Recalling Allen Say’s picture book Tree of Cranes, I wondered what other children’s books there are where a Christmas tree is a central element to the story. Below is a short survey of such books in the CCLS collection:
A Charlie Brown Christmas (Charles M. Schulz; adapted by Justine and Ron Fontes) – A Charlie Brown Christmas focuses on Charlie Brown’s struggle to find the true meaning of Christmas amidst its commercialization. Along the way, he finds the scrawny (and now iconic) little tree for the school Christmas play. He “kills” it while attempting to decorate it, but the tree is miraculously transformed by story’s end. Based on the classic television special, which in turn is based on the comic strip Peanuts.
Chita’s Christmas Tree (Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard) – Chita, an African-American girl in early 20th century Baltimore, goes to the woods with her father to choose a Christmas tree, and eagerly awaits for Santa to deliver it. Like many titles in this survey, the book reflects how Chita spends her days preparing for Christmas.
My Prairie Christmas (Brett Harvey) – A little girl tries to adjust to her first Christmas at her new home on the prairie. But this pales to when her father goes to find a Christmas tree and does not return.
Night Tree (Eve Bunting) – A family goes to the woods to find a Christmas tree, but not to bring home! An endearing look at an unusual family tradition.
Tree of Cranes (Allen Say) – Author/illustrator Allen Say often celebrates his Japanese heritage in his books. In Tree of Cranes, a Japanese boy experiences his first Christmas when his homesick Japanese-American mother decorates a small pine tree with candles and paper cranes.
The Tub People’s Christmas (Pam Conrad) – The Tub People – a set of wooden toys in Pam Conrad’s series of books – have no idea what a strange man in a red suit is doing in their home, especially when he brings a tree down the chimney!
Uncle Vova’s Tree (Patricia Polacco) – Like Say, Patricia Polacco draws on her heritage for inspiration for her stories. She describes a traditional Russian Christmas in Uncle Vova’s Tree, where a spirited uncle implores his nieces and nephews to continue his tradition of decorating the tree that he planted when he and his wife first arrived in America.
Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree (Gloria Houston) – Set in the Appalachians near the end of WWI, Ruthie awaits her father’s return from Europe, so together they can harvest a tree that they’ve pledged for the church’s Christmas pageant.
There likely are more books about Christmas trees – for children and adults – than are listed here. Tell us any that you know of by leaving a comment below.
Find other books in CCLS and PINES by searching the PINES catalog by the author’s name.
CCLS has many Christmas themed books for children and adults. Ask staff at your nearest library for assistance.