Winter Reading List: Alexandra Alessandri

We’re super-duper excited to present to you yet another interesting reading list by Alexandra Alessandri, one of our favorite authors whose book we loved reading this year, and wrote about it here.

Alexandra Alessandri is the Colombian-American author of Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! (Albert Whitman, 2020) and the forthcoming Isabel and Her Colores go to School (Sleeping Bear Press, 2021). She is an Associate Professor of English at Broward College and lives in Florida with her husband and son. For more about Alexandra and her books, visit her at alexandraalessandri.com.

We’re so glad she took time out of her busy schedule to do this guest post for readers of Kiddingly. If you liked her recommendations, please spread the word by sharing this post.


December is a special month for me. In Colombia, where my family is from, we get quite festive this month, and it’s one of the inspirations for my debut picture book, Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! about a shy little girl meeting her large, extended family against the backdrop of Colombian New Year’s Eve traditions. 

I always love finding books that celebrate winter holidays. Here are a few of my favorite that would make wonderful gifts for budding readers!

Too Many Tamales 

written by Gary Soto, 

illustrated by Ed Martinez
Puffin Books, 1996

Book Description: When Maria loses her mother’s ring in the tamales, she and her cousins have to “eat their way out of trouble.”

What I love about it: I adored the themes of forgiveness in this sweet (and funny!) story, but I also loved seeing Christmas preparations that reminded me of my own family and my own cousins. 

Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas

written by Pamela Ehrenberh,
illustrated by Anjan Sarkar
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr), 2017

Book Description: “In this sweet and humorous picture book…a multi-cultural family (Mom’s Indian; Dad’s Jewish) celebrate Hanukkah while incorporating traditional Indian food.”

What I love about it: I loved the depiction of the bicultural family celebrating Hanukkah with Indian foods. Kids in families that celebrate two cultures or different holidays will feel particularly seen! And, it’s a such a sweet story about family. 

Snow Globe Wishes

by Erin Dealey, illustrated by Claire Shorrock
Sleeping Bear Press, 2019

Book description: “As the worst snowstorm of the year rolls in, one family hunkers down together in a cozy blanket fort for the night…[Snow Globe Wishes is a] lyrical holiday story about wishes and community and snow–lots and lots of snow.”

What I love about it: This is a winter wonderland of a book, written in lovely verse. It’s sweet and hopeful, which are very much needed right now. The illustrations are also so lovely, reminiscent of the perfect wintery snow day. 

 A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas 

Written by Pat Mora, 

illustrated by Magaly Morales

Clarion Books, 2009

Book description: “A festive Latino twist on “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” populating it with piñatas in place of partridges, plus burritos bailando (dancing donkeys), lunitas cantando (singing moons), and much more, all displayed in the most vivid colors imaginable.”

What I love about it: This is such a fun read aloud that captures some traditional Latinx elements with a familiar song. It’s hard not to read it without singing it in the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The illustrations are fun and festive, too. 

Hanukkah Hamster

written by Michelle Markel,
illustrated by André Ceolin
Sleeping Bear Press, 2018

Book description: Edgar, a cabdriver who is missing his family in Israel, finds a hamster in his cab, and this little hamster becomes Edgar’s unlikely companion as he begins Hanukkah.

What I love about it: It’s sweet and tender and hopeful. One can’t help but feel Edgar’s loneliness and the joy he gets from taking care of Chickpea the hamster. It’s particularly poignant this 2020 holiday season.

There are so many other wonderful books out there, and these are only a handful of the ones I love. What are some of your favorite holiday books?


What a wonderful list, isn’t it? Do give these books a try and let us know if you liked them. These books are best suited for kids below 8 years age group.

And in case you’re looking for some Christmas doodle ideas, we have recently done tutorials on Christmas Tree and Reindeer. You can find the full resolution images of these at our Creative Corner.

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Read every day, doodle every day.

And keep the boredom away 🙂

Cheers,

Kiddingly.

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