Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Finch's Festive Fifty - by Dawn Finch

It's that time of year again and for the seventh year running, I'm sharing my Festive Fifty children's books. We have battled through another year of separation and loss and this does seem to be a good time to reach for books of comfort and joy. The books I have chosen for my list are all frosty and festive and many have featured on my winter list a number of times. I have picked books that I have enjoyed reading and I also feel that these will also work well as read-alouds. 

At 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 us 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 tend to focus on family-friendly books that can be read aloud and shared with all independent readers (including grown-ups!) These are all quite traditional favourites that can be shared with the whole family of older readers.

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.

I'd like to make a very special mention here of my current favourite book - The Very Merry Murder Club. This book can't be fitted into the list because it is a collection of festive murder mysteries by the most amazing authors - Abiola Bello, Annabelle Sami, Benjamin Dean, E.L. Norry, Elle McNicoll, Dominique Valente, Joanna Williams, Maisie Chan, Nizrana Farook, Patrice Lawrence, Roopa Farooki, Serena Patel and Sharna Jackson with stunning illustrations by Harry Woodgate - edited by Serena Patel and Robin Stevens.

This book is the most beautiful hardback and it is my number one recommendation for all those young readers who love something a bit different. If I had to pick one book this year to buy for young readers, it would be The Very Merry Murder Club!

Happy Christmas, and happy reading!
  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. Casey, Dawn - Winter Tales
  8. Cooper, Susan – The Dark is Rising
  9. Crossley-Holland, Kevin – Between Worlds (illustrated by Frances Castle)
  10. Dale, Anna – Whispering to Witches
  11. Dickens, Charles – A Christmas Carol
  12. Doherty, Berlie – Children of Winter
  13. Doyle, Catherine - Miracle on Ebenezer Street
  14. Ende, Michael – The Neverending Story
  15. Elphinstone, Abi – Sky Song
  16. Farr, David - Book of Stolen Dreams
  17. Fisher, Catherine – Snow Walker
  18. Fisher, Catherine – The Clockwork Crow
  19. Foxlee, Karen – Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy
  20. Gaarder, Jostein – The Christmas Mystery
  21. Gardner, Sally and David Roberts – Tinder
  22. Gayton, Sam – the Snow Merchant
  23. Gordon, John – The Giant Under The Snow
  24. Hargrave, Kiran Millwood – The Way Past Winter
  25. Hitchcock, Fleur – Clifftoppers - The Frost Castle Adventure
  26. Horwood, William – The Willows in Winter
  27. Ivey, Eowyn – Snow Child
  28. Jansson, Tove – Moominland Midwinter
  29. Lauren, Ruth – Prisoner of Ice and Snow
  30. Lean, Sarah - The Good Bear
  31. Lewis, CS – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
  32. Masefield, John – Box of Delights
  33. Matthews, Caitlin and Helen Cann – Fireside Stories, Tales for a Winter’s Eve
  34. Montgomery, Ross - The Midnight Guardians
  35. Morris, Jackie – East of the Sun, West of the Moon
  36. Nimmo, Jenny – The Snow Spider
  37. Pratchett, Terry – Wintersmith
  38. Preussler, Otfried – Krabat
  39. Priestley, Chris – The Last of the Spirits
  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. Current Chair of the Society of Author's Children's Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG) 

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