Internal RMU Content

Please note: These pages are archived and are no longer being actively maintained.

Click here to visit the public RMU website.

Holiday Books



The Day the Crayons Came Home
by Oliver Jeffers

In the Daywalk’s first book, The Day the Crayons Quit, Duncan faces the challenges of dealing with upset crayons that won’t do their job. In this sequel, Duncan faces a whole cast of colorful characters that need rescued from overuse or misuse. In this hysterical sequel, the crayons list their reasons for coming home to the crayon box that keep readers laughing. Children and adults who are fans of the first book won’t be disappointed with the characters in this humor-filled second book.

Ages 5 to 8



Not a Box
by Antoinette Portis

A box is just a box . . . unless it's not a box. From mountain to rocket ship, a small rabbit shows that a box will go as far as the imagination allows.

Inspired by a memory of sitting in a box on her driveway with her sister, Antoinette Portis captures the thrill when pretend feels so real that it actually becomes real—when the imagination takes over and inside a cardboard box, a child is transported to a world where anything is possible.




Red: A Crayon's Story
by Michael Hall

Red: A Crayon’s Story, by New York Times bestselling author Michael Hall, tells the story of a crayon that is mistakenly labeled as red but can only draw in blue. While others try to “fix” or ridicule the crayon, a purple crayon comes along and lets the crayon color the way it wants, in blue. This touching story provides insight in the value of being true to one’s self and the wonders of being unique.

Preschool and Early Childhood



Daisy's Crazy Thanksgiving
by Margery Cuyler

Daisy discovers that her Thanksgiving day with the extended family is crazier than that with her parents. Daisy learns to appreciate her family and maybe through reading this book, children in grades 2-4 might learn to appreciate their own family’s quirks and craziness.

Ages 7 to 9



Snowmen at Christmas
by Caralyn Buehner

Through rhymes and beautiful pictures, a little boy shares how he thinks snowmen spend Christmas (singing, playing games, eating ice cream and snow cones, and visiting with snowman, Kris Kringle)

Ages 3 to 7



Jeremy’s Dreidel
by Ellie Gellman

As Jeremy makes a dreidel for his father who is blind, the reader learns about Hanukkah origins and traditions and also about living successfully with vision loss. The book closes with directions for making a dreidel, playing the dreidel game, and information about Braille.

Ages 5 to 9



The Mouth with a Mind of Its Own
by Patricia L. Mervine

This is a really cute, funny story about a boy, Matthew, who thinks clearly about what he wants to say, but his thoughts don’t come out in a way that others can understand. The school speech-language therapist helps Matthew with exercises to get his speech muscles/helpers to talk to each other.

Ages 8 to 12



by Cynthia Lord

This fiction book is told from Catherine’s viewpoint. She is a 12 year old girl whose brother, David, has autism. In order to help her brother David fit in, Catherine develops a list of rules for him to follow, such as “No toys in the fish tank”. She goes through some typical adolescent experiences and in the end realizes that being different is ‘normal’. At times the storyline is heart-wrenching and other times it is just plain funny. The book has won numerous awards.

Ages 8 to 12



All by Self: A Father’s Story About a Differently Abled Child
by Ron Taylor

A really touching story, told from a father’s perspective, on his relationship with his son, Micah, who has cerebral palsy. He shared some of the things that Micah couldn’t do, but also those things that he could do (differently-abled). One of those was to allow his father to see the world around him in a new way. Very pretty black and white illustrations and poetic writing style make this an appealing book. There is an expanded adult version of the story at the back of the book as well.

Ages 8 to 12



The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

Forget the movie and get the book! Excellent contemporary coming-of-age read on friendship, resilience, life, death and young love.

Young Adult/Teen



On the Night You Were Born
by Nancy Tillman

I love to read this book at holiday time when there is frequent discussion of a special baby being born. It reminds us of how each baby is special. It is a great bedtime book. Feiwel & Friends 2006

Ages 3 to 8



Llama llama Jingle Bells
by Anna Dewdney

I just love llama alliteration. This is a fun book that reinforces word patterns and sounds. Llama mama makes the holidays fun. Board book for preschoolers and toddlers. Viking Children's Books 2013

Ages 4-8



The Polar Express
by Chris Van Allsburg

This book has it all: a Christmas story, a mystery, a journey, fantasy, danger, hope, redemption. And -- it's a children's book. There is a visually stunning movie as well but the illustrations stand on their own. Caldecott Medal Winner. Houghton Mifflin

School age



Where the Sidewalk Ends
by Shel Silverstein

This classically silly collection of poems will keep children giggling, rhyming, a requesting their favorites Harper and Row Publishers 1974

Ages 6-8



Splendiferous Christmas (Fancy Nancy)
by Jane O'Connor

Young ladies who love the fancy side of life will broaden their vocabularies with this holiday book that includes "elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, and Christmas cookies with sprinkles". It will also open their minds to the fact that life doesn't always go as we may plan and we need to learn to be flexible and improvise! HarperCollins Publishers 2009

