Six Holiday Read Alouds for Upper Elementary

Upper elementary students love holiday books just as much as primary students. Older students want rich text, complex themes, and engaging illustrations. The holidays are a perfect time to introduce a new read aloud into your yearly rotation. Here are six holiday books that I have read with my upper elementary students that were a big hit.

The Carpenter’s Gift

If you’re looking for a heartwarming holiday book this is it. Based on the true story of the Rockefeller Tree and how they use the lumber to build for families in need thru Habitat for Humanity. The illustrations are beautiful and the message of the importance of giving and community is perfect for upper elementary students. I use this book to introduce the activity pack and STEM challenge below. Students learn about the Rockefeller Tree and complete various activities on the topic including the task of raising the tree just like they do in NYC! Click here to see the product!

Pumpkin Town!

I love the humor and the realistic looking illustrations. The story follows a family of farmers that plant and grow pumpkins. The children toss the seeds that are dull or too small to the edge of the family’s field. Little did they know that the wind carried the seeds into the town.

A Plump and Perky Turkey

If you do any activity regarding disguising turkeys for Thanksgiving this book is a MUST READ! The author’s writing is clever and the main character is just the same. My students always giggle and smile during this read aloud. You need this book in your holiday collection!

The Snow Angel

You have been warned-you need tissues for this book. This story is about a family of four during a recession. Ryan and Lily’s parents are working several jobs to keep the family afloat. Their grandma watches them on nights when both parents work late. One night she tells the story of what it was like for her to grow up during hard times and how her Dad would play with her outside in the snow when he was home. The message is enduring and a perfect reminder of what the holiday season is all about.

I Need My Monster

This book is nice change up from your typical Halloween books. The main character is horrified to discover that his under the bed monster, Gabe has taken a hiatus to go fishing. The little boy is forced to interview potential candidates for the job so he can sleep at night. This book is adorable and always a crowd pleaser.

Balloons Over Broadway

I use this book as the starting point to a Thanksgiving STEM challenge I do every year with my students. They create parade floats out of balloons and various household items to replicate the characters from the Thanksgiving Macy’s Day Parade. This book explains the true story of Tony Sarg. He made marionettes in London and was later hired by the Herald Square Macy’s in New York City to create a puppet parade for the store’s holiday windows. Those displays were the beginning of something even bigger- the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The illustrations are breathtaking. This book will not disappoint.

Click here to see more information about this STEM challenge! 

What is your favorite holiday book? Leave a comment below!

If you need any holiday ideas and activities for your students check out this blog post!

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