Amid shelves of countless words, pictures and stories are a few books that have stood the test of time.
These classics have moved from the imagination of the authors to family traditions that last generations. This is true especially around Christmas, when the warn pages mark nostalgia surrounding the holiday season.
“At this time of year, people are more focused on family,” said Mandy Martin, youth services coordinator at the McPherson Public Library. “A lot of people use that as their tradition. I think that’s important to be able to have things you share each year.”
Librarians at the McPherson Public Library and the McPherson Middle School said some of the children’s books checked out most during the Christmas season are “The Night Before Christmas,” “Polar Express,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and “A Christmas Carol.”
Martin said she thinks their popularity could be because they were made into movie productions and the themes are often discussed in classroom settings.
This might also be true because for some children, Christmas never ends.
“Children pick Christmas books year round,” she said. “Christmas is just a thing kids are always looking forward to.”
The McPherson Public Library has 492 children’s Christmas-themed books.
Gail Becker, McPherson Middle School librarian, begins featuring her Christmas books soon after Thanksgiving. As she presents book talks, she knows the students recognize the titles.
“Kids were coming in, and as they did, they were reciting parts of the poem,” she said of “The Night Before Christmas.” “It kind of rings a bell for them.”
Although many appreciate the classics, a number of newer books are popular this year, local librarians said. This includes “A Bad Kitty Christmas,” and “The Greek Who Stole Christmas.” Both are additions to series whose authors are already recognizable to readers.
“I think they enjoy reading a Christmas book during the Christmas season,” Becker said. “All kids do. I think that’s a part of it.”
Becker also has noticed many are reading older books on new technology, such as eBooks.
“I think that’s pretty neat,” she said. “This is a generation of kids who will be doing a lot of their reading on a digital device. They’re comfortable with that. I think the future is going to be moving in that direction.”
But regardless of the title or how it’s read, tradition will continue.
“They’ll always be read during the season,” Becker said. “I'll put it out next year, and they’ll be checked out again.”