Christmas Living Book List


Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! In our home, we love to pour mugs of hot chocolate and snuggle up to read living books together by the lit Christmas tree. There something about those twinkling lights that spreads a calmness over everyone. It creates the perfect atmosphere for reading.

These picture books have been carefully selected for your family to enjoy throughout the Christmas season. Merry Christmas!

Picture Books:


The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas: An Austin Family Story by Madeleine L’Engle


The True Gift by Patricia MacLachlan


The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore


Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble


The Miracle of Saint Nicholas by Gloria Whelan


The Mitten by Jan Brett


The Hat by Jan Brett

welcome comfort

Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco


Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco


The Twelve Days of Christmas Illustrated by Jan Brett


Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown


The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown


The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett


Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin


The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg


Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? by Jan Brett


Night Tree by Eve Bunting


Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola


Winter’s Gift by Jane Monroe Donovan


The Gingerbread Man Retold by Jim Aylesworth

gingerbread baby

Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett


Gingerbread Friends by Jan Brett

Audio Books:

thenightbefore christmas

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

Narrated by Meryl Streep

*on Audible


The Steadfast Tin Solider by Hans Christian Anderson

Narrated by Jeremy Irons

*on Audible

letters from father christmas

Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Narrated by Derek Jacobi, John Moffatt, Christian Rodska

*on Audible

christmas with anne

Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories by L.M. Montgomery

holiday classics

Holiday Classics by O. Henry

Narrated by multiple narrators

*on Audible

a christmas carol

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Narrated by Derek Miller

*on Audible


Advent Living Book List


The Nourishing Feast has been created around the love for Living Books. In December, families gather together and take time to remember the birth of Jesus our Savior. What better way to slow down and enjoy this season than with living books?

These picture books are not essential to Advent, but they will add a beautiful rhythm to your time together as a family.

Picture Books:

jotham's journey

Jotham’s Journey: A Storybook for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide

Our family is using this as a devotional. There is a short story and bible verses for each day of Advent. The book gives children a better understanding of the cultural aspects of the time Jesus was born.


An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco


On This Special Night by Claire Freedman


The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats


Bright Christmas An Angel Remembers by Andrew Clements


The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski


The Story of the Three Wise Kings by Tomie dePaola


Room for a Little One A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell


One Candle by Eve Bunting


The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden


Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco


The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston

Audio Books:

You can purchase these audo books through Audible or check your local library.


The Savior is Born by Brian Gleeson

Narrated by Morgan Freeman


The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne

Narrated by Brian Kennedy


The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman

Narrted by Jim Dale

We hope these books give your family the opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus and remind you of the importance to share His love with everyone this season!

Serving Your Family a Charlotte Mason Education


Close your eyes. Picture a feast broadly spread on a long wooden table. That picture in your mind depicts how Charlotte Mason described the abundance of ideas that we should make readily available to our children.

We spread an abundant and delicate feast in the programmes and each small guest assimilates what he can. – Charlotte Mason (Vol. 6, p. 183).

Are you preparing a daily feast for your family? Charlotte shared her words of wisdom in Towards a Philosophy of Education using the following guidelines:

“We, believing that the normal child has powers of mind which fit him to deal with all knowledge proper to him, give him a full and generous curriculum, taking care only that all knowledge offered to him is vital, that is, that facts are not presented without their informing ideas.”

“In devising a syllabus for a normal child, of whatever social class, three points must be considered” (Vol 6, p.154)

(a) “He requires much knowledge, for the mind needs sufficient food as much as does the body.”

A slice of warm bread and butter are quite scrumptious, but they cannot be considered a balanced diet for your children. The body needs suitable nourishment to be able to complete all of the tasks at hand. A Charlotte Mason education supplies children with an abundance of knowledge using living ideas, not dry facts. After all, who would want to eat a cold turkey leg when you could have a bird of paradise?

(b) “The knowledge should be various, for sameness in mental diet does not create appetite (i.e., curiosity).”

