10 books like Little Owl and the Star

By Mary Murphy,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Little Owl and the Star. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Night Before Christmas

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

Book cover of The Night Before Christmas

This poem was published anonymously in 1823. It’s such a Christmas staple that it’s hard to imagine how ground-breaking it was, but the simple plot – a family sleeps on Christmas Eve while the father hears a noise outside and sees Santa Claus in a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer – was the first to set that quintessential Christmas scene. A friend of the author was charmed by the poem and sent it anonymously to a New York newspaper. The author finally owned up to it in 1837, confessing that as a Professor of Oriental and Greek Literature, he had been uneasy about being associated with “unscholarly verse” that he had written only to amuse his children. But this “unscholarly verse” made his name and charms us still.

The Night Before Christmas

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.…


A Dog Named Christmas

By Greg Kincaid,

Book cover of A Dog Named Christmas

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.

A Dog Named Christmas

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

By Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams (illustrator),

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

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.

A Little House Christmas Treasury

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!


The 13th Gift

By Joanne Huist Smith,

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

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.”

The 13th Gift

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…


Santa Mouse, Where Are You?

By Michael Brown, Elfrieda De Witt (illustrator),

Book cover of Santa Mouse, Where Are You?

I like how Santa Mouse, Santa’s little mouse friend, wrapped a special present and took good care of it, despite falling from Santa’s sleigh and getting lost. Santa Mouse wouldn’t let the present out of his grip until he found a special Christmas tree inside a house with a special light to set the present on. The book shows the reader the importance of using care to protect something treasured. Santa Mouse’s determination pays off. This is a great message for kids.

Santa Mouse, Where Are You?

By Michael Brown, Elfrieda De Witt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Santa Mouse, Where Are You? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Santa's littlest helper gets lost and must find his way back to Santa's sleigh in time to save Christmas in this delightful holiday picture book.

Every Christmas, Santa Mouse becomes Santa's little helper. This year, when Santa's ready to take off in his sleigh, Santa Mouse scurries onto his shoulder-only to fall off into the deep, dark snowy ground below. How will he ever find Santa and help him deliver presents to the children?


Collected Ghost Stories

By M.R. James,

Book cover of Collected Ghost Stories

Although he only ever wrote one story actually set at Christmas, M. R. James and his ghost stories have become forever linked to the festive season. This began in the early 1890s when, while Provost of King’s College, Cambridge, he read his stories aloud to the undergraduate members of the college’s Chit-Chat-Club on Christmas Eve. The connection was cemented in the 1970s through Lawrence Gordon Clark’s annual adaptations for the BBC’s A Ghost Story for Christmas, of which I was a devotee. I didn’t start avidly reading James until buying this collection in the 1990s. Anyone familiar with only the TV adaptations may find James’ style takes a little getting used to, but the effort will be richly rewarded. With so many classic stories to his name, M. R. James’ reputation as the greatest ghost story writer in the English language is richly deserved. 

Collected Ghost Stories

By M.R. James,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Collected Ghost Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

M.R. James is probably the finest ghost-story writer England has ever produced. These tales are not only classics of their genre, but are also superb examples of beautifully-paced understatement, convincing background and chilling terror.

As well as the preface, there is a fascinating tail-piece by M.R. James, 'Stories I Have Tried To Write', which accompanies these thirty tales. Among them are 'Casting the Runes', 'Oh, Whistle and I'll come to you, My Lad', 'The Tractate Middoth', 'The Ash Tree' and 'Canon Alberic's Scrapbook'.

'There are some authors one wishes one had never read in order to have the joy of…


The Twelve Terrors of Christmas

By John Updike, Edward Gorey (illustrator),

Book cover of The Twelve Terrors of Christmas

No list of the delightfully dark would be complete without an appearance by the preeminent gothic illustrator, Edward Gorey. Gorey’s wry, one-of-a-kind style brings to life (and death) John Updike’s dark deconstruction of 12 Christmas traditions. Though it’s now out of print, this title is a must-have for any Edward Gorey enthusiast, and for any fan of the unlimited imaginative potential when artists look beyond the lights of the holiday season to focus on the shadows instead.

The Twelve Terrors of Christmas

By John Updike, Edward Gorey (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Twelve Terrors of Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Edward Gorey's off-kilter depictions of Yuletide mayhem and John Updike's wryly jaundiced text examine a dozen Christmas traditions with a decidedly wheezy ho-ho-ho. This long out-of-print classic is the perfect stocking-stuffer for any bah humbug. 32 pages, smyth-sewn casebound book, with jacket.


The Nightmare Before Christmas

By Tim Burton,

Book cover of The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas must be unique among books, and films, in that it can be enjoyed both at Christmas and Halloween. Tim Burton really is a wonderful and unique artist, as witnessed by The World of Tim Burton exhibition in 2015. It’s such a pity that he hasn’t illustrated more books. He is, of course, also a wonderful storyteller. The Nightmare Before Christmas brings together both of his extraordinary talents to produce a modern classic overflowing with original characters as familiar and beloved as any in the festive genre. One of the joys of parenthood is to share the things you have loved with your children. My own son is a confirmed lover of both the book and the film, and will no doubt pass on our tradition of reading, and watching, The Nightmare Before Christmas every Christmas and Halloween to his own children.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

By Tim Burton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Nightmare Before Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jack Skellington is the most important figure in Halloween Town and for years he has delighted in organising macabre tricks and frights for Halloween. But this year he doesn't feel right - there must be more to life than scaring people? Then Jack stumbles upon a cheerful, colourful place called Christmas Town and he knows what he must do - he will bring Christmas to Halloween!

This is the first book written and illustrated by the incomparable visionary Tim Burton.


The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas

By Al Ridenour,

Book cover of The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil

In addition to providing an engaging and well-researched introduction to Krampus (the darkest winter holiday creature of them all), The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas is a wonderful exploration of a wide spectrum of delightfully sinister facets of European Christmas tradition. For centuries, grim entities have emerged from the Christmastime shadows to offer a counterbalance to the lightness and joy of the holiday season. Ridenour connects Krampus to this tradition by taking the reader on a thrilling journey to an old world seething with witches, ghosts, demons, and child-eating ghouls. This book provided invaluable context and detail as I crafted the monster-filled, festive and shadowy setting of my own book.

The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas

By Al Ridenour,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the appearance of the demonic Christmas character Krampus in contemporary Hollywood movies, television shows, advertisements, and greeting cards, medieval folklore has now been revisited in American culture. Krampus-related events and parades occur both in North America and Europe, and they are an ever-growing phenomenon.

Though the Krampus figure has once again become iconic, not much can be found about its history and meaning, thus calling for a book like Al Ridenour's The Krampus: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil. With Krampus's wild, graphic history, Feral House has hired the awarded designer Sean Tejaratchi to take on Ridenour's book…


The Gift of the Magi

By O. Henry,

Book cover of The Gift of the Magi

This story shines a spotlight on selfless love. I cried buckets when I read this as a child. I also wondered if I’d ever be willing to cut my hair, as Della did, to raise the money to buy Jim that watch chain. I’m still not sure I would. The story beautifully articulates the parameters of selfless love. I’ve always been fascinated by this theme.

The Gift of the Magi

By O. Henry,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Gift of the Magi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The Gift of the Magi" is a short story, about a young married couple and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money. As a sentimental story with a moral lesson about gift-giving, it has been a popular one for adaptation, especially for presentation during the Christmas season.


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