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Playing with Lanterns

by Wang Yage (Author) Zhu Chengliang (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Zhao Di wishes the New Year would never end!

Zhao Di and her friends are excited to go out at night with their paper lanterns and celebrate Chinese New Year. Each holding a unique colorful lantern with a lit candle inside, they admire the breathtaking colors while doing their best to avoid the wind and the sneaky boys in the village. Every night, until the fifteenth day of New Year, Zhao Di and her friends take part in this fun tradition, experiencing the thrill of nighttime in their village. And then–it’s time to smash the lanterns!

In this cheerful book first published in China, readers are invited along with Zhao Di and her friends as they experience all the joy and excitement of this folk Chinese custom. Details about the paper lantern tradition are also included in an author’s note at the end of the book.

A Christmas Carol

by Brooke Jorden (Author) David Miles (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Series: Lit for Little Hands

Bah! Humbug! Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas ghost story, a tale of human nature and second chances, comes to life for children! Tons of interactive elements invite kids to follow the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge as he is haunted by the Ghosts of Christmas and learns the value of kindness. Much more than a primer, Lit for Little Hands: A Christmas Carol tells the actual story in simple, engaging prose, and fans of the novella will be delighted by the book’s attention to detail and clever use of original dialogue. And the book’s use of super-sturdy board means everyone can enjoy this tale of Christmas spirit over . . . and over . . . and over again!

The Christmas Book Flood

by Emily Kilgore (Author) Kitty Moss (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

This lovely and lyrical picture book, based on a real Icelandic tradition, brings all the sparkle and anticipation of Christmas–and of the joys of reading–to the page.

The northern lights dance,

snow blankets the ground,

it’s the Christmas season–so the Book Flood begins!

People plan and they dream,

and they visit the shops

for books to give loved ones, and families, and friends.

And when Christmas Eve comes,

they’ll share magical stories,

curl up by the fire, and read, read, read, read . . .

With gorgeous artwork and a diverse cast of characters, Emily Kilgore and Kitty Moss’s The Christmas Book Flood is a surefire holiday classic.

Red and Green and Blue and White

by Lee Wind (Author) Paul O Zelinsky (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Inspired by a true story, this is a tale of a community that banded together to spread light.

It’s a holiday season that both Isaac, whose family is Jewish, and Teresa, whose family is Christian, have looked forward to for months! They’ve been counting the days, playing in the snow, making cookies, drawing (Teresa) and writing poems (Isaac). They enjoy all the things they share, as well as the things that make them different.

But when Isaac’s window is smashed in the middle of the night, it seems like maybe not everyone appreciates “difference.”

Joy to the World!: Christmas Around the Globe

by Kate Depalma (Author) Sophie Fatus (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Explore Christmas traditions from 13 different countries!

Rhyming text and detailed illustrations make the book accessible to younger readers, while educational endnotes about the 13 celebrations add interest for older children. Gold ink and festive illustrations capture the joy of the season and make this book a beautiful gift in itself. Engaging and informative for anyone who wants to learn about the holiday.

Features Christmas traditions from: Ethiopia Colombia Australia Italy Serbia Mexico India Iceland Egypt Argentina Philippines Lebanon *Canada

Black-Eyed Peas and Hoghead Cheese: A Story of Food, Family, and Freedom

by Glenda Armand (Author) Steffi Walthall (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A little girl helping her grandmother prepare a holiday meal learns about the origins of soul food in this powerful picture book that celebrates African American cuisine and identity from an award-winning author. Know what I like most about Grandma’s kitchen? More than jambalaya? More than sweet potato pie? Even more than pralines? Grandma’s stories! Every meal Grandma cooks comes with a story. What will today’s story be? While visiting her grandma in Louisiana, nine-year-old Frances is excited to help prepare the New Year’s Day meal. She listens as Grandma tells stories–dating back to the Atlantic Slave Trade–about the food for their feast. Through these stories, Frances learns not only about the ingredients and the dishes they are making but about her ancestors and their history as well. A celebration of the stories that connect us, this picture book urges us to think about the foods we eat and why we eat them. This book was inspired by the author’s own childhood and includes her family’s very own recipe for pralines in the back!

The Shortest Day

by Susan Cooper (Author) Carson Ellis (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again.

Written for a theatrical production that has become a ritual in itself, Susan Cooper’s poem “The Shortest Day” captures the magic behind the returning of the light, the yearning for traditions that connect us with generations that have gone before — and the hope for peace that we carry into the future.

Richly illustrated by Carson Ellis with a universality that spans the centuries, this beautiful book evokes the joy and community found in the ongoing mystery of life when we celebrate light, thankfulness, and festivity at a time of rebirth. Welcome, Yule!

May Your Life Be Deliciosa

by Michael Genhart (Author) Loris Lora (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A delicious and fortifying picture book inspired by the author’s family, featuring the Mexican tradition of holiday tamale-making.

