Monday, 7 December 2020

Finch's Festive Fifty! by Dawn Finch

It's that time of year again and for the sixth year running, I'm sharing my favourite Festive Fifty. The challenges of 2020 have hit us all and it is somewhat heartening to discover that people have been turning to books and reading more to get through the Lockdown periods. I hope that this has set a habit that will keep growing, and that this will be the season of books for all. 

This Christmas will be one of separation for most of us and this is the perfect time to indulge in a bit of nostalgia as we reach for books help us escape to another type of Christmas. The books I have chosen for my list are all frosty and festive, and all of these will also work well as read-alouds. Maybe if we can't be together, we can read together. I can't help thinking how nice it would be to share the same titles with other family members and have a family winter book group. Maybe read your favourite excerpts aloud and create a few family zoomed storytimes.

This Christmas we should allow ourselves the luxury of not watching the news, and instead draw the curtains against the advancing night, light some candles, and settle in with a story that will take you away to another place.

This list is in alphabetical order of author's surname. These are all longer novels for age 9+. There are so many lists of picture books so I have just focussed on family-friendly books that can be read aloud and shared with all independent readers (including grown-ups!)

As many different editions exist of some of these titles, I've left that to your own choice, but personally, I'd opt for the illustrated editions. Treat your family to something beautiful and tuck it away with the decorations to re-read every year.
Start a new tradition!
  1.  Aiken, Joan – The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
  2. Arden, Katherine – The Bear and the Nightingale
  3. Bell, Alex and Tomic, Tomislav – Polar Bear Explorers’ Club
  4. Boston, Lucy M – The Children of Green Knowe
  5. Butterworth, Jess – Running on the Roof of the World
  6. Carroll, Emma – Frost Hollow Hall
  7. Cooper, Susan – The Dark is Rising
  8. Crossley-Holland, Kevin – Between Worlds (illustrated by Frances Castle)
  9. Dale, Anna – Whispering to Witches
  10. Dickens, Charles – A Christmas Carol
  11. Doherty, Berlie – Children of Winter
  12. Doyle, Catherine - Miracle on Ebenezer Street
  13. Ende, Michael – The Neverending Story
  14. Elphinstone, Abi – Sky Song
  15. Fisher, Catherine – Snow Walker
  16. Fisher, Catherine – The Clockwork Crow
  17. Foxlee, Karen – Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy
  18. Gaarder, Jostein – The Christmas Mystery
  19. Gardner, Sally and David Roberts – Tinder
  20. Gayton, Sam – the Snow Merchant
  21. Gordon, John – The Giant Under The Snow
  22. Hargrave, Kiran Millwood – The Way Past Winter
  23. Hitchcock, Fleur – Clifftoppers - The Frost Castle Adventure
  24. Horwood, William – The Willows in Winter
  25. Ivey, Eowyn – Snow Child
  26. Jansson, Tove – Moominland Midwinter
  27. Lauren, Ruth – Prisoner of Ice and Snow
  28. Lean, Sarah - The Good Bear
  29. Lewis, CS – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
  30. London, Jack – Call of the Wild
  31. Masefield, John – Box of Delights
  32. Matthews, Caitlin and Helen Cann – Fireside Stories, Tales for a Winter’s Eve
  33. Montgomery, Ross - The Midnight Guardians
  34. Morris, Jackie – East of the Sun, West of the Moon
  35. Nimmo, Jenny – The Snow Spider
  36. Pratchett, Terry – Wintersmith
  37. Preussler, Otfried – Krabat
  38. Priestley, Chris – The Last of the Spirits
  39. Pullman, Philip – Northern Lights
  40. Raby,  Lucy Daniel – Nikolai of the North
  41. Ransome, Arthur – Winter Holiday
  42. Rundell, Katherine – Wolf Wilder 
  43. Smith, Dodie – 101 Dalmatians
  44. St John, Lauren – The Snow Angel
  45. Streatfeild, Noel – White Boots
  46. Torday, Piers – There May Be A Castle
  47. Wilder, Laura Ingalls Wilder – The Long Winter
  48. Wilson, Amy – Snowglobe
  49. Winter Magic edited by Abi Elphinstone (11 stories by contemporary writers)
  50. Woodfine, Katherine – The Midnight Peacock
As always - please add your own additions in the comments. I would love to see someone do a list of poetry for the season too! Apologies for missing anyone out but I only ever list books that I've actually read. If you'd like me to read yours, drop me a line.

Dawn Finch is an author and former children's librarian. 2020 Chair of the Society of Author's Children's Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG) and Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CWIG)


walksquitefast said...

Loved `The Time of Green Magic` by Hilary Mackay: not exactly "festive" but a warm-hearted account about the complications of complicated family groupings - and a paean to the importance of stories and books.

Abbeybufo said...

I always enjoy Jenny Overton's Thirteen Days of Christmas - an interesting take on the Twelve days of Christmas song. It isn't a parody, like the John Julius Norwich, which is fun too, but a gentle story that has extra depth if you know the song.

Sue Purkiss said...

A wonderful list - lots of favourites here, but new ones to try too!

Nick Garlick said...

For somebody who writes children's stories, I'm a little mortified to see how few of these I've read. It's a great list though, and one I'll look forward to digging into.

Stroppy Author said...

Thank you - what a wonderful list. Some of these I could share with MB (7 this week), but others will have to wait a while. I am desperate to read Wolves of Willoughby Chase to her, but it's too scary for now!

Mystica said...

Thank you for the effort of making such a nice list.