Want to know my secret for surviving the weeks leading up to winter break? December holidays around the world, of course!
Those days between Thanksgiving and winter break are some of the hardest to keep students focused. But I say, when students are so holiday-crazed, why not lean into that? December holidays around the world books are such a fun way to weave the holidays into your school day. Plus, students will love the opportunity to learn about holiday traditions around the world. So I’ve rounded up 15 of my favorite books about holidays around the world for you to explore with your students this season.
Read on for the best holidays and Christmas around the world books!
Need some December holidays around the world lesson plans and activities? Check out this activity bundle!
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December Holidays Around the World
Celebrating holidays around the world isn’t just a helpful way to engage students. It’s also an important part of culturally responsive teaching.
So often, this time of year gets hyper-focused on Christmas and our Western ways of celebrating it. Showing students that there are lots of ways to celebrate Christmas helps open their eyes to the diversity of our world. Plus, introducing other December holidays helps them learn about differences that make our diverse world so interesting. It also helps the students in your class who might celebrate some of these holidays feel seen and valued!
I’ve always found that children’s books are probably the best way to show “windows” and “mirrors” to our students. “Windows” help students see perspectives that are different from their own. For example, learning about some December holidays that they may not celebrate. On the other hand, “Mirrors” provide validation for students’ own experiences. For example, reading a book about Kwanzaa when you have a couple of students who celebrate that holiday at home.
Holidays Around the World Books
I’ve divided these books into different categories so you can easily see which holiday they refer to and jump to the holiday you are interested in. However, I recommend choosing a mix of holidays to introduce to your students! The categories I’ve included here are Christmas Around the World, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Winter Solstice. All of these are wonderful December holidays that your students will enjoy learning more about.
You can sprinkle these read alouds throughout your school day in the weeks leading up to your winter break. My students always look forward to them.
Christmas Around the World
These books teach students about fun and interesting Christmas traditions from all over the world. I love creating an anchor chart display to show the different traditions as we learn about them!
How Kids Celebrate Christmas Around the World
Fun illustrations show a different country and their Christmas traditions on each page.
A World of Cookies For Santa
This beautifully illustrated book describes all the different treats that are left out for Santa by children in different countries.
Christmas Is Coming: Traditions From Around the World
Another fun book that explores Christmas traditions from around the world. This book has beautiful illustrations that children will love to look at.
Christmas Around the World (It’s a Small World)
This book follows different children around the world as they get ready for their Christmas celebrations.
Hanukkah Children’s Books
You can teach your students about Hanukkah history and traditions with these fun books. One fun activity to do with these stories is to learn to play dreidel with your class!
My First Chanukah
A simple board book that explains Hanukkah in easy language for children to understand.
The Story of Hanukkah
Beautiful illustrations and vivid storytelling share the story of the Maccabees and how the Jewish tradition of Hanukkah began.
Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas
A fun story about a multi-cultural celebration of Hanukkah. A great starting point for a discussion of how many families blend traditions.
Elmo’s Little Dreidel
Elmo receives a dreidel. His friends teach him how to play this fun Hanukkah game.
Kwanzaa Children’s Books
Kwanzaa has such a fun history and is based on values that are great to talk about in the classroom. I love making a Kwanzaa unity chain with my students as a fun activity to go with this holiday.
A fun story about Kevin and his family as they celebrate Kwanzaa together.
Kwanzaa by Lisa M. Herrington
A fact-filled book with wonderful photographs, examples of activities, and information about how Kwanzaa is celebrated.
Together for Kwanzaa
A big snowstorm hits, and Kayla hopes that her brother will make it home in time to celebrate Kwanzaa as a family.
Winter Solstice Children’s Books
The winter solstice is a magical time. Students might not understand the science behind the days getting shorter, so it’s fun to explore that with them.
The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper
A beautiful poem with lovely illustrations that shares some of the ways people honor the winter solstice each year.
The Shortest Day – Celebrating the Winter Solstice
A book for children that explains the science of the winter solstice and some of the traditions that go with it.
A magical story about a kind troll who visits the people of the town in the middle of the winter to remind them that spring will come again.
The Winter Solstice
This book also explores the scientific reasons for the days getting shorter in the winter time.
Winter Holidays Around the World
Celebrating winter holidays around the world can be such a fun experience for your students. Children love learning about different parts of the world. Plus, holiday celebrations are always a big hit as well.
I recommend pairing these holidays around the world children’s books with crafts and other activities. If you want some inspiration, you can read my blog post on How to Celebrate Winter Holidays Around the World With Your Students.
If you want some fun activities that are planned and ready to go, you can get the December Holidays Around the World Activity Bundle right here!
Resources For You
Articles For You
How to Celebrate Winter Holidays Around the World With Your Students
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