Feasts fit for kings and queens would include a variety of foods that had been carefully selected for the special occasion. Their guests would have eagerly awaited for each course to be served. They would be mesmerized by the complexity of each of the dishes presentations and flavor. Charlotte Mason strived to provide all children with a broad feast of ideas. At The Nourishing Feast, we will equip you with a curriculum that includes a wide variety of subjects, materials and parent guides that show you how to teach your children in the Charlotte Mason method.

(c) “Knowledge should be communicated in well-chosen language because his attention responds naturally to what is conveyed in literary form.”

Every dish at a feast has been crafted with the best ingredients one can find. Why should we think any differently when it comes to our children’s education? We should seek to find the most well-written Living Books.

Our goal is to serve a nourishing feast using a wide variety of delectable dishes.

Are you ready to share a feast with your family?

What is Narration?


A child is on an afternoon walk with her mother to a nearby lake. She sees a bird hovering over the water . In the next instant, the bird dives down and creates a huge splash. The bird emerges and flaps his wings to dry them, before flying away to a nearby tree. As the bird is retreating, the child notices it has caught a fish with its beak. The little girl and her mother finish their walk and return home. At the dinner table, the father said, “Tell me all you saw at the lake today.” The child excitedly began telling about her observations. “There was a bird with brown wings and a white head flying over the water.” “The bird dived into the water and created a huge splash. When the bird came out of the water it moved it’s wings back and forth really fast. I saw a fish as long as a pencil in the bird’s mouth.”

Have you ever imagined your child sharing their experiences in this way? This was an exercise in narration that holds the exactness and carefulness of a lesson.

So, what is a narration?

“Narrating is an art, like poetry-making or painting, because it is there, in every child’s mind, waiting to be discovered, and is not the result of any process of disciplinary education. A creative fiat calls it forth. ‘Let him narrate’; and the child narrates, fluently, copiously, in ordered sequence, with fit and graphic details, with a just choice of words, without verbosity or tautology, so soon as he can speak with ease.” (Vol 1, p. 231)

Narration is at the center of an education using Charlotte Mason’s methods. From the moment your child can talk, they will be telling you about everything that interests them.    One day I took my children to a building workshop at a local hardware store. The moment we got in the car my son started telling me how he created his new treasure. He was narrating his experience and telling me everything he remembered about it. By the time a child becomes of school age, narration is already an established natural way for them to express their knowledge.

“What we have perhaps failed to discover hitherto is the immense hunger for knowledge (curiosity) existing in everyone and the immeasurable power of attention with which everyone is endowed; that everyone likes knowledge best in a literary form; that the knowledge should be exceedingly various concerning many things on which the mind of man reflects; but that knowledge is acquired only by what we may call “the act of knowing,” which is both encouraged and tested by narration, and which further requires the later test and record afforded by examinations.” (Vol 6, p. 290-291)

I once heard about a child describe what it was like to homeschool using Charlotte Mason’s methods. She simply stated “we read, we tell and then we know.”

So, how can you do a narration? 

Narration can be used in all school subjects and a variety of experiences. This method is one of the simplest and yet most foundational ways a child can learn. I have included Charlotte’s word below on the method of a lesson.

“In every case the reading should be consecutive from a well-chosen book. Before the reading for the day begins, the teacher should talk a little (and get the children to talk) about the last lesson, with a few words about what is to be read, in order that the children may be animated by expectation; but she should beware of explanation and, especially, of forestalling the narrative.” (Vol 1, p. 232-233)

“A corollary of the principle that education is the science of relations, is, that no education seems to be worth the name which has not made children at home in the world of books, and so related them, mind to mind, with thinkers who have dealt with knowledge. We reject epitomes, compilations, and their like, and put into children’s hands books which, long or short, are living.” (Vol 3, p.226)

1.Use a Living Book appropriate for the lesson at hand. Charlotte Mason never rushed through the reading of a book, but instead spread the readings out over terms. Ask your child to tell you what we learned about in the last lesson.

“Then, she may read two or three pages, enough to include an episode; after that, let her call upon the children to narrate,––in turns, if there be several of them. (Vol 1, p. 233)

2. Read a selection from a Living Book and ask the child to tell you what they read or was read aloud to them. If you have several children participating in the lesson, be sure to have each of them narrate. The first child may start the narration and the other may add-on more details. Be sure to take turns choosing which child you would like to narrate first.