Ages 4-8



The Snowy Day
by Ezra Jack Keats

This is a classic picture book! The story is about a boy and his adventure in the city on the first snowfall of the season. The pictures are simple and expressive. I have always liked to read this book to children because they generally add to the story by talking about the pictures, the boy, and their own experiences in snow. Caldecott Medal winner. Published by Puffin 1976

Ages 2-6



The House without a Christmas Tree
by Gail Rock

Great themes running throughout this book that many elementary kids can relate to - single parent and extended family, melancholy moods at Christmas times, family history, problem solving, and acceptance. The story takes place in the 1940s so there's a history part, too, that adds to the plot. I liked reading this book myself as a young girl and still have it. Bantam/Skylark 1974

Ages 6-11



This Next New Year
by Janet S. Wong

Illustrated by Yangsook Choi. An Oppenheim Toy Portfolio GOLD Award and A Nick Jr. "Best Holiday Book". A young boy shares his anticipation and hope for the upcoming Lunar New Year The story highlights how people from a variety of backgrounds celebrate the Lunar New Year. This lyrically told story is matched by the vivid and captivating illustrations of Yangsook Choi. Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2000

Ages 7-10



Baboushka and the Three Kings
by Ruth Robbins Illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov

1961 Caldecott Medal winner for illustrations. The story is based on a Russian folk tale about an older peasant woman (Baboushka) who stays home to finish her chores instead of going with the three wise men. She regrets her decision and tries to find the wise men the next day but she is unsuccessful. Every year, she continues her search, and in the process delivers gifts to young children. Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2000

Ages Preschool-6



This Is the Star
by Joyce Dunbar; illustrated by Gary Blythe

A simple retelling of the three wise men following the star. The book is written in a repetitive and rhyming style which makes it fun for children to follow along as it is read to them. The illustrations are each a full page and a beautiful addition to the story. Random House Publishers




Llama Llama Holiday Drama
by Anna Dewdney

This book is a holiday favorite in my house. Llama makes holiday shopping almost unbearable, and although children find the use of rhyme and alliteration appealing, parents find it’s hysterically close to true. Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated

Ages 4-8



The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt; Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

I recommend this book for every child’s collection as a back to school must, but also a gift that will keep kids laughing all year long. Soon to be made into a movie, this book introduces children to personification in a unique and entertaining manner. A must have in your home library. Philomel 2013

Ages 4-8



Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story
by Albert Whitman Prairie; Illustrated by Daniel Minter

The seven principles of Kwanzaa are taught to readers in an interesting and engaging fashion. This story about brothers is surely a beautiful story to share with family and friends during the season. This book was honored with several awards including; The Best Children's Books of the Year, 2002 and Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 2001. Philomel 2013

Ages 7-10



Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama
by Selina Alko

This book is a great vehicle for teaching children about the marriage of religious and cultural differences. Lively illustrations bring the story to life in a story that is so common in many household. Knopf Books for Young Readers 2012

Ages 5-8



Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles
by Tami Lehman-Wilzig and Nicole Katzman

The main character of the book, Nathan a young boy with autism, and the story events were based on the author’s experiences with her own son. As two families share the Hanukkah rituals (lighting the menorah, playing the dreidel game, singing songs, and eating traditional foods), the reader is introduced to the different way Nathan interacts with his environment. The other characters learn empathy for those who are different and to celebrate those differences. It accurately portrays characteristics of some students with autism. It is also available as an e-book. Kar-Ben Publishing 2011

Ages 5-9



Dear Santa, Please Come to the 19th Floor
by Yin; illustrated by Chris Soentpiet

The author weaves some funny moments into this touching Christmas story set in a high rise apartment building in a poverty area of New York City. Willy and his friend Carlos, a young boy with a physical disability who uses a wheelchair, despair over their current circumstances - Santa never comes to their neighborhood. Willy secretly sends an email to Santa Claus asking him to come to their apartment on the 19th floor. When Santa arrives, he brings hope and some funny gifts to the tenants of the building. Although the picture book would appeal to children 5 years of age, the story itself would appeal to older children as well. Published by Puffin 2011

Ages 5-8



The Watchmaker Who Saved Christmas
by Bruce Whatley

Peter is a boy with a hearing loss who signs and reads lips. He and his mother live behind a watchmaker’s shop. The day before Christmas, a mysterious old man brings an old watch in for repairs. The watchmaker needs Peter’s help, and hearing aid, to repair the watch. On Christmas Eve, the old man returns and Peter and the watchmaker learn that they have repaired Santa’s special watch that slows down time so he can deliver all the gifts. Random House Australia 2012

Ages 6-12



A Real Christmas This Year
by Karen Lynn Williams

We like to support writers from Pittsburgh and Ms. Williams has both taught and written in our area. This book is about Megan, a middle school girl, who is trying to find a place at school and within her family. Her brother, Kevin, has multiple disabilities and his needs often create chaos in the household. The recent breakage of his assistive technology and its effects threatens to disrupt their Christmas festivities. This book realistically portrays family life and is often recommended for siblings of children with special needs. Published by Clarion Books 1995

Ages 9-15