The Center for Children's Books

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Holy Days and Holidays - November 2011

Selected and annotated by Tricia Dean

Vacation Holidays
Jewish Celebrations
More Holidays

Vacation Holidays

Horowitz, Dave. Duck Duck Moose; written and illus. by Dave Horowitz. Putnam, 2009 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Moose don’t migrate, but his friends the Ducks do. When his favorite pancake place closes for the season, Moose decides to go along for the ride. For the young, the young at heart, or anyone who’s gone on a long trip.

Crowley, Cath. A Little Wanting Song. Knopf, 2010. 266p. Gr. 7-10.
Quiet Charlie spends summers with her grandparents in a small town in Australia. Rose lives in the same small town and can’t wait to get out. They’ve generally ignored each other, but Rose befriends Charlie this year, and they help each other change their futures.

Green, John. Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances; by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. Speak/Penguin, 2008 352p. Gr. 7–10.
Winter storms provide the backdrop for these three tales of winter romance. A winter version of the beach read, a trio of lighter stories of young love and the misunderstandings that surround it.


Murphy, Jim. Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting. Scholastic, 2009. 116p. Gr. 4-7.
A very different view of Christmas, this book, based on historical fact, tells the story of a truce that broke out during the Christmas holiday in 1914, during the height of World War I. Boys who like war stories may appreciate this Christmas tale, from its beginning well before Christmas to the end of the war. Includes extensive notes, as well as drawings, photographs and a thorough index.

Ray, Mary Lyn. Christmas Farm; illus. by Barry Root. Harcourt, 2008. 40p. 5-8 yrs.
Wilma enlists her young neighbor Parker to plant trees for people who can’t cut Christmas trees from their own backyard. Charming and informational this takes place over several years, and describes the life-cycle of a Christmas tree. Author’s note at the back goes into further detail on the history of Christmas trees.

Recorvits, Helen. Yoon and the Christmas Mitten; illus. by Gabi Swiatkowska. Foster/Farrar, 2006. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Yoon is new to America and the teacher tells her about Santa Claus and presents. Yoon’s family is traditional Korean and they insist that Christmas is not part of their tradition. Yoon is well pleased with the compromise that her parents come up with, and brings her holiday traditions to school to share with her classmates.

Reiss, Mike. Merry Un-Christmas; illus. by David Catrow. HarperCollins, 2006. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Some children wish for the holidays to never end; this cute story imagines just such a place. When it is Christmas every day, Noelle is bored with presents, even ponies. Noelle looks forward to the once a year Un-Christmas, when the mailman visits and children are allowed to attend school. Younger children will appreciate the role reversal.

Jewish Celebrations

Baskin, Nora Raleigh. The Truth about My Bat Mitzvah. Simon, 2008. 138p. Gr. 5-8.
Caroline doesn’t think much about being Jewish until her beloved grandmother dies, leaving Caroline her Star of David. Caroline’s friend Rachel is studying for her bat mitzvah, which causes Caroline to question her history and her identity. Includes short glossary of Jewish terms.

da Costa, Deborah. Hanukkah Moon; illus. by Gosia Mosz. Kar-Ben, 2007. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Isobel isn’t sure her Aunt Luisa, who has recently moved from Mexico, knows how to properly celebrate Hanukkah. Not only does Aunt Luisa know how to celebrate Hanukkah, she shows Isobel the Hanukkah Moon. A short glossary with Hebrew and Spanish words is included as well as a historical note prior to the text beginning.

O'Connell, Rebecca. Penina Levine Is a Hard-Boiled Egg; illus. by Majella Lue Sue. Brodie/Roaring Brook, 2007. 164p. Gr. 4-6.
Penina is Jewish and doesn’t think it’s fair that her teacher wants her to write a letter from the Easter bunny. Penina struggles with her younger sister as well as issues at school. When her parents are finally aware of what has been going on, there is a call to the principal and everyone gets a lesson in tolerance and understanding.

Weber, Elka. The Yankee at the Seder; illus. by Adam Gustavson. Tricycle, 2009. 40p. 7-10 yrs.
Jacob is disappointed that the Civil War is over, and sorry that the Yankees won. Imagine his surprise when a Yankee appears at his doorstep and is invited in for Seder. Dinner is strained initially, but shared religion triumphs. Based on a real story, the real story and a page on passover are at the end of the book.

More Holidays

Loomis, Christine. The Best Father's Day Present Ever; illus. by Pam Paparone. Putnam, 2007. 32p. 5-8 yrs.
Langley Snail wants to find a perfect present for his father for Father’s Day, but the store is closed by the time he gets there. Langley doesn’t want to make another disastrous craft. With some thought and a little observation, he comes up with a present which he and his father both enjoy and appreciate.

Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux. Juneteenth; by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Drew Nelson; illus. by Mark Schroder. Millbrook, 2006. 48p. Gr. 1-3.
A celebration of June 19th (June-teenth), 1865, the day the message of freedom reached Texas slaves. This uniquely American holiday was made a Texas state holiday in 1980, but is celebrated widely in the US. Notes on Freedom Days, as well as a Freedom Song and short glossary of new terms are included.

Willard, Eliza. Totally Crushed. Scholastic, 2008. 160p. Gr. 5-7.
Annabel is excited to get a flower for Valentine’s Day. Unfortunately, it’s from Sam, who’s a guy, but really just a friend - and the guy her best friend, Phoebe, really likes. Everything ends well, but there are miscommunications a-plenty before things become clear to all.