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When my daughter is not in school, playing outside with her neighbor friend, making protest posters (mom and dad 4 $), or picketing on the strike line with her family, she is listening to holiday read along books. Not yet fully reading, but able to piece together her sight words (hence the back-to-basics protest sign), my daughter has begun asking for books and stories that explore the holidays.
She makes herself a warm cup of coco in my makeshift home office coffeeshop. She grabs paper and colored pens to doodle, and she listens to and watches picture book read aloud videos on YouTube. I won’t lie. I get some rest from these microbreaks, but I also have one ear listening to the story, just in case the inevitable 6-year-old question arises. I have had to do some vetting of these books, as I hope for her to be well-rounded in her exposure to diverse holiday traditions and practices.
Balancing the stress of the holidays and the strike is difficult. Yet I ask us to take a page from my daughter’s inherent 6-year-old wisdom. Many questions about the world abound for me. How can we take a break from the day-to-day and step into the wonder of life, as seen through the eyes of a child? How do you explain holiday traditions to children, in my case, a 6-year-old? How do you encourage reading and storytelling? One answer I have found: read aloud picture books!
Though not exhaustive, nor fully representative, this list includes just a few of the diverse holiday book read aloud videos that my daughter has been enjoying lately. Feel free to share with the little people in your life or take time for yourself to jump into storytelling. Make yourself a warm beverage and grab some coloring materials as you watch/read along. From tale to tale, have fun and enjoy the different, yet strangely similar, holiday traditions and practices.
The Day Santa Got Sick by Deanne Samuels
Black Santa’s wife and daughter jump into save Christmas when Santa is unable to fulfill the task.
T’Was Nochebuena: A Christmas Story in English and Spanish by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
This book is about various holiday traditions including tamale making, piñata breaking, and participating in Las Posadas.
The Night Before Hanukkah by Natasha Wing
This is a fun rhyming book about the various traditions during Hanukkah. The background music is also fun.
Kevin’s Kwanzaa by Lisa Bullard
Kevin takes us through his holiday season. The colors in this book are bright and lively.
Santa’s Husband by Daniel Kibblesmith
This book covers so much ground from global warming, dietary restrictions, labor unions, and same-sex, interracial marriage. It is sweet and inviting.
Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
When I read this book to my daughter, I busted out laughing. I won’t give anything away but this story is about cousins getting into mischief.
Amal’s Eid by Amy Maranville
I appreciate the simplicity and color in this book. I also like the side explanations by the reader.
Christmas in Lagos by Sharon Abimbola Salu
This book follows a little girl who lives in Lagos and her time during the holiday season. The illustrations are fun and colorful. Mrs. Heidt, the reader, gives us a quick geography lesson at the onset to show us where Lagos can be found.
A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas by Pat Mora and Magaly Morales
The reader sings through the twelve days of Christmas and the food makes me hungry. I like that the counting reinforces numbers in Spanish.
A Native American Night Before Christmas by Gary Robinson
True to Native humor, this story is a nice rehashing of the traditional story.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Being a classic, my daughter can recite this book word-for-word. In the video, the illustrations are animated, and the words are highlighted as the book gets read.
Fight the good fight, share smiles, give gratitude for your ancestors’ stories, and enjoy little moments. Happy holidays!