wonders of the world to curious young Sam. Queen of the Snow takes place within winter making it a seasonally-appropriate story to read around the holidays.
A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston. We love the books that are a part of this inspiring series. The butterfly book is beautifully illustrated and introduces non-fiction, the natural world, and life cycles in an approachable way for younger readers to comprehend paired with age-appropriate dialogue and a lot to visually absorb. Ella and Noah reach for these books regularly to reference, especially to further their outdoor adventures!
Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. Read-aloud rhyming stories are always the stories the kids and I gravitate towards at bedtime, and the original Llama Llama was put on instant rotation after the kids opened it during their advent. Llama Llama is a lovable character that children easily relate and identify with. And what mommy with little ones doesn’t relate to the ever-patient Mama Llama at bedtime?!
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. The Giving Tree is a treasured classic that I’ve loved since I was a little girl and I actually surprised myself when I discovered it wasn’t already a part of our kids’ little library. I was so eager throughout the advent for Ella and Noah to open this story, excitedly anticipating reading and sharing it together. If you’re not familiar with The Giving Tree, it’s the beloved story between a boy and a tree and how the love within their relationship changes and adapts over time. Prepare to weep, it’s truly beautiful.
Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers. We love everything about Oliver Jeffers’ stories and this book was particularly wonderful. It’s critically acclaimed and has positive reviews by just about everyone who has ever read it so I knew it would be perfect to add into our advent. This thought-provoking story has a basic message of kindness, and we can never have too many stories that reiterate such an important and thoughtful message.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been reaching for these stories each night for nearly six months now! (Perhaps it’s even harder to believe that we’ll be bringing this tradition back in another six months!) Our Chapters storybook Christmas advent really has been the gift that has kept on giving. Ella and Noah look so forward to their bedtime routines, and I won’t lie, I definitely look forward to my nightly snuggles, and so continuing to find time each night to share a story or two is something that comes so naturally to us. When planning our storybook advent, I specifically chose some stories that we would read all year long, no matter the season, but also made sure to add some new holiday favourite to our collection that gets tucked away shortly after Christmas; we will now excitedly look forward to revisiting those books once again in snowy December!