Five Picture Book Journeys for Christmas Giving

Picture books make great Christmas gifts. All of these books include someone who has made or is making a journey—through space, through time, over land, on the water, or in their imagination. Which one suits your young reader best?

1. When Christmas Feels Like Home by Gretchen Griffith, illustrated by Carolina Farias.

Young Eduardo has moved to a new home and goes to a school where his language isn’t the norm and the customs are different. Even the landscape brings new surprises. His parents help him make the transition, promising that this new place will feel like home by the time they open the Christmas box. Filled with colorful illustrations, the book gently introduces young readers to the challenges newcomers face. The perfect gift to help a child on the move adjust. (Albert Whitman & Company)

2. Journey by Aaron Becker

This one had to make the list, right? But its merits go beyond the title. A young girl, bored and lonely, uses a red marker to draw herself into the world of her imagination. Reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon, the illustrations in this wordless book are more lavish, with a touch of steampunk, as the girl travels through other worlds that look something like Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Great for young adventurers. (Candlewick Press)

3. Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner

Anyone who has seen Wiesner’s earlier book Flotsam knows that he has a brilliant and engaging imagination. Mr. Wuffles is a cat. Generally uninterested in the usual cat toys, he is suddenly absorbed by the activities of some tiny aliens who have invaded the house. Filled with color and humor (but not many words), this book should hold lots of entertainment for the space cadets in your house. (Clarion)

4. The Boy and the Whale by Michael Moniz

A lonely boy finds a lifelong friend after showing an enormous whale an act of kindness in this quiet, simple story. Filled with watercolor paintings of the sea and its creatures, it reads more like a fable than realistic fiction. Good for quiet dreamers and whale lovers alike. (Simply Read Books)

5. The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman

In case you missed the Banner review by Jenny deGroot a couple of weeks ago, this book is a journey through family history as a grandfather tells his granddaughter the story behind each item in his diary. (Candlewick Press)

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