The best books that touch our heart at Christmas

Bernice L. Rocque Author Of Until the Robin Walks on Snow
By Bernice L. Rocque

Who am I?

I am someone who loves Christmas. My family’s Christmas Eve gatherings and a 5th-grade assignment inspired me to learn more about my heritage. This quest has outlived my eclectic career in libraries, teaching, and project management. In my fifties, I suddenly realized that who we are as people is forgotten within 100 years of our death. So, I started writing to preserve the ‘essence’ of those who came before me. A character from Until the Robin Walks on Snow tapped my shoulder to tell this survival story—one which embodies the love, traditions, and miracles of the holiday season. The recommended books lift hearts, too.

I wrote...

Until the Robin Walks on Snow

By Bernice L. Rocque,

Book cover of Until the Robin Walks on Snow

What is my book about?

Imagine…a child is born far too early. He weighs just 1.5 pounds. Amazingly, he is breathing. Now imagine…it is 100 years ago, on the edge of winter and the Christmas season, in a New England farmhouse without modern conveniences. My grandparents and their midwife lived through this event. Until the Robin Walks on Snow fictionalizes the story using extensive facts, family history, and research. Family unity, faith, friendship, and determination are themes.

This 10th Anniversary Edition weaves in important birth story elements discovered since the book’s first edition was published. A new survival-themed Afterward responds to the many readers who asked, “What happened to the characters after the birth story ended?” 

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

The Night Before Christmas

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

Book cover of The Night Before Christmas

Why did I love this book?

Fascinated and curious I was—when mosaic artist Christine Brallier introduced her rendition of The Night Before Christmas in 2013. The 15 stained glass panels she designed and pieced together over nearly 5 years became the illustrations for the timeless Clement Moore poem. 

Dazzled and speechless I was—when the book arrived. Christine Brallier’s vibrant, whimsical, and quilt-like mosaics infuse a down-home warmth into this electric poem. Her beloved cat even has a cameo spot on several pages. This unique and beautiful book continues to sit on the edge of my brain. It’s a perfect gift for families with inquisitive young children and memories to make.

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 Little Owl and the Star: A Christmas Story

Why did I love this book?

When I was little, I knew Christmas Eve was somehow more significant to our family than Christmas Day. In early evening, we would walk next door to my grandmother’s farmhouse for “Wigilia.” She greeted us with hugs and her double kisses. I remember warm light, voices conversing, and a table spread with delicious food, including fried smelts, my favorite. 

I wish I had understood better at a younger age, how Wigilia was a “vigil” of our family’s faith. Little Owl and the Star: A Christmas Story, with its endearingly simple story and gentle, yet striking illustrations, might prompt such a conversation about this. The little owl has a feeling of “waiting” and accepts an invitation from the star to witness the nativity scene.

By Mary Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Little Owl and the Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A joyous version of the Nativity, by a bestselling author/illustrator. It is a silent night, and Little Owl is sitting in his tree with a waiting feeling when a star sparkles along. "Come with me" says the star and Little Owl follows, as do three men on camels and shepherds with their sheep, until all who have followed the star find themselves part of the happiest scene on earth.;Shortlisted for the Bisto Book of the Year Award.;With shiny and sparkly foil effect on the cover!

A Dog Named Christmas

By Greg Kincaid,

Book cover of A Dog Named Christmas

Why did I love this book?

According to Nielson ratings, 18.7 million households viewed the 2009 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie debut of A Dog Named Christmas. It outperformed the NFL game and 60 Minutes broadcasts that Sunday evening. I was one of the movie’s ‘captives.’

The short novel equally touched my heart. I admire how the author eased in the backstories of the dog, father, mother, and son—all so crucial in the story path. Todd, an animal lover and developmentally challenged young man wants his family to participate in a program to foster a shelter dog over the holidays. Can you guess the inherent conflict? The mother’s quiet strength and influence reminded me of Mrs. Brown in the movie, National Velvet.

By Greg Kincaid,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Dog Named Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Todd, a developmentally challenged young man still living on his parents' Kansas farm, hears that a local animal shelter is seeking temporary homes for its dogs during the holiday week, he knows exactly what he wants for Christmas.

Animals are Todd's first love, and his persistence quickly overwhelms his father's objections to befriending a canine, a reluctance that proves to have a painful origin.

The family takes in a very special animal, and the shelter's Christmas adoption programme soon grows larger than anyone had hoped. By the story's end, Todd, with the help of a dog named Christmas, has…

A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories

By Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams (illustrator),

Book cover of A Little House Christmas Treasury: Festive Holiday Stories

Why did I love this book?

Each time the ‘Little House’ books cross my path, I am reminded of where and when I first discovered the series. My dad regularly took my sister and I to the (Otis) Children’s Library, then located atop the Church Street hill in downtown Norwich, CT. We devoured the Little House books and much of the library’s young reader collection, usually finishing the books before their due date, when Dad was happy to drive us again. 

I probably identified with the Ingalls family. Their experience in the American frontier echoed certain life patterns of my dad’s immigrant family (a half-century later). Self-sufficiency, frugality, gratitude for small blessings, and appreciation for Nature’s beauty and bounties were just a few. This “Treasury” brings together many of Laura’s wonderful Christmas memories.

By Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Little House Christmas Treasury as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gorgeous and festive collection of Christmas stories from the prairie!

Celebrate the season with holiday tales from the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the beloved Little House series. Featuring Garth Williams’ classic artwork in vibrant full color!

Book cover of The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle

Why did I love this book?

The 13th Gift is a mother’s memoir of an unforgettable Christmas. Just before the holidays, her husband suddenly dies. The family is devastated and lost; he was the glue in their family of five. The numb existence that sets in isolates them from one another. Christmas seems a bother, except to the young daughter. Then, a gift mysteriously appears on their porch.

I was pulled into this family’s touching day-by-day return from the abyss, thanks to the author’s storytelling and because I was reminded how powerful an act of kindness can be—and how simple. I think this true story inspires us to do more noticing and acting, when a person or family might need the help of an “angel.”

By Joanne Huist Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 13th Gift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Greg Kincaid comes The 13th Gift, a heartwarming Christmas story about how a random act of kindness transformed one of the bleakest moments in a family's history into a time of strength and love.

After the unexpected death of her husband, Joanne Huist Smith had no idea how she would keep herself together and be strong for her three children--especially with the holiday season approaching. But 12 days before Christmas, presents begin appearing on her doorstep with notes from their "True Friends." As the Smiths came together to solve the mystery of who…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Christmas, dogs, and murder?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Christmas, dogs, and murder.

Christmas Explore 202 books about Christmas
Dogs Explore 368 books about dogs
Murder Explore 828 books about murder