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The Nativity: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about the Nativity?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to the Nativity. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about the Nativity.

Our list includes board books and picture books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about the Nativity, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale to popular sellers like Great Joy to some of our favorite hidden gems like Who Is Coming to Our House?.

We hope this list of kids books about the Nativity can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book!

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The Nativity
Written by & illustrated by Julie Vivas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

The biblical story of the Nativity is one about faith, love–and a miracle. With illustrations that are enchanting and unexpected, Julie Vivas reveals the human side to Mary’s story, beautifully imagining the Angel Gabriel delivering the news to her, the exhausting journey with Joseph to Bethlehem, and at last the deliverance of the baby Jesus.

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Refuge
Written by Anne Booth & illustrated by Sam Usher
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A timely rendition of the nativity follows Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus as they travel in a strange land, hoping to find refuge in the kindness of strangers. $1 from the sale of each print book sold until October 2017 will go to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. Everyone knows the story of how Jesus was humbly born in a manger when was no room at the inn. But here is a lyrical depiction of what came next: the new family’s travels through the desert, fleeing Herod’s soldiers in order to find a safe place to welcome their son into the world. A refreshing look at the classic Christmas story that’s never been more relevant, Refuge asks readers to consider the modern day implications of being forced to flee your home country.

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Great Joy
Written by Kate DiCamillo & illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It is just before Christmas when an organ grinder and monkey appear on the street outside Frances’s apartment. When it’s quiet she can hear their music, and when she looks out her window at midnight, she sees them sleeping outside. Finally the day of the Christmas pageant arrives, but when it’s Frances’s turn to speak, all she can think about is the organ grinder’s sad eyes—until a door opens just in time, and she finds the perfect words to share. With this luminous tale, Kate DiCamillo pairs with Bagram Ibatoulline to offer a timeless holiday gift.

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The Night of His Birth
Written by Katherine Paterson & illustrated by Lisa Aisato
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Sing out, my soul, the wonder . . .

Mary’s baby has arrived, and she can’t contain her joy! As Joseph sleeps, she examines her newborn’s tiny mouth, his wild hair, his little hands. Yet what’s most wondrous is that this child is not just Mary’s own but a gift that God has shared with everyone.

Poetic text by Newbery Medalist Katherine Paterson and striking images by Lisa Aisato reveal the intimacy of that unforgettable night long ago, when the mother of Jesus was the first to welcome him into a world he would change forever.

The Night of His Birth is a Junior Library Guild Selection.

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Wombat Divine
Written by Mem Fox & illustrated by Kerry Argent
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Wombat loves everything about Christmas–especially the Nativity play. He’s wanted to be in it for as long as he can remember. At last he’s old enough to try out. But at the auditions, the first part goes to someone else. So does the next. And the next . . . Will there be a part left for Wombat?

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  • Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale - That cold winter’s night, beneath the star’s light… …a Little One came for the world.

  • Christmas in the Manger - The gentle beauty of the story of the first Christmas is now available as a board book. With a simple, lyrical text and radiant artwork, this book is perfect for the youngest child to be a part of the wonder of the Nativity.

  • Who Is Coming to Our House? - A modern Christmas classic about how the animals prepare a cozy welcome for the baby Jesus. “Who is coming to our house? Someone, someone,” says Mouse. As Pig makes room, Lamb cleans up, Goose stacks the hay, and Duck lines the crib with eiderdown, Mary and Joseph are on their way by donkey. All the animals are eager to welcome the baby Jesus to their home.

  • The First Christmas Night - A lyrical retelling of the birth of Christ, told as an adaptation of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” follows the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds and the visit by the Wise Men.

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Star Bright
Written by Alison McGhee & illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This perfectly angelic—and perfectly charming—Christmas story offers a creative twist on the classic tale of the nativity, from the #1 New York Times bestselling creators of Someday. The angels are aflutter: a baby is soon to be born! One small angel can tell this baby is especially special by the way the other angels are dashing and fussing about. And holy moly, are their presents extraordinary. The little angel wants to give a present too, but, what could she possibly offer that is as worthy as the others’ gifts? At a loss for original ideas, she peeks over the side of her platform and spies something going on in the desert—a caravan of kings on camels, lost in the dark. And suddenly she knows she must do something, and does the only thing she can. Because the greatest gift of all? It can’t be wrapped. It can’t be bought. It can only be selflessly, joyfully given. And it ends up being the perfect gift for that little baby…the shiningest gift at all.

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King and the Gifts of Gold
Written by Georg Dreissig & illustrated by Maren Briswalter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

There was once a powerful king so rich that he was known as the King of Gold. The king took his riches for granted until one day a wondrous star appeared and he was inspired to follow it into the desert. In the small town of Bethlehem, the king bowed to the baby Jesus, the greatest king of all, and offered to him a gift of gold.

The king was forever changed by his encounter with the Christ child and vowed to give away all his gold to the poor. But not everyone was happy. Determined to keep the riches for themselves, the king�s servants abandon him in the desert. The king becomes a poor storyteller, wandering through towns and villages, dedicating his life to sharing the story of the child king Jesus.

