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Festive Reads for Christmas 2018 (8-12 and 12+)

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Ho ho ho! As the festive season comes closer, here are our favourite Christmas stories that are perfect for the coming magical nights. From a story about how Father Christmas became Father Christmas to classic Enid Blyton tales, there is a book for everyone to enjoy this festive month.
[Christmas books round-up for 0-5 and 5-8]


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown, by Jeff Kinney, published by Puffin

The must-have book on millions of children’s Christmas list this year. The hilarity continues in the thirteenth book in the series by Jeff Kinney. And the chilly theme makes it the perfect seasonal read for winter!

When snow shuts down Greg Heffley’s school, his neighbourhood transforms into a wintry battlefield. Rival groups fight over territory, build massive snow forts, and stage epic snowball fights. It’s a fight for survival as Greg and Rowley navigate alliances, betrayals, and warring gangs in a neighbourhood meltdown. When the snow clears, will Greg and Rowley emerge as heroes? Or will they even survive to see another day?

A Boy Called ChristmasThe Girl Who Saved Christmas and Father Christmas and Me, by Matt Haig, by Canongate

A Boy Called Christmas is the first in Matt Haig’s Christmas series and tells the true story of Father Christmas, from when he was just a boy. It will delight young readers and parents alike with a new, fun perspective on everyone’s favourite Christmas character!

The second in this charming series, The Girl Who Saved Christmas, is a journey to the edge of magic. It is Christmas Eve and all is not well. Amelia Wishart is trapped and Father Christmas must find her in time to stop the magic fading and save Christmas! But Amelia isn’t just an ordinary girl. If Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

Father Christmas and Me is the final showdown for Amelia, Father Christmas and the people who live in the magical town of Elfhelm. When the very jealous Easter Bunny launches an attack to ruin Christmas, it’s up to Amelia, her family and the elves to fight off the forces of evil. But can they keep Christmas alive?

Download the Christmas pack for festive activities
Access extracts and audio clips here

Hamish and the Terrible Terrible Christmas, written by Danny Wallace, illustrated by Jamie Littler, published by Simon & Schuster

Tis the season to be jolly, but will this turn out to be a TERRIBLE Christmas for Starkley? The important task of saving the world doesn’t stop just because it’s Christmas, so get ready for THREE festive adventures featuring Hamish Ellerby and his pals in the PDF! Can Hamish stop a whole hoard of rampaging Terribles hoping to ruin Christmas? How will Elliot deal with a sneaky sweet salesmen determined to give Starkley a sugar-crash to remember? And, what will Alice do when faced with an unexpected Christmas Eve visitor?

The Nights Before Christmas, by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Julia Sarda, published by Andersen Press

This gorgeous Christmas book is the perfect keepsake gift to treasure. Fully illustrated in colour by acclaimed illustrator Tony Ross.


Winter Stories, by Enid Blyton, published by Hachette Children’s Group

Snuggle down with this heart-warming collection of classic tales, celebrating the magic and excitement of winter. These fun, entertaining stories are ideal for newly confident readers and are the perfect length for reading aloud at bedtime or in the classroom.


The Train to Impossible Places, by P.G. Bell, illustrated by Flavia Sorrentino, published by Usborne

All aboard for a magical journey…

When Suzy hears a strange rattling noise in the middle of the night, she creeps downstairs to find a train roaring through her house. But this is no ordinary train. This is the magical delivery express for The Union of Impossible Places.

Whisked onboard by a troll boy called Wilmot, Suzy’s world is turned upside down when she’s given the job of delivering a cursed package to the fearsome sorceress, Lady Crepuscula. Except when the mysterious package begs not to be delivered, Suzy discovers the fate of the Impossible Places might just be in her hands…

The Wolf Princess, by Cathryn Constable, published by Chicken House

On a school trip to Russia, Sophie and her two friends find themselves on the wrong train. They are rescued by the beautiful Princess Anna Volkonskaya, who takes them to her winter palace and mesmerises them with stories of lost diamonds and a tragic past. But as night falls and wolves prowl, Sophie discovers more than dreams in the crumbling palace of secrets …

Click here to read an extract

The Night I Met Father Christmas, written by Ben Miller, illustrated by Daniela Terrazzini, published by Simon & Schuster 

A charming and magical story from actor and comedian Ben Miller that will remind everyone of the true spirit of Christmas! Jackson has always wanted to meet Father Christmas. He knows all about the reindeer, he knows about the elves and the secret North Pole workshop, he knows about the magic that allows Father Christmas to deliver presents around the world in just one night, but there’s one question he wants answered … how did Father Christmas become Father Christmas? One Christmas Eve, Jackson’s wish comes true and not only does he get to meet Father Christmas, but he also hears his incredible story. So begins an enchanting fairy-tale journey into the unknown story of Torvil Christmas – a hard, cruel elf, abandoned at birth, who discovers the meaning of life and learns to love again.

Snowglobe, by Amy Wilson, published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Snowglobe is a beautifully spellbinding story from the author of A Girl Called Owl and A Far Away Magic.

When daydreamer Clementine discovers a mysterious house standing in the middle of town that was never there before, she is pulled towards it by the powerful sense of a mother she never knew.  The place is full of snowglobes, swirling with stars and snow and each containing a trapped magician, watched over by Gan, the bitter keeper of the house. One of these is Dylan, a boy who teases her in the real world but who is now desperate for her help.

So Clem ventures into the snowglobes, rescuing Dylan and discovering her own powerful connection to the magic of these thousand worlds.  Vowing to release the magicians from the control of their enchantments, Clem unknowingly unleashes a struggle for power that will not only put her family, but the future of magic itself in danger.

The Doldrums, by Nicholas Gannon, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Archer B. Hemsley and friends are back and yearning for adventure in this second beautifully told, stunningly illustrated story from author-illustrator Nicholas Gannon. After two years, Archer’s famous explorer grandparents are finally coming home. They had been missing – abandoned on an iceberg – and Archer and his best
friends, Adélaïde L. Belmont and Oliver Grub led an adventurous mission to rescue them. Archer is overjoyed by his grandparents’ return. However, he seems to be the only one . . . Rumours begin to surface that Archer’s grandparents weren’t abandoned after all. People are claiming that they made it all up. Well, Archer knows those rumours are false, and with the help of his best friends and new neighbour, Kana, he is going to prove it. Off the foursome set, into a snowstorm and beyond, to restore his grandparents’ reputation.

Read an extract here
Search and Find: the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, by Hannah Pang, illustrated by Frederica Frenna, published by Studio Press

The popular Christmas tale is retold in beautifully illustrated search and find scenes where you can find the characters on the busy pages, and follow them through the story. Each page is full of characters to find and details to spot in the busy scenes, such as Marie and Fritz receiving gifts, the battle between the dolls and the mice and Marie’s journey to Candyland.


Almost Midnight, by Rainbow Rowell, published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Almost Midnight: Two Festive Short Stories by New York Times bestselling author Rainbow Rowell, contains two wintery short stories, decorated throughout with gorgeous black and white illustrations by Simini Blocker.

‘Midnights’ is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year’s Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time. ‘Kindred Spirits’ is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan.

‘Midnights’ was previously published as part of the My True Love Gave to Me anthology, edited by Stephanie Perkins and ‘Kindred Spirits’ was previously published as a World Book Day title.

The Way Past Winter, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, published by Chicken House

Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they’ve gone – taking Oskar with them. Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back – even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.

Click here to read an extract