Christmas stories for children often feature either Santa Claus or religious themes, but sometimes it’s nice to find a story that focuses more on the heartfelt sentiments of the season. Here are some lovely Christmas stories for children that celebrate the magic of the Christmas spirit…
One Christmas Eve – Corinne Fenton (Illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall)
Grandpa lives near Luna Park in Melbourne, and on Christmas Eve, decides to visit with his granddaughter Bella. At the gates, he gives her a shiny silver coin, and allows her to spend it on whatever she chooses. Although there are many interesting rides and games, Bella is drawn to the beautiful carousel, and decides to ride one of the horses. Before she knows it, she and her horse are soaring through the air, experiencing a magical adventure over Melbourne. They hear the carols coming from the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and follow the river winding through the city. They even end up flying alongside Santa and his reindeer! But before she knows it, the ride is over and Bella and Grandpa head for home. Will the magic of the night continue through to Christmas morning?
Natives to Melbourne will love seeing some of the landmarks of the city as they read through this sweet story. Even though it is set in Australia, this story doesn’t have any Aussie stereotypes, and is instead a beautifully illustrated heartfelt tale with sentiments that would be familiar to anyone who celebrates Christmas (albeit without the snow of a northern hemisphere Christmas).
Rating: 3.5/5 Published: November 2017
The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg (Read by Liam Neeson)
Although this story has Santa Claus at its centre, he is only a means to an end. The real star of this tale is the young boy who boards a mysterious train- bound for the North Pole- late one Christmas Eve. He and all the other children in their nightclothes meet Santa and his elves, and the boy is invited to choose whatever gift he desires. He modestly asks for one of the reindeer’s bells, but he doesn’t realise just how special his gift really is…
This classic story highlights the enchantment of Christmas, paying close attention to the differences between adults and children, and how they perceive the magic of the day. Already a major film starring Tom Hanks, this book can add further Hollywood credits to its name- it comes with an accompanying CD, which features the voice of none other than actor Liam Neeson, as he reads the story out loud. This is an enthralling story, and fans of the film are sure to enjoy reading the picture book that spawned it.
Rating: 3/5 Published: October 2017
The Christmasaurus – Tom Fletcher (Illustrated by Shane Devries)
William Trundle lives with his Christmas-loving dad in their lopsided little house, and he couldn’t be happier. Even though they don’t have a lot, he has the love of his dad (even if he does call him Willypoos), good friends, and an epic fascination with dinosaurs. But everything changes when he accidentally crosses the new girl at school, Brenda Payne. Suddenly the new girl at school becomes the meanest girl at school (and possibly in the world) and she starts to make William’s life a misery. As a result, William’s friends abandon him, and his one ‘disability’- the fact that he has a wheelchair- is made extremely obvious to him, casting a shadow over his life. Sensing his sadness, his dad tries to make William feel better, encouraging him to write his Christmas letter to Santa Claus. In it, he asks for the impossible (but it makes him feel better, anyway)- a dinosaur!
Meanwhile, at the North Pole, Santa and his elves are preparing for Christmas when they receive William’s letter. Santa decides to make a toy dinosaur for William which closely resembles their incredible friend and fellow North Pole co-habitant, Christmasaurus- whose amazing life story is told earlier on in the novel. But Christmasaurus is smitten with the toy (his new friend) and what ensues is a rollicking adventure across the North Pole and William’s town as Christmas day approaches. Add into the mix a nasty trophy hunter and his dog, some help from an unexpected source, and many magical plot twists and turns. This is sure to be one Christmas that William will never forget!
Funny and heartfelt, this is an entertaining story which young readers will love. The writing style is similar to that of David Walliams and Roald Dahl, and all of the characters are a treat- especially the horrible hunter and sweet William, who couldn’t be further from each other on the kindness spectrum. You’re guaranteed to love this novel!