But when he finally arrives back in his own kingdom, what will he find?

This is the inspiring story of Melchior, one of the three kings who took gifts to the baby Jesus. Written for children and illustrated with Maren Briswalter�s gentle, detailed drawings of the Holy Land, it shows how true wealth comes not from what we own, but from how we serve God and share what we have.

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The Gifts They Gave
Written & illustrated by Patricia Eubank
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

A gently illustrated adaptation of a beloved Christmas song depicts the baby Jesus in the manger surrounded by a flock of admiring animals who impart their own special gifts, from sheep who donate wool for a warm blanket to doves that coo a lullaby.

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Nativity
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A simple re-telling of the nativity story receives a strikingly handsome treatment, as special as Christmas itself. Every one of the six gilded and gloriously illustrated panoramas offers exquisitely crafted paperwork with windows that burst open to reveal such delicate, moving scenes as the Angel Gabriel attending Mary, the Holy Family in the manger, and the Three Wise Men worshipping the baby Jesus. This timeless portrayal will once again become a necessary adornment under every tree.

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Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas (Children's)
Written by Emily Belle Freeman and David Butler & illustrated by Ryan Jeppesen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

This is a children’s picture book edition of the best-selling adult book of the same title. Using illustrations and age-appropriate text, this children’s edition features passages of scripture along with original text to tell the story of the birth of Jesus and provides ideas for family traditions that young children can understand to make the holiday more Christ-centered. Each spread uses one person from the nativity story to illustrate a theme and suggests one activity a child can do to remember the lesson learned from that character.

For example, the story introduces Mary and talks about the search for an inn where she could stay with Joseph and give birth to her baby. The book then presents a question for the child to ponder–“How could you make room for the baby Jesus as part of your Christmas celebration this year?”–and an activity to do–“Place an empty stable somewhere in your home where you can see it every day until Christmas.”

Combining the biblical version told by Luke and Matthew with a beautiful story line and wonderfully charming, full-color illustrations, this book will help make Christ the focus of your celebrations this year.

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  • The Birds of Bethlehem - A perfect first Christmas book This inventive and fresh Nativity story is told from a bird’s-eye view. On the morning of the first Christmas, the birds of Bethlehem gather in the fields–not only to eat but to share the exciting news. People from all over have descended on Bethlehem and an angel has appeared in the night sky. Something extraordinary is coming! The birds agree that they must find this wondrous thing, and off they fly to the stable where a child has been born. In simple language and dazzling pictures, beloved author-illustrator Tomie dePaola shares the awe and anticipation of the first Christmas. His cast of brightly colored, curious birds will appeal to young children, making this a perfect introduction to the story of Christmas.

  • First Christmas - …an unusual presentation of the Christmas story, whose most obvious use would be in a Christmas display or in a holiday story hour. – School Library Journal

  • Humphrey's First Christmas - Humphrey the camel is only interested in one thing – getting his carpet blanket back. As he journeys with the Wise Men to Bethlehem, Humphrey bemoans his lost blanket until he finally gets a new one. But when the caravan arrives and Humphrey sees baby Jesus shivering, he gives the child his new blanket without a second thought. Full of rich acrylic paintings, humor, and heart, this board book edition of Carol Heyer’s bestseller will swiftly become a cherished favorite with little ones.

  • Christmas Story - Share the true meaning of Christmas with your children this holiday season. This simple but poetic text brings to life the story of Jesus' birth in a stable in Bethlehem.

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Mary's Little Donkey
Written by Gunhild Sehlin & illustrated by Helene Muller
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

“Muller’s richly detailed illustrations emphasize Mary’s humility and serenity.”-Publisher’s Weekly A long time ago in the Holy Land lived a scruffy little donkey who hated hard work. And then he met gentle, kind Mary, and his world changed forever. When Mary and Joseph have to travel the long journey to Bethlehem, who can they rely on to get them there safely? This is a unique version of the traditional nativity story, told from the child-friendly perspective of the little donkey, who grows in confidence and pride as Mary and Joseph place their trust in him. The story ends with the wonder of the birth of Jesus, and the little donkey’s promise to keep looking after his new family. Adapted for younger children from Gunhild Sehlin’s classic chapter book, this Christmas story is sumptuously illustrated by Hélène Muller, with marvellous details of the Holy Land.

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'Twas the Evening of Christmas
Written by Glenys Nellist
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Create a new family Advent tradition with a Christmas rhyming storybook that echoes familiar language and rhythm of Clement Moore's poetry but focuses on the birth of Jesus. With classic illustrations by Elena Selivanova, bestselling author Glenys Nellist shares the heartwarming nativity story.

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Goodnight, Manger
Written by & illustrated by Jane Chapman
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

With sweet, rhyming text and illustrations by bestselling illustrator Jane Chapman, this sturdy board book edition of Goodnight, Manger offers a unique twist on the classic Christmas tale for the littlest readers, creatively weaving together comforting and familiar bedtime routines with the special magic and wonder of the manger story as Mary and Joseph try to lull baby Jesus asleep inside the noisy stable.

