ON SALE – Thirteen Children’s Books for understanding the Christmas Story (one Spanish-language) – 20% off at Hearts & Minds

We have lots and lots of children’s books for all ages — from board books to picture books, fiction and nonfiction for kids and youth. We can make recommendations for all sorts of kids if we know something a bit about them.

It wouldn’t be the best Christmas season, though, without some little kid’s picture books about the holidays. Here in the midst of a somber Advent with wars and ugly politics and rising Covid rates again, we’re eager to find small joys where we can.

Here are some. All are 20% off. (Scroll down to the end to find the link to our secure order form page.) We don’t have tons of any of these, so order soon. We’ll reply promptly to confirm everything.

We don’t have all of the titles we shared in last year’s great list of Christmas children’s books, but check it out, too. We still have a lot of them.

Order now. We’ll get ‘em right out.  Ho, ho, ho.

Holy Night and Little Star: A Story for Christmas Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Khoa Le (Waterbrook) $15.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

We raved about a number of books written by Mitali Perkins in the last year or two (not least her Steeped in Stories which is an adult book reminding us of the joys and benefits of reading YA books.) This new Holy Night and Little Star is one of the best new nativity ones of the year, a companion to her allusive and brilliant Bare Tree and Little Wind. This tells the Biblical nativity story with a lovely view of Little Star who “loves to glow softly above Bethlehem’s low hills.” But when Make brings the galaxy together and starts handing out important new jobs, she begins to worry. (She likes things the way they are and doesn’t feel ready for big changes, as the back cover tells us.)

Of course the Holy Night comes. And listen to this — “the Child who’s changing everything is more familiar than she imagined?”

The artwork is truly wonderful. The human and animal scenes are soft watercolors and quite realistic — the slightly pained face on pregnant Mary’s face is the best I’ve seen, and Joseph bounding on a door with both hands makes their dilemma clear and poignant. But the angles and spiritual creatures are weird. I like that — it is good to shake off the views of sentimental renaissance cherubs and Hallmark angels — and there seems to be some sort of ethnic style here. In any case, the night is full of stars, some shaped like diamonds, which makes me think of Bruce Cockburn’s “All the Diamonds” but that’s just me. The color and swirls and vivid dark sky are unique enough, deeply envisioned, to capture everyones attention. Kudos.

The King of Christmas: All God’s Children Search for Jesus  Todd R Hains, illustrated by Natasha Kennedy (Lexham Press) $17.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

I hope you recall how we raved about the excellent The King of Easter: Jesus Searches for All God’s Children; this is an obvious companion, a lovely, great book — with a black holy family — which offers a clarity about the gospel and the point of the story that sends shivers. The end as it explains his resurrection and how He is present in the preaching of the Word, and shows a banquet, you’ll realize this is not merely a sentimental story about the birth of a baby. This is the King, the suffering servant, the One who reigns in grace among a renewed people. Nice. 

This is in a great set of books featuring a fat cat who shows up rather inconspicuously so it is called a FatCat book. The brand new one in that series just came out on the Ten Commandments by Harold Senkbeil, also illustrated by the talented Natasha Kennedy.

The Christmas Light Claudia Cangilla McAdam, illustrated by Igor Kovyar (Sophia Institute Press) $16.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.56

This conservative Catholic publisher has done some beautiful, rich, good books for little children and this one has an exceptionally realistic angle of vision, with lots of stone walls and strangers packed into the extra rooms of a Bethlehem innkeeper. It is a cold night and the daughter of the innkeeper gets up to tend a fire for warmth. As the publisher tells us, “…she approaches the newborn Baby asleep in the manger and has an encounter that changes her mood and alters her life forever.

This is a great retelling of the classic nativity story and shows to children how an encounter with Christ can change their lies, eternally. Moody, moving, beautiful.

Lullaby for the King Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Michelle Carlos (Beaming Books) $19.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

I saw a good article on the internet today from the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity saying “Let’s Keep Creation in Christmas” and I’m all for that. Song of the Stars (by Sally Lloyd-Jones) which shows all creation getting in on the praise of the newborn Babe, has been a favorite for years, in full size and board book. Yes and yes.

Lullaby for a King is about a caravan that “traveled through wilderness, uphill and down, for hours that spun into days.” It is not unusual for storytellers and children’s illustrators to talk about in the animals in the stable/manger/barn. But this is awe-inspiring; truly. Nikki Grimes, as you may know, is an esteemed, award-winning black poet, and here she spins a tale of unexpected animals wending their way to Bethlehem with gifts for the newborn King.

Each animal — coming from all over, so it’s imaginative — brings unique gifts. There is something magical and allusive and playful and yet deeply honoring in this wild tale; the art is big and bold. Hooray.

