Multicultural Winter Celebrations

Dear NCSA Families,

I hope that this finds you in warmth and good cheer as we begin to look towards the end of the year 2018.  In this week’s Reading Nook, I’ve shared books about some of the multicultural winter celebrations shared by families around this time of year.  I hope that you will look for these titles at our local library to read to your kids over the winter break from school.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to some students about going to the library, and I was surprised to find a few who said they have never been to one.  This time of year is perfect for a visit to the library. I always enjoy bringing books home, but I also enjoy reading while I’m there. I have fond memories of reading books in the window of the library where I grew up as the sun filtered in on a cold winter day.  Be sure to make some library memories for your children this winter season.


Angie DeFeyter

Winter Celebrations

Winter Candle by Jeron Ashford is a book that touches on many different winter celebrations connected by light in the darkest hours of the year covering community in a multicultural world.  In this story, a group of diverse neighbors shares a lump of wax that ends up uniting them all and lighting the way for a new neighbor.

Divali sometimes spelled Diwali

Lights for Gita by Rachna Gilmore a story about a recent immigrant who looks forward to celebrating Divali in her new home.  It seems that everything is going wrong moving towards the celebration when the power goes out and Gita’s home is the one shining in the darkness.  Gita reflects on the meaning of the holiday in her new home.

The Prince of Fire: The Story of Diwali by Jatinder Nath Verma a short chapter book version of the story The Ramayan

Saint Lucia Day

Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydaker.  A family shares excitement for getting ready for Lucia morning.  This book includes crafts, recipes, and background information about the holiday.

Lucia, Child of Light by Florence Ekstrand. A book for exploring how modern-day religious and secular traditions evolved from pagan folklore, legends and celebrations. The book also includes recipes, activities, and tips for celebrating St. Lucia Day.

Winter Solstice

The Shortest Day: Celebrating Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer a walk through nature on the shortest day of the year.  There are scientific facts about Solstice and astronomy with a history lesson about Solstice Celebrations.

The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren about a troll who helps keep everyone’s eyes on the coming of spring

A Solstice Tree for Jenny  by Karen Shragg.  Jenny‘s parents grew up celebrating different winter holidays and she feels lost around this time of year.  Jenny’s teacher shares Winter Solstice with Jenny and her family who fall in love with the celebration.


Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Karla Gudeon a book of poems one for each night of the festival of lights.

The Story of Hanukkah  by David A. Adler a clear straightforward account of the miracle in the Temple of Jerusalem with a look at how Hanukkah is celebrated today.

Las Posadas

The Night of Las Posadas , by Tomie de Paola, takes place in a small town outside of modern-day Santa Fe.  Big Sister, Angie, is excited about the celebration she is in charge of planning. When she comes down with the flu it takes a miracle to save the towns procession.

Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico  by Marie Hall Ets

Ceci is excited to choose a piñata for her first posadas celebration in Mexico. She chooses a Star of Bethlehem but she doesn’t want it to be broken! When it is smashed by the other children it opens and a lovely miracle happens as the sky fills with stars.



My First Kwanzaa Book by Deborah Chocolate, illustrated by Cal Massey. For those unfamiliar with Kwanzaa, this is a great place to start. The story shares the key aspects of the holiday as you read about a family preparing for the celebrations.

The Story of Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington From ancestors in Africa to slavery and the civil rights movement, the author explains the history leading up to the creation of Kwanzaa.

The Seven Days of Kwanzaa by Angela Shelf Medearis is a chapter book for older Elementary and Middle School children. It is a great resource that explains the holiday in detail and includes recipes, ideas for making homemade gifts, and stories of some inspirational African Americans.

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis More of a folktale than a story about Kwanzaa. The story focuses on how seven brothers learn to cooperate and invent a beautiful fabric that ends up inspiring the entire village.

New Year

Shanté Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport, illustrated by Marion Eldridge. Eating black-eyed peas at New Year’s is a southern tradition signifying good luck for the coming year. When Shanté goes out to her neighbors, looking for the peas, she learns all about how other cultures celebrate New Year’s.

Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller  Squirrel discovers what writing resolutions are about.

I’m in Charge of Celebrations by Byrd Baylor
This book has been a favorite of mine to share and a reminder to celebrate my own New Year.  The young girl in the desert shares about the joy of creating celebrations that matter to her.

Japanese New Year Omisoka

I was unable to find any books written about Omisoka.  Here is a link to information about the holiday, Website Welcoming the New Year, Kids World: Japanese New Year

Lunar New Year

Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a vibrant and joyful book to read for the Lunar New Year. As a family prepares for the celebrations the reader learns about activities and food traditions.

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn.  Sam is excited to be able to spend his lucky New Year money. On a trip through the neighborhood, he notices a homeless man. As he contemplates how to spend his money he becomes frustrated that the four dollars are never enough to buy what he wants. His mother reminds him to appreciate what he has. Sam finally understands how to spend his money.


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