24 days of story: picture book advent calendar + printable template

I’m so excited about this project: an advent calendar that brings picture books to life! Count down all 24 days to Christmas by reading a seasonally-themed picture book and an activity that goes with it—and I promise they’re super simple. Scroll down for the details!



The beauty is that you can do the activity without each book in case you or your library doesn’t have them. But ideally, it’s all about celebrating book-brought-to-life magic. (Of course your calendar can be in whatever order you like or with books you choose too!)

advent-calendar-flagsEach paper flag has a book title and a simple craft or activity—from making a paper snowflake to writing a letter to a friend to giving away something you own. And I put together a template you can print to make it as easy as possible!





What you need:

24 candy sticks (I got mine here in Los Angeles, but you can buy them online or use readily available candy canes as well)


Glue gun


Marker (silver or whatever you like)

Printable template

Optional: rice


Print out the template. Cut along the lines so you have 24 paper slips, one for each book/activity.

Fold each slip in half and cut a triangle shape out of one end (you can make some right and some left-facing flags if you like). Write the corresponding number on the paper (or save this step for last).

Using a glue gun, glue each paper flag around a candy stick.

Put your candies in a cup or vase or mug. I poured rice in the bottom to elevate the sticks so I could see more of those colorful stripes.





Here’s how I’ve broken down the calendar (and remember, you can follow this without the craft part too).


No Two Alike by Keith Baker.



Fox’s Garden by Princess Camcam.



Dear Yeti by James Kwan.



At the Same Moment around the World by Clotilde Perrin.



Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky.




The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers.



The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.



A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh.



The Wonderful Fluffly Little Squishy by Beatrice Alemagna.



Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Julie Morstad.



Julia, Child words by Kyo Maclear, pictures by Julie Morstad.



Santa Through the Window by Taro Gomi.



Peace is an Offering words by Annette LeBox, pictures by Stephanie Graegin.



Making a Friend by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal.



Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins and G. Brian Karas.



A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis.


a-letter-for-bearA Letter for Bear by David Lucas.



Sparkle and Spin by Ann & Paul Rand.



Penguin & Pinecone by Salina Yoon.



The Steadfast Tin Soldier retold by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Jen Corace.


stars-picture-bookStars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee.


something-extraordinary-ben-clantonSomething Extraordinary by Ben Clanton.



imogene's-antlersImogene’s Antlers by David Small.




Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jane Dyer.


I’ll be counting down the days, doing many of the activities. You can follow along on my Instagram @writesinla to see!



Wishing you a joyful holiday season full of books and other wonderful things!



snow_queen_advent_calendarYou might also like last year’s 12 Days of Story: The Snow Queen Advent Calendar.







24 Responses to 24 days of story: picture book advent calendar + printable template

  1. kateywrites says:

    I love it! So many favorites here!

  2. Wendy Wahman says:

    Love this!

  3. Such a fabulous idea!

  4. Very clever! A perfect gift too. Love it! I wish someone would make it for me. 😉

  5. This is awesome, Danielle. Really, awesome.

    I never quite got the advent calendar thing… until now! This is such a thoughtful, sweet and fun idea! I love it, and I want to do it myself (I might adapt the idea for my teaching, if you don’t mind). This is exactly how books come alive in the mind of the reader.

    For the record, I don’t usually go so overboard with the compliments. 😉

  6. makeitquirk says:

    This is an amazing list!!! Just maxed out my holds at the library requesting all of these! Love your blog<3

  7. Mary Jo says:

    I think my favorite is Day 21 — LOVE that and love the whole advent idea! I hang up 24 of my kids’ baby socks and put a note in each day with an activity to do, place to visit, event to go to, etc. Kids love it and seeing this has given me some fab ideas for activities! Thank you!

  8. Ben Clanton says:

    Great idea!! And thanks for including Something Extraordinary!

  9. Local Ecologist | Georgia says:

    Great idea! I like the educational/reading/family time component to your advent calendar tradition. (I hope to recreate the book reading aspect of this DIY on my blog, crediting you.)

  10. Bonnie Eng says:

    This is such a cute idea, and “Day 11” is my favorite! 🙂

  11. I love seeing so many favorites on this calendar! And this reminds me that I need to buy more filler sticks for the glue gun as the holidays approach…

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