All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings Gayle Boss, illustrated by Sharon Spitz (Paraclete Press) $20.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.79

I mentioned this a few weeks ago in a children’s Advent list, but I just have to mention it again. Here is most of what I said last month:

In the last few years many customers have ordered — and re-ordered, to give away to friends and loved ones, even seekers who are not yet in the Christian world of Advent devotions — the original book by Gayle Boss, All Creation Waits: The Advent Mystery of New Beginnings, which wonderfully explores animal hibernation to allusively open up insights about night, waiting, new possibilities after a quiet season. The black and white illustrations in that volume are excellent, and it made sense when Paraclete last year issued a very handsome, bright red, deluxe, hardback gift edition. (And, as an aside, you should know the paperback Lenten edition, about animal extinction, called Wild Hope: Stories for Lent from the Vanishing, also with stunning illustrations by David Klein.)

This year, Paraclete released a stunning, full color children’s picture book edition. It has similar but considerable abbreviated text, amazing artwork, and is a generous, lavish, children’s Advent book unlike any you’ve ever seen.

In a nice word of advice in the beginning, author Gayle likens this book to an Advent calendar and encourages readers to only read one spread a day, reading and pondering, slowly. She writes,

This will not be easy. The pictures are beautiful and the animals amazing and you likely will want to rush ahead and see and read all twenty-five at once!

A bit later she explains,

You can join creatures in their Advent waiting by staying with just one animal each day. One Advent 1, sink down with Painted Turtle. On Advent 2, huddle with Muskrat. You’ll be excited to see who’s waiting for you each day. By December 25, you will have discovered that the animals companion us and speak to us.

There is more animal wonderment and facts at the end, with some very nifty ideas of things to do, so they should surely follow along with those things to learn and do.

The Christmas Swallow Ben Harris, illustrated by Estelle Corke (Lion Press) $13.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $11.19

  We love the UK publisher Lion and their children’s BIbles are among our favorites. This is lovely, nicely illustrated, telling in young child’s prose, the standard Christmas narrative. As the swallow flits around there are a few repetive pharses making this good for very young chlldren. The author, though, is a specialist in Classical Studies at Oxford.

What is special is how the swallow gives us the birds-eye view, and her presence in each spread is artful, curious, and just a bit symbolic (maybe?) Lovely.

All Is Bright.. When God Came Down One Silent Night Clay Anderson, illustrated by Natalie Merheb (Swing High! Children’s Books) $18.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.16

We enjoyed this simple telling of the story with some nice poetic cadences. There are a few lines that are just so well put…

We like that Jesus and Mary and Joseph are not at all white Europeans. There are various shades and hues among the shepherds appropriately, but the child-like angels are from all over the world. It’s nice.

There is, also, hidden in each picture, a Bible verse. You’ll find most of them easily, but your little ones will have to hunt (written on the leg of a table, over the door of a building, one in a shepherd’s crook. You’ll have to look up those verses, then, to see what they have to do with the story.)

Jesus te llam: La historia de Navidad Sarah Young illustrado por Katya Longhi (Grupo Nelson) $15.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

We don’t have a lot of demand for Spanish language children’s books we wanted to highlight at least one. This is oddly entitled Jesus Calling and it is by Sarah Young, but it is not her famous adult one. It is “the story of the nativity” and it is a fairly cute, straight explanation of the events of that first birth and the flight into Egypt. I don’t know Spanish so can’t say much but it is the standard Biblical story with lots of text and lots of illustration for la ninas y el ninos.

Saint Nicholas the Giftgiver Ned Bustard (IVP Kids) $18.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

You know our affection for this storyteller, artist, and book publisher (yes, this is by the manager of Square Halo Books.) This, though, is on a larger press and in hardcover — what a delight. We celebrated this last year — it is a little kid’s rhyming tale with playful art in Ned’s unique style. It is in the cadence of “The Night Before Christmas” and you will learn quite a lot about at least some of the legends of this ancient Saint.

But what is the truth,

And what are the legends?
Who is this giftgiver,

And why all the presents?

Another super-fun matter: a half a year ago Mr. B and IVP did an equally vivid and even more interesting book on Saint Patrick. It’s fantastic. And — yep, get this: soon, his brand new one on Saint Valentine is coming. Ned has a blend of highly liturgical instincts and Reformed theology, all hued more colorful by his artistic sensibilities. These three colorful books are tons of fun and quite informative. We are, of course, taking PRE-ORDERS for Saint Valentine the Kindhearted which I suspect will be out soon.

Joy to the World! Christmas Around the Globe Kate DePalma, illustrated by Sophie Fates (Barefoot Books) $17.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

Most years we look for a well done book of this nature, playful, fun, interesting, full of the many different customs/ways of celebrating experienced around the world. We like the multi-cultural stuff, we appreciate the invitation to realize that Jesus’s birth is not just an American custom, and that many families from all over have fun customs and traditions. Not to get to philosophical about it, but you may recall that webinar we hosted with author Paul Metzger (and his book on the liturgical calendar, Setting the Spiritual Clock); well, these little customs and habits are pushing back against global modernity and what Paul calls “secular creep.” Who knew this colorful book was so important!

Joy to the World! Is all that one more. It is moderately detailed (not too much, though — it is a picture book designed for younger ones) and introduced Christmas traditions from 13 countries around the world. It has a small section about the Coptic Church in Egypt and explains the ancient congregations of Lebanon and the Middle East.

