Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Theme: Holidays and Celebrations

A Child’s Christmas in Wales - (ISBN: 0460027727 )

by Dylan Thomas

The famous Welsh poet shares memories of his childhood in this beautifully-done classic holiday story that appeals to all international children. For a special treat, instead of reading together, listen to this collection of 6 holiday reminiscences read by Dylan Thomas himself in his elegant Welsh accent. Talk to your family about how your own Christmas memories differ from those of Thomas.

Holiday Princess: A Princess Diaries Book - (ISBN: 0060754346)

by Meg Cabot

In the ever popular Princess Diaries series, Holiday Princess follows our heroine as she wryly comments on several important holidays and their customs with humor and wit. This is the ultimate light holiday book for those tired of the normal traditional fare.

Holidays of the World Cookbook for Students - (ISBN: 0897748840 )

by Lois Sinaiko Webb

Covering recipes, crafts, and festivals for 136 countries, this delightful cookbook arranges its recipes by the continents of the world. Readers find less well-known recipes and also learn about the different calendars used around the world. Even recipes from the US are divided by cultural regions. Try foreign as well as American regional dishes as your family reads the pages.

Premlata and the Festival of Lights - (ISBN: 0064420914 )

by Rumer Godden

A poor Indian girl, Premlata, is determined to help her family obtain the special oil lamps necessary for their celebration of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. Although she has saved a little money to buy some, she is awestruck by the celebration fair and wastes her hoarded money. Fortunately, she is rescued by a kindly landlord, and the family is able to enjoy the traditional holiday. Read this and learn about a new culture and its festivities.

The Last Holiday Concert - (ISBN: 0689845251)

by Andrew Clements

What happens when a sixth grader becomes responsible for the school chorus after shooting rubber bands at and disabling his choral teacher? He helps transform a boring instructor into someone who can understand how to teach so the children can learn from him. As the instructor observes how to get more from the children he instructs, the chorus prepares to present an awesome holiday concert.

The Legend of Holly Claus - (ISBN: 0060585145 )

by Brittney Ryan

As an excellent choice for a family read aloud book, try a chapter a night in the month before the Christmas holidays. Learn about Santa’s daughter Holly and her encounters with evil wizards and benevolent saviors as she labors in a factory, making dolls for Christmas. If your family enjoys reading this together, try other items in the Julie Andrews collection of children’s books.

The Power of Light: Eight Stories for Hanukkah - (ISBN: 0374459843 )

by Isaac Bashevis Singer

The theme of light connects these stories of one family’s Hanukkah celebrations, one for each night of the week long holiday. Written in simple clear language, the tales tap the heart of family gatherings no matter what the faith of the readers. Families will enjoy other children’s books by this Nobel-prize winning author.

Activities for this Theme

Take the time to prepare some yummy holiday goodies together with your children.


Learn to fold napkins into candles for your holiday tables.


Make your own simple musical instruments to share at a holiday get-together.


Try this Christmas Around the World webquest together: