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Books for beginning readers about the real meaning of Christmas

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Each December children are inundated with images, songs and stories of reindeer, elves and a jolly man in a red suit. There is nothing wrong with getting into the Christmas spirit by reading books and watching television specials about Santa, Rudolph or elves named Buddy, but the real meaning of Christmas often gets lost in all the holiday merriment.

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For parents and teachers who want to reinforce the message that Christmas is about a Savior who clothed his majesty in human flesh and chose to be born in a lowly stable, the Christian Fiction Examiner suggests the following books for beginning readers. The real meaning of Christmas can be taught at any time of year, but during December it's especially important that children understand the reason for the season.

"Itsy Bitsy Christmas: You're Never Too Little for His Love" by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson, Sept. 2013) Itsy and Bitsy, two mice, hear that a new king is about to be born so they set off in search of him. They are met with discouragement and derision along the way; they learn, though, that the new king accepts all.

"The First Christmas Night" by Keith Christopher and Christine Kornacki (Ideals, Nov. 2013) Beautifully illustrated and charmingly told, this book uses the classic Clement C. Moore poem as a basis to tell the story of the first Christmas ever.

"My Christmas List" by Amy Parker and Daniel Fernandez (B&H Kids, Sept. 2013) Instead of the normal letter to Santa outlining what gifts he should deliver on Christmas Eve, this is a Christmas prayer to God about what wishes a child has for other children around the world.

"The Manger Mouse" by Sarah Martin Byrd and Debbie Wall (Ambassador International, August 2013) Every creature, large and small, has a purpose to fulfill. Matty the mouse is convinced his is to snuggle close to his mother and siblings and sleep in the stable. But the Creator of the world has a more important purpose in mind for this little mouse.

"Christmas in the Barn" by Margaret Wise Brown and Diane Goode (HarperCollins, 2007) Originally published in 1952, this classic picture book from one of America's favorite children's authors, will delight a whole new generation of readers.

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