All About…Christmas Alison Mitchell (The Good Book Company) $17.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

We enjoy many of the solid books from The Good Book Company (from the UK.) They are Biblically faithful, always with a good sense of the gospel. They are Christ-centered, God-glorifying, and always well done. This one is, as one reviewer put it, “Chock-full of amazing pictures and facts and figures. Just wonderful!!”

This is one of those nifty resources for curious children who like real history, encyclopedias, factoids. This admits that the beloved Christmas story is 2,000 years old and it is interesting to ask how we know it is even true.

This allows kids to dig into the Christmas story (from Matthew and Luke) to investigate what life was like in that time and place and to discover why we still celebrate this birth. In a way, this handsome, colorful, engaging book is good for all ages, with plenty to learn, lots of pictures (of everything from Roman soldiers to the nature of sheep to modern day holiday customs from around the world.)

Christmas: 25 Stories About Jesus’ Arrival The Action Bible, art by Sergio Cariello (David C. Cook) $19.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

This is slightly oversized, with well told stories dipping in to various parts of the story, starting with Isaiah, unfolding it, closer and closer to the birth. It’s full of action and adventure and yet nuance and thought-provoking questions. It is fun, great for families to read together, inviting young readers into the story. What would you feel if an angel invited you to see Jesus? Or if you were a young astronomer who noticed a new star in the sky? Or a donkey??

What’s fun is that on each facing page is a drawing from the comic book / graphic novel illustrations of The Action Bible. As you know, it’s a regular seller (especially for boys, but certainly not only for boys) by by Cariello who has left a mark in the world of DC Comics and Marvel Comics.

The Lion Book of Five-Minute Christmas Stories John Goodwin, illustrated by Richard Johnson (Lion Press) $12.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $10.39

Maybe you are gifted enough to paraphrase with color and whimsy the stories of Mary and the angel, Joseph’s dream, the no room in the inn bit, on through the warning dream, King Herod, and such. If not, no worries — this nicely made paperback Book of Five-Minute Christmas Stories is just perfect. They are each told warmly with wit and energy, some in the first person, creatively. A kid could read them, but they are designed to be read aloud. The art is nice, rich, playful, but not odd.There are nine Bible-based stories included in Five Minute Christmas Stories and the last is a very creative story about the first Christmas tree.




It is helpful if you tell us how you want us to ship your orders.And if you are doing a pre-order, tell us if you want us to hold other books until the pre-order comes, or send some now, and others later… we’re eager to serve you in a way that you prefer. Let us know your hopes.

The weight and destination of your package varies but you can use this as a quick, general guide:

There are generally two kinds of US Mail options and, of course, UPS.  If necessary, we can do overnight and other expedited methods, too. Just ask.

  • United States Postal Service has the option called “Media Mail” which is cheapest but can be a little slower. For one typical book, usually, it’s $4.12; 2 lbs would be $4.87. This is the cheapest method available and seems not to be too delayed.
  • United States Postal Service has another, quicker option called “Priority Mail” which is $8.50, if it fits in a flat-rate envelope. Many children’s books and some Bibles are oversized so that might take the next size up which is $9.20. “Priority Mail” gets much more attention than does “Media Mail” and is often just a few days to anywhere in the US.
  • UPS Ground is reliable but varies by weight and distance and may take longer than USPS. Sometimes they are cheaper than Priority. We’re happy to figure out your options for you once we know what you want.

If you just want to say “cheapest” that is fine. If you are eager and don’t want the slowest method, do say so. It really helps us serve you well so let us know. Keep in mind the possibility of holiday supply chain issues and slower delivery… still, we’re excited to serve you. Blessed Advent.


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Hearts & Minds 234 East Main Street  Dallastown  PA  17313

Sadly, as of December 2023 we are still closed for in-store browsing. COVID is not fully over and is on the rise. Since few are reporting their illnesses anymore, it is tricky to know the reality but the best measurement is to check the waste water tables to see the amount of virus in the eco-system. It is bad and now getting worse. It’s important to be aware of how risks we take might effect the public good — those at risk, while not dying from the virus, are experiencing long-term health consequences. (Just check the latest reports of the rise of heart attacks and diabetes among younger adults, caused by Covid.) It is complicated, but we are still closed for in-store browsing due to our commitment to public health (and the safety of our family who live here, our staff, and customers.) Our store is a bit cramped without top-notch ventilation, so we are trying to be wise. Thanks for understanding.

We will keep you posted about our future plans… we are eager to reopen. Pray for us.

We are doing our curb-side and back yard customer service and can show any number of items to you if you call us from our back parking lot. It’s sort of fun, actually. We are eager to serve and grateful for your patience as we all work to mitigate the pandemic. We are very happy to help, so if you are in the area, do stop by. We love to see friends and customers.

We are happy to ship books anywhere. 

We are here 10:00 – 6:00 EST /  Monday – Saturday. Closed on Sunday.