Favourites to Curl Up with this Holiday
Whether you’re looking for a fun holiday read-aloud to pass some time together before Christmas or a cozy wintery read to snuggle up together with over the school break, here are some of my favourite holiday/wintery read-alouds. Joyful, lighthearted, and just plain fun, these reads are the perfect escape for you and your littles (and not-so-littles).
Written by Tom Fletcher
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers
Definitely the most Christmasy read on this list that is super fast paced, reads much like a holiday film, full of heart, and just plain good fun. William Trundle’s greatest wish is for a dinosaur, so he is obviously thrilled when on Christmas Eve one shows up … the Christmasaurus! A raucous adventure follows as William helps the Christmasaurus return to Santa and The North Pole. Full of friends, family, elves, flying reindeer, love, and hope … this is one middle grade that will leave a guaranteed smile on your face!
Written by Ben Guterson
Published by Henry Holt & Co.
An excellent holiday smash up of magic, mystery, ghost stories and Christmas. It’s like if Nancy Drew went to a Harry Potteresque hotel over Christmastime where books are somewhat sentient, the food is magical and plentiful, the guests and hotel staff are family, and ghosts roam the halls determined to bring an end to it all. Elizabeth Somer lives with her cruel Aunt and Uncle after the death of her parents when she was young. Upon arriving home on the last day of school before Christmas break, Elizabeth finds her house locked, her Aunt & Uncle gone on holiday and a note on the door stating she is being sent off to the Winterhouse hotel.
Winterhouse turns out to be a marvellous magical hotel full of kind (and a few sinister) characters. She quickly befriends a fellow puzzle loving boy – Freddy – who has similarly been dropped off at Winterhouse to spend the Christmas holiday. This hotel is a never ending playground of fun things to do – lavish swimming pools, enchanted libraries, haunted portrait galleries, skiing, sledding, skating, and a constant supply of Flurschen (the unique candy produced by the hotel). But all old hotels hold secrets and soon Elizabeth and Freddy find themselves at the centre of a ghostly clue hunting expedition, trying to crack an elusive code hidden in a portrait and save the hotel from an evil ghost set on destroying the hotel … and its residents!
Full review HERE.
Written by Thomas Taylor
Published by Walker Books US
This creepy, misty, chilly, middle grade mystery adventure combines so many elements that I love in a middle grade that was just so much fun to read. Herbie Lemon is the official Lost-and-founder of the Grand Nautilus Hotel – a grand, old hotel that resides in the seaside tourist town of Eerie-on-Sea. It is his job to reunite lost objects with their owners. When Violet Parma unexpectedly crawls into his window one snowy night, insisting on his help locating her parents, Herbie must combine his talents of investigation and thorough knowledge of the strange little seaside town he calls home. As the investigation continues, oddities like an enchanted ruby egg belonging to the mysterious sea monster – the Malamander – turn up along with some characters of ill intent … a ghostly man with a hook for a hand and a dangerous enemy intent on stealing the egg that allegedly can grant wishes. An overall wild, adventurous ride; a no-brainer for those who enjoy middle grade reads that combine heart, mystery, magic and crazy imagination.
Full review HERE.
Astrid the Unstoppable
Written by Maria Parr
Published by Candlewick Press
This is one of my most treasured reads… Astrid lives in a remote Norwegian village where she reigns supreme as the only kid in the village. Her best friend, a 74 year old cantankerous man named Gunvold, has been keeping a big secret from her … one that will test their friendship greatly. When a new family with children arrive in town, along with a mysterious woman, Astrid’s world gets turned upside down … this time not of her doing! Astrid is a combination of Heidi, Anne Shirley and Pippi Longstocking with just as much spunk, bravery and humour as all three.
The Train to Impossible Places
Written by P.G. Bell
Published by Feiwel & Friends
For those who don’t celebrate Christmas or aren’t particularly into the whole “winter theme” (although there is a character trapped in a snow globe …) but still need an excellent read-aloud that will appeal to multiple ages, then this is for you. The Train to Impossible Places is often overlooked in middle grade read-aloud discussions, but is an absolute hoot! Full of fast paced narrative, quirky characters, magical trains, hidden realms … this illustrated middle grade has a bit for everyone.
When The Impossible Postal Express (a magical train run by trolls responsible for delivering mail to magical & nonmagical creatures from space to trollville to the bottom of the ocean) crashes into Suzy’s living room one night her world is completed flipped upside down. Sneaking onto the train she now finds herself Deputy Post Master charged with her first delivery from the evil Crepuscula … a talking frog in a snow globe who begs her to rescue him. Twists, turns, friends, and adventure await as the fate of the entire Union falls to Suzy to save!
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