Long Beach Public Library Foundation

Holiday Reading Recommendations from Long Beach Librarians

Picks for Families

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein 

A young boy grows to manhood and old age experiencing the love and generosity of a tree which gives to him without thought of return.

“I like this book because it reminds adults and children that the holidays are not just about the stores, getting gifts and Santa but about learning to give and to receive.”
– Debi Vilander, Bay Shore Library Senior Librarian

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel

Relates how Hershel outwits the goblins that haunt the old synagogue and prevent the village people from celebrating Hanukkah.

“The illustrations portray the goblins in all their scariness. A tale of courage and faith.”
– Pam Carlson, Children’s Librarian, Main Library

Santa Duck by David Milgrim

After Duck receives a mystery gift of a Santa hat, he puts it on and all the other animals bombard him with their wish lists despite his vehement denials that he is “Not Santa!!”

“I like to share this with kids because it is silly fun. Santa himself arrives at the end to thank Duck for his excellent help.”
– Pam Carlson, Children’s Librarian at Main Library

Top Elf by Caleb Huett

When Santa announces his retirement, a cutthroat competition of various challenges commences among the elves to choose his replacement.

“A mix of American Idol and Survivor for the Christmas season.”
– Pam Carlson, Children’s Librarian at Main Library

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal.

“The book explores the wonder and beauty of snowflakes with determination and passion.”
– Josephine Caron, Dana Library Senior Librarian

Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh

Thinking that “all of the other reindeer” she hears people singing about include her, Olive the dog reports to the North Pole to help Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

“One reason I am particularly fond of it, is because the first time a young patron asked me to find the book for her, I misunderstood also and was looking for a book titled, All of the Other Reindeer!
– Jennifer Songster, Mark Twain Senior Librarian

Pick for Adults

“The Night Before Christmas” by Nikolai Gogol (available in The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol, translated and annotated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky)

Written in 1831, this dark tale relates the adventures of Vakula, the blacksmith, in his fight against the devil, who has stolen the moon above the village of Dikanka and is wreaking havoc on its inhabitants, all to win the love of the most beautiful girl in town.
“It is a funny and charming story that captures the mood of a charming village on a cold, crisp Christmas Eve.

Carolers stroll singing for treats from the townspeople.The town is populated by a variety of important men made laughable by their weaknesses, a crowd of fierce housewives, and groups of laughing girls.

A humorous little folk tale – a departure from the norm.”
– Debi Vilander, Bay Shore Library Senior Librarian

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