10 books like The 13th Gift

By Joanne Huist Smith,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The 13th Gift. 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.…


Little Owl and the Star

By Mary Murphy,

Book cover of Little Owl and the Star: A Christmas Story

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.

Little Owl and the Star

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

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 Best Christmas Pageant Ever

By Barbara Robinson,

Book cover of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

This book is as much a modern Christmas classic as Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is a Victorian one. Remember when churches or communities put on Christmas Nativity plays with kids playing all the roles? Barbara Robinson conjures just such an event when the horrible Hurdmans invade the sacrosanct precincts of the annual play and take over a lot of the roles. Sometimes this book makes me howl with laughter; sometimes it chokes me up—depending on what kind of year it’s been.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

By Barbara Robinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This year’s pageant is definitely like no other, but maybe that’s exactly what makes it so special.

Laughs abound in this bestselling Christmas classic by Barbara Robinson! The Best Christmas Pageant Ever follows the outrageous shenanigans of the Herdman siblings, or “the worst kids in the history of the world.”

The siblings take over the annual Christmas pageant in a hilarious yet heartwarming tale involving the Three Wise Men, a ham, scared shepherds, and six rowdy kids. You and your family will laugh along with this funny story, perfect for independent reading or read-aloud sharing.

Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie,…


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?


Lie With Me

By Sabine Durrant,

Book cover of Lie With Me

From the opening sentence I was hooked. What might have started earlier? Why was the protagonist scratching on his forearm rather than using pen and paper? From the first page we are deep inside the head of the lead character, Paul Morris, and it’s not always a pretty place. He is a cynical manipulative liar, a deeply unpleasant man, but I was intrigued by how far he would go and whether he would get caught out.

It’s a slow burn as we watch the deceit unfold. We experience the lead character’s tension as he realises the mess he’s got himself into with his lies, then witness his struggle to backtrack and make things good. By the end I felt quite sorry for him. It had me gripped!

Lie With Me

By Sabine Durrant,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lie With Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The truth is, we all tell lies... take a deep breath and dive into the book everyone's raving about.

'If you've had a hole in your literary life since finishing Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, this is the book to fill it' Grazia

It starts with a lie. The kind we've all told - to a former acquaintance we can't quite place but still, for some reason, feel the need to impress. The story of our life, embellished for the benefit of the happily married lawyer with the kids and the lovely home.

And the next thing…


Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star

By Horacek Petr,

Book cover of Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star

I loved this story and how Suzy was willing to go the extra mile to make Christmas special for her friends. Suzy is a caring goose who would do anything to make the outside Christmas tree aglow with the brightest star in the sky. When she flies off hilltops and wanders far away from her friends, she doesn’t stay lost very long as her friend's onomatopoeia calls lead her back home, and Suzy discovers a special surprise on the tree. The book shows miracles do happen.

Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star

By Horacek Petr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Suzy, the silly goose with a mind of her own, returns in a brand new read-aloud Christmas picture book.

When Suzy Goose decides that the Christmas tree is missing a star, she sets off on a journey to fetch the shiny star in the sky. No matter how far she travels, she never reaches it. But when she finds herself back at the tree, everyone has a beautiful Christmas surprise!


The Marquess is Mine

By Tamara Gill,

Book cover of The Marquess is Mine

I have a super soft spot for ‘second chance’ romances. Here, our heroine’s long-broken heart skips several beats on being confronted by the dashingly handsome culprit at a Christmas Ball. Having forsaken the only woman he has ever loved, our hero has just one chance to make amends. How will he regain her trust, persuading her that he’ll never again let her down? You’ll be rooting for them both to find the happiness they deserve. 

The Marquess is Mine

By Tamara Gill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Marquess is Mine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

She’ll never let anyone break her heart. Not again, anyway…

Lady Sarah Farley has learned many of life’s lessons the hard way. She now knows the ton will viciously turn on anyone, anytime. And love? That only brings devastation. But when a particularly handsome ghost from her past re-emerges, she can’t help but wonder if life is about to teach her poor wounded heart yet another painful, unwanted lesson.

Lord Giles Longe, Marques Gordan, never wanted to hurt Sarah. But he couldn’t have married her back then. His father wouldn’t have allowed it. Everything is different now, though. He will…


The Holiday Swap

By Maggie Knox,

Book cover of The Holiday Swap

This was simply a fun book. I watch a lot of baking shows, so when I saw that the setting involved both a reality cooking show and a bakery, I knew I was in my element. After an accident on set that leaves one twin sister unable to taste, she needs to swap places with her sister to save the show. This, of course, leads to all sorts of misunderstandings that make the story fast-paced and fun. As a warning, this book will make you hungry, especially for fresh-baked bread.

The Holiday Swap

By Maggie Knox,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The International Bestseller—A feel-good, holiday rom com about identical twins who swap lives twelve days before Christmas—perfect for fans of Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze and Josie Silver’s One Day in December
 
All they want for Christmas is a different life.

When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell—both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie's identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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