“A single reading is insisted on, because children have naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated by the re-reading of passages, and also, by questioning, summarising. and the like.” (Vol 6, Preface)

3. Be sure to read the selection only once to reinforce the habit of attention.

“A narration should be original as it comes from the child––that is, his own mind should have acted upon the matter it has received. Narrations which are mere feats of memory are quite valueless.” (Vol 1, p. 289)

4. Encourage your child to narrate in their own words. This is a great opportunity for your child to include any connections he has made with the reading.

“The teacher does not talk much and is careful never to interrupt a child who is called upon to ‘tell.’ The first efforts may be stumbling but presently the children get into their ‘stride’ and ‘tell’ a passage at length with surprising fluency.” (Vol 6, p.172)

5. Try not to interrupt your child, during their narration.

When should you start formal narrations with your child?

Narrations can take many different forms through a child’s developmental ages and a Charlotte Mason Education.

“begins with the toddling persons of two and three who talk a great deal to each other and are surely engaged in ‘telling’ though no grown-up, not even a mother, can understand.” (Vol 6, p.190)

“Until he is six, let Bobbie narrate only when and what he has a mind to. He must not be called upon to tell anything.” (Vol 1, p.231)

1.Before the age of six, children will readily tell you about something that has interested them. We call this an informal narration. During these ages, Charlotte tells us never to ask a child to do a formal narration.

“So probably young children should be allowed to narrate paragraph by paragraph.” (Vol 6, p.191)

2.At the age of six, most children need to have their selections read aloud to them. Start with one paragraph and ask your child to give an oral narration, after reading the paragraph. When your child is comfortable with the art of narration, it is time to increase the reading section to several paragraphs and then gradually work up to several pages.

“As soon as children are able to read with ease and fluency, they read their own lesson, either aloud or silently,” (Vol 1, p. 233)

“children of seven or eight will ‘tell’ chapter by chapter” (Vol 6, p.191)

3.A child of seven or eight has begun to strengthen their independent reading abilities and can be asked to read some of the selections on their own. Their narrations should be more detailed and be about longer passages or chapters.

“On the whole, it is more useful to be able to speak than to write, and the man or woman who is able to do the former can generally do the latter.” (Vol 3, p.88)

4.Around the age of nine, children will begin transitioning to written narrations. Start by asking your child to give you an oral narration and then you transcribing their narration on paper. It will show them the relationship between their ideas and putting them on paper.

5. When the child is ten, their oral narrations and handwriting fluency should allow them to transition to the next step. Start having them do a written narration once a week. Gradually increase the amount of frequency and subjects for written narrations. In a Charlotte Mason Education, written narrations never take the place of oral narrations.

“Oral composition is the habit of the school from the age of six to eighteen.” (Vol 6, p.269-270)

“As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should ‘tell back’ after a single reading or hearing: or should write on some part of what they have read.” (Vol 6, Preface)

Be patient. Just like any new skill, it will take time for your child to feel confident in their narration ability.

Are you ready to equip your child with the art of narration?

Click here to download a free Guide for Parents: Narration. This is a great guide to share with family members or friends interested in learning more about the art of narration.

What is a Living Book?


Living Books were the spines in a Charlotte Mason education. She only used living books that were written from a first hand experience, rather than textbooks with dry facts. The living books had a narrative quality and seemed to “come alive.”

Mason believed books that contained ‘twaddle’ should be avoided, as well as books with content that “dumbed down” the text for children.

When you hold a living book, you feel like you are being given a luxurious gift. The illustrations were hand-drawn or painted by a talented artist. The pages were laid out with ample amounts of “white space” around the text to allow the eye to rest and focus.

Living books are timeless and classic. Every generation cherishes them and they leave you with an impression long after the book is finished.

When your child reads a living book, it will spark their imagination and create a slideshow of mental imagery.

The stories will stir your emotions and the characters will pull you into their world.

Living books have beautifully expressed language and words that have layers of meanings.

Will you choose to provide your child with a rich literary heritage using living books?