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Mortimer's Christmas Manger
Written by Karma Wilson & illustrated by Jane Chapman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
A holiday story to be cherished by families everywhere
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Story of the Three Wise Kings
Written & illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Tomie dePaola's beloved 1983 classic returns to print just in time for the holiday season!
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  • Birthday Party for Jesus: God Gave Us Christmas to Celebrate His Birth - Teaches young children to enjoy Christmas by celebrating Jesus! Warm, endearing animal illustrations will entice pre-readers and early readers and inspire their imagination. Reinforces Christian values in a non-judgmental and non-threatening way

  • The Story of Christmas - Pamela Dalton’s exquisite, intricate scissor-cut illustrations wonderfully illuminate <i>The Story of Christmas</i>. Deeply reverent, richly detailed, and teeming with life, Dalton’s images follow the story of the Nativity from the appearance of the Angel, to the shepherds who came from the fields, and to the three wise men who followed the star to pay respect for their new king. Working in a Pennsylvania-German folk-art tradition, rich with lovingly rendered animals and figures, Pamela Dalton has created a book that takes a deserved place among the finest celebrations of Christmas.

  • An Angel Came to Nazareth - As the first Christmas draws near, four travelers must make their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. An angel asks four animals to choose which traveler they would like to carry. The horse chooses the brave soldier; the camel, the wise king; the ox, the good Samaritan. But the donkey, who chooses the poor woman with child, discovers that his humble-looking passenger is the one carrying the greatest of them all. With its simple rhymes, lavish illustrations and eye-catching foil throughout, this book conveys the very special spirit of the Christmas season.

  • Christmas Is Here - And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” <p/>Audiences from religious and secular worlds alike are familiar with the comforting words from the second chapter of Luke in the King James Bible, most memorably featured in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Just as Linus reminded his community of the real meaning of Christmas, this touching tribute to an ancient text reminds us to focus on family and our fellow man instead of on gifts and indulgences. Accompanying the timeless, reassuring text is sweet, nostalgic artwork from acclaimed illustrator Lauren Castillo that embraces today’s ever-changing definition of family.

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Drummer Boy
Written & illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

In a wintry little town, a drummer boy appears on a child’s doorstep. And when it is still and quiet, the drummer boy plays, boom pum pum boom pum, and warms the child’s heart. But one day the drummer boy is accidentally knocked into the trash, sending him on a journey he never imagined–a journey on which he continues to play his drum, warming the hearts of others, from a rat to an owl to a snowman. And in a touching conclusion, his own heart is warmed as he plays to his most perfect audience: the baby in a manger.

Loren Long brings this story of an unforgettable little drummer boy to vivid life with his timeless and magical art.

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Christmas Cat
Written by Maryann Macdonald & illustrated by Amy Bates
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A cozy Nativity story for those who love Christmas and cats.

All babies are beautiful and all babies cry. Jesus was no exception. On the night he was born, nothing Mary, Joseph, or the animals in the stable could do would comfort him. But when a curious kitten wanted its turn to calm the baby Jesus, a loving friendship blossomed on that very first Christmas.

This perfect read-aloud was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings of La Madonna del Gatto, which show Mary lovingly holding the baby Jesus who is cuddling a cat.

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Christmas Mouseling
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-
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One Night in Bethlehem
Written by Jill Roman Lord
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
One Night in Bethlehem draws on a child's imagination and his senses in this beautiful touch-and-feel board book. A young boy carefully considers what he might have done if he were present on the night of Jesus' birth. He sings with the angels in the sky, becomes a spotted cow at the nativity scene, and alongside the Wise Men, he offers his precious teddy bear as a gift. Colorful artwork and a variety of textures allow young children to see and feel the events of the first Christmas.
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God Is with Us
Written by Amy Parker & illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Little ones are sure to find comfort that God is always with them in this charming holiday-themed book in a brand-new series by bestselling author Amy Parker.
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  • There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve - There was no snow on Christmas Eve. Instead, a desert zephyr blew And palm fronds sang a rustling tune To welcome the awaited birth. There was no snow, no fireplace, no need for woolen caps and gloves on that very first Christmas. Instead there was a humble stable, and weary travelers with light robes and sandals on a desert night.

  • The Gifts of the Animals: A Christmas Tale - The gentle beasts of sky and earth prepare their stable for Christ’s birth. With a beautiful narrative by author and poet Carole Gerber and stunning and intricate art by renowned Japanese artist Yumi Shimokawara comes one of the most anticipated Christmas gift books ever published. TheGift of the Animals shares the miraculous offerings the humble animals in the manger gave to the baby Jesus. The birds on the roof of the lowly shed prepare a pillow for His head, with feathers pulled from downy breasts . . . mice carry them to where He’ll rest. Celebrating the Savior’s birth, this full-color, gold-embossed hardcover is must-have addition to a family’s Christmas library and Christmas Eve traditions.

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