Tag Archives: diy advent calendar

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.







the snow queen advent calendar + craft giveaway!



I wanted to make an advent calendar for This Picture Book Life that would work for anyone and everyone. Turns out it’s more than an advent calendar. It’s a story activity that could be used other times, too!

12 installments of a tale unfolding where the story is the treat! Wondering about it. Guessing the next part. The delayed gratification of the very end. (Can you tell I’ve been listening to the Serial podcast? I’m obsessed. Are you?)


“The Snow Queen” fairy tale is a favorite of mine and super great for the holiday season. It’s wintry, of course. Not only that, it’s really about love and friendship, the bond between a boy and girl who are best friends. Their special connection is the only thing strong enough to overcome the iciest heart.

(Also, kid lit fans might want to check out Anne Ursu’s middle grade novel, Breadcrumbs, a wonderful take on “The Snow Queen” for older kids and a great read aloud too.)



Here’s how you can make yours:

*Download the following PDF. Click the link and print it out and you’re pretty much ready to go!


*Cut up each day’s section and tuck it into an envelope. (We made origami envelopes out of pretty papers, but any one would do.)

*Label the envelopes according to the days, one through twelve.

*Tie your envelopes together, stack them, put them up with clothespins on twine, or carry them with you!

*Read the section of “The Snow Queen” from each envelope aloud every day until the end! You can start any day in December (or beyond).



I  adapted my abridged version of “The Snow Queen” from An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova. (Stay tuned for a giveaway of that book very soon!)








I hope you’re inspired to make this Snow Queen advent calendar! Send me a photo for sure if you do! Or enter to win this very one for your home or classroom!



Enter to win my handmade 12 Days of Story by using the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Giveaway ends Thursday, December 4th; open to N. America only—sorry about that, far-flung international readers! I’ll email the randomly chosen winner for their mailing address.)