A Very Merry ELS-y Christmas!

We’re two days away from ‘the big day’ and our fourth festive countdown has come to an end for another year. Over the past four weeks, we’ve recommended some brilliant books we think are worth spending some time with and we hope that you at least have the chance to encounter a few of the sixteen titles our ELS team have listed on our blog since December began. You’ll find them all here: week one, week two and week three– week four is below, and they’re seasonably themed as you’ll see…!

We’ll be a little quiet here until January rolls around but in the meantime, we’d like to say a huge thank you to anyone who has read our blog this year; as always, we appreciate the support and we hope that you have a fabulous festive break, however you may be celebrating!


  • The Refuge by Anne Booth, illustrated by Sam Usher

A thoughtful and very relevant version of the nativity story, bringing out the theme of outsiders looking for a refuge, for kindness and generosity of spirit. It has a simple but telling text, and attractive illustrations.

(Nosy Crow, £7.99 paperback, ISBN 9780857637710, find it at a Norfolk Library)

  • The Christmas Eve Ghost by Shirley Hughes

I love this semi-autobiographical Christmas story, which is about overcoming ignorance and showing kindness and tolerance. Set in the poor streets of Liverpool before the war, it is full of Hughes’ characteristically warm illustrations, but the story is about the harsh life of a widow having to earn money and struggling to bring up two children in the city, and about being prepared to accept help from neighbours even if they seem different from one’s own background.

(Walker Books, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781406338492, find it at a Norfolk Library)

  • The Queen’s Present By Steve Antony

In two tones of Christmassy red and green, this fun, slight story shows the Queen being carried by Father Christmas via various countries to the North Pole to find the perfect present for her toddler grandchildren (must be going back a bit!). She thinks she hasn’t found one, but ends up back at Sandringham in time for her grandchildren to happily claim their best present: a cuddle from grandma.

(Hachette Children’s, £11.99 hardback, ISBN 9781444925630)

  • The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig, illustrated by Chris Mould

With black and white illustrations by Chris Mould which complement the story perfectly, this is a magical festive feast involving everyone from trolls to Queen Victoria, Father Christmas to Charles Dickens! Although touching on the terrible conditions of the Victorian poor, the red and sparkly cover indicates this is not too serious a read, and we know that with Father Christmas’ kindness and a sprinkle of magic, everything will turn out right in the end.

(Canongate, £12.99 hardback, ISBN 9781782118572, find it at a Norfolk Library)


Thanks again to Liam Drane for his lending us his exceptional design skills this year; we very much appreciate your illustrative wizardry!


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