Recently, I was discussing Christmas books with some other parents in a Facebook group. One mom was really struggling to find books that featured an African-American Santa Claus. Most of the books she found were out of print and hard to find. She was really hoping to show her children diverse representations of Santa, but there weren’t many to be found.
Let’s face it — most characters in children’s Christmas books are white. Christmas picture books featuring diverse characters, Santa or otherwise, are hard to find. However, representation matters, and it benefits all children to read diverse books.
I put this list together to help families who may be struggling to find diverse Christmas books at their local library or bookstore. I consider this to be a “living list,” and I hope that it will grow as new books are published. If there’s a book you love that I’ve missed, please leave a comment and let me know!
11 Diverse Christmas Books for Kids
The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll by Patricia C. McKissack — Set during the Depression, this book follows the story of Nella, who is hoping Santa will bring her a Baby Betty doll. But when the doll comes, she realizes that it’s not much fun when she doesn’t share her gift with her sisters.
When Christmas Feels Like Home by Gretchen Griffith — Eduardo has recently moved from Mexico to the United States, and he’s having a hard time adjusting to his new home. It takes the magic of Christmas to make the US feel more like a place where he can belong, and he learns that home is really wherever you can be with the people you love.
The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow — This gorgeous book re-tells The Nutcracker story with a jazzy feel. This version of the classic tale is set during the Harlem Renaissance, and is a great example of how a wonderful story can transcend time, place, and culture.
‘Twas Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield — Celebrate the night before Christmas with a Latino family in this rhyming picture book. This story takes the familiar rhythm of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and uses it to introduce Latino culture and traditions. This book and its illustrations are full of joy!
The Christmas Truck by J. B. Blankenship — This book is the only Christmas book I’ve found that features a family with two dads. It’s a lovely story about a family that comes together to help a child they’ve never met at Christmas time. They purchase a gift for a child on a “wish tree,” but when the gift is broken, they have to work together to make things right. The orientation of the parents in this story is not the focus in any way, but it’s an important detail that kids need to see.
A Piñata in a Pine Tree: A Latino Twelve Days of Christmas by Pat Mora — This fun book takes a familiar song and uses it to teach readers about Latino culture. I love this book because it introduces lots of Spanish words (with pronunciation guides) and includes a glossary.
Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou — I just love this poem, and I love this poem even more when it’s paired with beautiful illustrations. Angelou read this poem at the 2005 White House tree-lighting, and the accompanying illustrations tell the story of a family joining with others in their community of all races and religions to celebrate the holidays.
Grace at Christmas by Mary Hoffman — Grace absolutely loves Christmas! She loves being with family, acting out the Christmas story, and, of course, opening presents. When Grace learns family members from Trinidad will be visiting, she’s upset. She doesn’t want to share her favorite traditions with new people. Grace’s wise Nana helps her to see things from another perspective, so Grace is able to be generous on Christmas.
Everett Anderson’s Christmas Coming by Lucille Clifton — Everett Anderson can’t wait until Christmas comes to Apartment 14A. He loves everything about Christmas, but he’s looking forward to receiving a special gift most of all. I love the Everett Anderson books and wish they were easier to find!
Santa’s Kwanzaa by Garen Eileen Thompson — What does Santa do after Christmas is over? He goes back to the North Pole to celebrate Kwanzaa! This book is a great introduction to Kwanzaa, and is also perfect for families who celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas. (Check out some more of our favorite Kwanzaa books here.)
Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko — Sadie loves the holiday season, and she’s lucky enough to be able to celebrate two holidays every winter! The celebration in her home is a mix of Hanukkah and Christmas, and this lovely book shows how families can combine traditions to create something that is special and unique.
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