“What is the recipe?” I ask. Abuela laughs. “It is in my heart, Rosie. I use mis ojos, my eyes, to measure. Mis manos, my hands, to feel. Mi boca, my mouth, to taste. My abuela gave it to me, and I am giving it to you.”

Each year on Christmas Eve, Rosie’s abuela, mamá, tia, sister and cousins all gather together in Abuela’s kitchen to make tamales–cleaning corn husks, chopping onions and garlic, roasting chilis, kneading cornmeal dough, seasoning the filling and folding it all–and tell stories. Rosie learns from her abuela not only how to make a delicious tamale but how to make a delicious life, one filled with love, plenty of spice and family.

The Hanukkah Hunt

by Laura Gehl (Author) Aleksey Ivanov (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Series: Ruby Celebrates!

Ruby and her family celebrate Hanukkah in a brand-new way. Ruby’s cousin Avital is sad because her mom is going to be away on a work trip during Hanukkah. To help make sure Avital still has a happy holiday, Ruby plans an enormous eight-night treasure hunt. But will she be able to think up a good enough surprise for Avital to discover on the final night?

Christmas Is Coming: Traditions from Around the World

by Monika Utnik-Strugala (Author) Ewa Poklewska-Koziello (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

Why do we decorate Christmas trees? Do all children receive gifts on the same day?

Come find out as Monika Utnik-Strugala captures the smells, tastes and unforgettable traditions about the most popular, exciting, contemplative and unique Christmas customs and legends from around the world. Find out why celebrate Christmas on December 25, who invented the first glass ornament, why people build nativity scenes and more!

A truly international collection of legends and traditions are included in the volume, such as Glogg, Kutia, Lutefisk, Jansson’s Temptation, Julskinka, Bûche de Noël, Hallaca, Kourabiedes, Christmas Pudding, Panettone, Christmas carols, talking animals and The Nutcracker!

With the atmospheric illustrations by Ewa Poklewska-Koziello, this is an ideal companion for the Christmas season.

The Golden Dreidel

by Ellen Kushner (Author) Kevin Keeley (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

From award-winning fantasy author Ellen Kushner comes an unforgettable adventure inspired by Jewish folklore and tradition.

Sara wishes her family celebrated Christmas or at least had one of the pretty trees she sees at her friends’ houses. But at her family’s big Chanukah party, mysterious guest Tanta Miriam gives Sara a one-of-a-kind gift: an enormous, golden dreidel. Miriam warns her to be careful, for when she spins it, she’s spinning miracles. Sara soon discovers there’s much more to the dreidel than meets the eye, and before long, she’s spun herself into a whole new world–one of magical princesses, riddles and demons. Can Sara discover her wisdom and rely on her courage to help a new friend and to find her way back home? The perfect Chanukah read!

Celebrate with Me!: Recipes, Crafts, and Holiday Fun from Around the World

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

Curated from the kitchen tables of people around the world, a joy-filled collection of recipes and crafts that celebrates festivals and special holidays throughout the year.

Celebrate at the tables of artists, designers and chefs with this book that offers families the chance to share in a world of parties, festivals and holidays. Each spread features a different holiday and offers a step-by-step recipe, a craft activity, a personal story and different ways to observe the holiday. With contributions from chefs such as Erin Gleeson and Joanne Chang; artists and authors including Dow Phumiruk and Queenie Chan; and designers such as Marta Veludo and Juliet Sargeant, Celebrate with Me! brings together personal stories and parties from around the world in a unique and engaging way that is sure to delight children and their families.

What Do You Celebrate? Holidays and Festivals Around the World

by Whitney Stewart (Author) Christiane Engel (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

Across the globe, every country has its special holidays. From Brazilian carnival and Chinese New Year to France’s Bastille Day and our very own Fourth of July, What Do You Celebrate? presents 14 special occasions where people dance, dress up, eat yummy foods, and enjoy other fun traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. Kids can travel the globe and learn about Fastelavn, Purim, the Cherry Blossom Festival, Holi, Eid al-Fitr, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Guy Fawkes Day, the German Lantern Festival and more. Each spread showcases a different holiday, offering background and cultural context, vocabulary words, photographs and instructions for festive projects.

The People Remember

by Ibi Zoboi (Author) Loveis Wise (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

The People Remember tells the journey of African descendants in America by connecting their history to the seven principles of Kwanzaa. It begins in Africa, where people were taken from their homes and families. They spoke different languages and had different customs.

Yet they were bound and chained together and forced onto ships sailing into an unknown future. Ultimately, all these people had to learn one common language and create a culture that combined their memories of home with new traditions that enabled them to thrive in this new land.

Sumptuously illustrated, this is an important book to read as a family–a story young readers can visit over and over again to deepen their understanding of African American history in relation to their own lives and current social justice movements. By turns powerful and revealing, this is a lyrical narrative that tells the story of survival, as well as the many moments of joy, celebration and innovation of Black people in America.

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