Roaring Reads is all about celebrating Scottish books for children, so that’s what we’re doing with this list of our favourite Christmas picture book stories (click here for suggestions for older kids). If you’re looking to support Scottish authors and publishers this season, we hope our suggestions appeal – and if you know of any crackers that were missed, do let us know!
We’ve used the same criteria that we apply to our booky advent calendar. Not every book listed is ringing with jingle bells, but if there’s a sprinkling of snow, or it makes us feel like curling up with a candy cane and a hot chocolate, that’s festive enough for us!
Nip Nebs, by Susi Briggs and Ruthie Redden (Curly Tale): The icicles almost leap from the page in this sparkling Scots tale. Great fun to read out loud.
Dear Santasaur, by Chae Strathie (Scholastic): Dinosaurs and Christmas are a killer combination. Stir in Strathie’s trademark humour and O’Byrne’s cheerful, engaging illustrations and you have a recipe for ‘Again! Again!’
The Girl Who Stole the Stars, by Corrina Campbel (Little Door): a little girl makes an extraordinary Christmas wish, but there are unforseen consequences when it comes true. A beautiful and joyful debut. (Full review here).
The Star in the Forest, by Helen Kellock (Thames and Hudson): A magical story about two sisters and a fallen star. This was our favourite picture book debut of 2019. (Full review here).
A Wee Bird was Watching, by Karine Polwart and Kate Leiper (Birlinn): a rich and touching story about how the robin got his red breast, this feels like a folk tale – it is both timeless and relevant. (Full review here).
The Fairy in the Kettle’s Christmas Wish, by Pauline Tait and Debbie Bellaby: Leona returns for a Christmas Eve adventure in snowy Bramble Glen. A charming story that will delight little fairy fans.
It’s a no Money Day, by Kate Milner (Barrington Stoke): a day in the life of a small child visiting a food bank, this isn’t a Christmas book, but it is an important one – a gentle and illuminating way to introduce a conversation about poverty at a time when so many are struggling. (Full review here).
Iris and Isaac, by Catherine Rayner (Little Tiger Press): Christmas isn’t Christmas without a good polar bear story, and Catherine Rayner’s book about friendship is a simple, elegant classic.