By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd

Listening to holiday music, decorating homes and receiving party invitations are all signs of the approaching holiday season. While “to do” lists may be longer these days, it is important to take time for the things that really matter — spending quality time with people you care about and being grateful for even the smallest of things. One great way to capture the holiday spirit is to read seasonal books with your young ones. Enjoy the special moments and remember that the small things truly are the big things.

Preschool —The Snowy Day (board book) by Ezra Jack Keats

This classic story has been a long-time favorite for several generations and captures the wonder of a first snowfall as seen through the eyes of a child. The sparse illustrations tell a magical story for children of all ages. This timeless story won the Caldecott Medal in 1963.

Pre-K to Early Elementary — The Nutcracker by New York City Ballet illustrated by  Valeria Docampo

For many people, going to see the “Nutcracker” ballet is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. This picture book by the New York City Ballet captures George Balanchine’s classic ballet tale in a picture book format with “stylish and modern sensibility.” Whether your child is an aspiring dancer or enjoys this ballet as a special holiday tradition, this book is sure to be a family favorite.

Older Elementary/Early Middle School — I’m OK by Patti Kim

Funny, heartfelt and honest are words used to describe this uplifting novel. With an absent father and a mother who works three jobs, Ok Lee feels the responsibility to help his family pay the bills. He decides that all would be well if he could win the cash prize offered at his school’s talent contest. However, he doesn’t really have a talent, so he decides to start a hair braiding business. Friendship troubles ensue and, added to the mix, is a pushy deacon who has eyes for his mother. Ok needs to think fast to find an acceptable solution to his predicaments. Readers who enjoyed Counting by 7sand Crenshaw will surely enjoy this title as well.

Young Adult — Calling My Name by Liani Tamani

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Jandy Nelson, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Sandra Cisneros will enjoy this coming-of-age novel that documents the struggles of a young African American girl growing up in Houston, Texas. Readers follow Taja as she moves from middle school to high school and strives to find her voice and purpose in life. This moving story is told in an interesting format of fifty-three short, episodic chapters.

Moms — Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

This debut novel is a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick that features the story of a young woman who is focused on making her way in the “wilds” of the North Carolina coast. Kya Clark, known as “marsh girl, has a wild and free nature that some people find alluring while others question.
From, “Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.”

Win a book of your choice from today’s blog! 
Remember to share your thoughts and comments, and you could be selected to win a copy of one of the books, compliments of Barnes & Noble, Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro. The staff of Triad Moms on Main will choose a random winner one week after the blog runs. (Please be sure to enter your email address when you fill out your comment so they have a way to contact you.)

Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit and to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.