When children struggle with reading for any reason, books can become a battlefield. Our suggestions of Christmas books for reluctant readers feature brilliant artwork, accessible lengths, fun activities and specific dyslexia-friendly titles to help make reading fun again. Ring in the festive season with this selection of brilliant wintry reads!

Shop Christmas books for reluctant readers

Early Readers for 5+

I Killed Father Christmas by Anthony McGowan and Chris Riddell

When Mum and Dad’s arguing convinces Jo-Jo that Christmas has been cancelled and it’s all his fault, he decides to make amends – he will become Father Christmas and bring the holiday to everyone on his street! Heartwarming, family-friendly story with gorgeous artwork from Chris Riddell. This book is in Barrington Stoke’s Little Gems range and has dyslexia-friendly features including special paper and design.

Snow in the Garden: A First Book of Christmas by Shirley Hughes

Classic Shirley Hughes! This is a super collection of Christmassy stories, poems, recipes and craft activities, featuring her trademark illustrations – sure to inspire nostalgia in adult readers. Great for adults and young readers to enjoy together and easy to dip into for anyone who might just need a quick reading fix without being overwhelmed.

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How Winston Delivered Christmas by Alex T. Smith

Great ‘advent calendar’-style read for the lead-up to Christmas. With a chapter-a-day for December reading, the story follows a little mouse called Winston as he tries to deliver a letter to Father Christmas, with each chapter including festive craft activities. Great for struggling readers with lots of natural rest stops. And we love Alex T. Smith’s illustrations here at Barrington Stoke! 

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig and Chris Mould

Fun, heartwarming story with an important message, this is a perfect winter read from bestselling duo Matt Haig and inky genius Chris Mould. The Truth Pixie can only say things that are true but can a little honesty help a little girl when she needs it most? Told entirely in rhyme, the lyrical pace and rhythm will support kids as they begin reading independently.

Young Fiction for 8+

The Dog That Saved Christmas by Nicola Davies and Mike Byrne

A very special and inclusive story for everyone who might not love this time of year. Christmas is a nightmare for Jake – he hates the lights, the noise, and the disruption to his routine. But everything changes when he finds a lost dog and forms a special bond, helping him cope with the things that usually stress him out. Maybe there’s a chance that this Christmas will be one the whole family can enjoy. This book is in the Barrington Stoke range and has dyslexia-friendly features including special paper and design.

Hamish and the Terrible, Terrible Christmas by Danny Wallace and Jamie Littler

Hugely fun and laugh-out-loud short story from a brilliant series. The Terribles are set to ruin Christmas for everyone in Starkley but can Hamish and friends stop them? Packed full of humour and rollicking along at a fast pace, reluctant readers can’t help but get sucked into this wonderful world created by former comedian-turned-writer Danny Wallace

Freeze, by Chris Priestly

When Maya and her classmates are asked to write a creepy story with a winter theme, they come up with some brilliant ideas. Rising floodwaters uncover long-buried bodies and ghostly children take to the ice on a frozen canal. But as each of the stories is read out in class, Maya grows more and more uncomfortable. She features in each of her friends’ creepy tales and they start to feel a little too real. Finally, when a mysterious new girl stands up to read the last story of the day, the light outside dims and it starts to snow. The classroom starts to freeze but everyone is trapped. Can Maya stop the story before the nightmare comes true?

The White Fox, Jackie Morris

The day the fox came things began to change for Sol. Lost, alone and far away from home, Sol feels a deep connection with the little Arctic fox he discovers down at the Seattle docks – he too feels lost in the big city. Dad is always busy working and Sol misses the grandparents they have left behind. So Sol decides to take the little fox back home, reuniting his own family in the process.

Race to the Frozen North, Catherine Johnson

Matthew Henson was simply an ordinary man. That was, until Commander Robert E. Peary entered his life, and offered him a chance at true adventure. Henson would become navigator, craftsman, translator, and right-hand man on a treacherous journey to the North Pole. Defying the odds and the many prejudices that faced him to become a true pioneer. This is his incredible and often untold story. P

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Written in just a few weeks, A Christmas Carol famously recounts the plight of Bob Cratchit, whose family finds joy even in poverty, and the transformation of his miserly boss Scrooge as he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. From Scrooge’s “Bah!” and “Humbug!” to Tiny Tim’s “God bless us every one!” A Christmas Carol shines with warmth, decency, kindness, humility, and the value of the holidays. But beneath its sentimental surface, A Christmas Carol offers another of Dickens’s sharply critical portraits of a brutal society, and an inspiring celebration of the possibility of spiritual, psychological, and social change.

This new selection contains a brief biography of the author, description of characters in the beginning and summary of the book, plat analysis and a quiz for kids at the end.

By Barrington Stoke

All Barrington Stoke fiction has dyslexia-friendly features. The tinted paper and dyslexia-friendly font offer a smoother read for everyone. To look at the range or for more information, visit www.barringtonstoke.co.uk

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