My favorite books for Christmas nostalgia

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved Christmas books. As I’ve gotten older, part of the attraction around Christmas is the nostalgia. Recalling the excitement as a child, the anticipation, but also the people who are no longer with us. When I started out writing, I only ever envisaged doing one book, but a little bit of success snowballed. When I was looking for ideas, I noticed my last Barton book would be released just before Christmas, and The Santa Killer was born. I wanted to write a book like Christie’s where there was the emotions around murder and crime, but also the drama of Christmas. Hopefully it’s sad, exciting, and thrilling but also poignant.


I wrote...

The Santa Killer

By Ross Greenwood,

Book cover of The Santa Killer

What is my book about?

The Santa Killer is coming to town.... One night less than two weeks before Christmas, a single mother is violently assaulted. It’s a brutal crime at the time of year when there should be goodwill to all. When DI Barton begins his investigation, he’s surprised to find the victim is a woman with nothing to hide and no reason for anyone to hurt her.

A few days later, the mother of the woman attacked rings the police station. Her granddaughter has drawn a shocking picture. It seems she was looking out of the window when her mother was attacked. And when her grandmother asks the young girl who the person with the weapon is, she whispers two words. Bad Santa.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Night Before Christmas

Ross Greenwood Why did I love this book?

My children are eleven and eight, so we still read to him at bedtime, and we did to her until fairly recently. I love this book. It’s so atmospheric. It’s the only way I can remember the names of Santa’s reindeer. The kids are bored of it. Dad! Not again!

By Clement C. Moore, Christine Brallier (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Night Before Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's late night visit has a man and his curious kitty investigating. Did you know that Santa can play the guitar? Well, he can! Each page is filled with thoughtful details, luscious color, and a joyful whimsy. Mosaic artist Christine Brallier has created fifteen stained glass mosaic illustrations in her unique rendition of the classic The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. Reading the book with her family nearly five years ago, Christine was inspired to create her own version of the story and to put her family and their cat in it.…


Book cover of Polar Express

Ross Greenwood Why did I love this book?

It’s the cover from the movie that I love the most, which my daughter has watched to death. My son’s just getting into reading, so he’ll be getting this to open on the big day. The train in the snow screams Christmas to me. Shame when he wanted a Nintendo Switch.

By Chris Van Allsburg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Polar Express as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Discover The Polar Express, a true Christmas classic.
"Magical" Guardian
"Evocative and atmospheric" Sunday Times
"A thrilling tale" Independent
All aboard the Polar Express to the North Pole! Follow one boy's journey to receive a very special gift from Santa himself: a bell that only true believers in Father Christmas can hear ring. Discover the beloved Christmas classic that inspired the blockbuster family favourite movie starring Tom Hanks.


Book cover of A Christmas Carol

Ross Greenwood Why did I love this book?

Obviously just brilliant. I rarely read adult books twice, but this one I read every few years. It’s a simpler world and also quite scary when I first read it for English at school when I was twelve. I think it’s his best book. Pure genius. Maybe my daughter can get this for Christmas. Much cheaper than a phone.

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Christmas Carol as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Tom Baker reads Charles Dickens' timeless seasonal story.

Charles Dickens' story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by the three ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, has become one of the timeless classics of English literature. First published in 1843, it introduces us not only to Scrooge himself, but also to the memorable characters of underpaid desk clerk Bob Cratchit and his poor family, the poorest amongst whom is the ailing and crippled Tiny Tim.

In this captivating recording, Tom Baker delivers a tour-de-force performance as he narrates the story. The listener…


Book cover of The Snowman

Ross Greenwood Why did I love this book?

This has it all. Every time I see the cover I think of the house where I grew up and I can picture the scene in the lounge on Christmas morning where I’m sorting the presents into piles for when my grandparents arrive, while watching this on BBC2. One year I got given it as a book, and it was a different experience to read it, but just as lovely.

By Raymond Briggs,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Snowman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

An activity book based on the animated film of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman. Children of all ages will enjoy exploring the fun and excitement of Christmas with this festive book packed with things to do and make.


Book cover of Hercule Poirot's Christmas

Ross Greenwood Why did I love this book?

Agatha Christie was one of the first crime authors I read. My dad had loads of books in the garage, so I sometimes used to sneak a bag of sweets in there and read, and this was one of them. I really enjoyed the drama and tension, combined with the Christmas attitude. It stands the test of time, too.

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Hercule Poirot's Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed.

But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man...


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A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story

By Kerry M. Olitzky,

Book cover of A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story

Kerry M. Olitzky Author Of Heroes with Chutzpah: 101 True Tales of Jewish Trailblazers, Changemakers & Rebels

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Rabbi Academic Practitioner Educator

Kerry's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This is a picture book created to help children learn how to determine Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, in countries where the summer sun remains high in the sky.

Tova travels with her mother to Alaska during the summer solstice. In the Land of the Midnight Sun, she is uncertain how to tell time because the sun never rises or sets. Tova wonders how she will know when the Sabbath begins or ends. Eventually, she talks to a wise orca. The whale shares her secret to understanding time with a circular sun and reminds Tova of the magic of Shabbat is more than telling time.

A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story

By Kerry M. Olitzky,

What is this book about?

A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story is a picture book created to help children learn how to determine Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, in countries where the summer sun remains high in the sky. Tova travels with her mother to Alaska during the summer solstice. In the Land of the Midnight Sun, she is uncertain how to tell time because the sun never rises or sets. Tova wonders how she will know when Sabbath begins or ends. Eventually, she talks to a wise orca. The whale shares her secret to understanding time with a circular sun and…


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