What to Read After... A Christmas Carol

Published on: 08 December 2020

If you've devoured Charles Dickens' timeless tale of Christmas spirit, we've got the next books for you to enjoy...

Illustration from Barrington Stoke's A Christmas CarolIllustration from Barrington Stoke's A Christmas Carol

As it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, we’ve been thinking lots about the Christmas stories we love to share at this time of year. One of these is the truly wonderful A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, first published in 1843, and it seems we’re not alone - according to an article published in a national newspaper at the start of 2012, parents wanted their children to read Dickens' Christmas classic more than any other book during their lifetime. So if you need a recommendation for something new after reading A Christmas Carol, here are some ideas!

For retellings of this classic tale...

If you want to stay true to the classic nature of Dickens but read books with a more present-day plot to them, Michael Rosen and Tony Ross’ Bah! Humbug! is an unforgettable retelling of Charles Dickens' beloved book set within a school’s theatrical production of "A Christmas Carol" with a joyous, heartwarming and relevant message of family at its heart. Next, The Last of the Spirits by Chris Priestley is is a cleverly-written, genuinely thrilling and ghostly-gripping reinvention that gives you all the feelings of midwinter by borrowing and building on two very minor characters from the original. It’s so good that I’m sure it would absolutely have the authorly approval of Dickens himself!

Published this year is The Miracle on Ebenezer Street by Catherine Doyle, who has breathed new life into the timeless tale through her charming reimagining and delightfully quirky cast of characters and modern, magical adventure storyline. This is a book that everyone should wish to find wrapped up under their tree this Christmas.

If picture books and graphic novels are more your thing, the beautifully-illustrated, rhyming picture book retelling A Christmas Carol by Tony Mitton and Mike Redman is superb for introducing younger readers to the classic tale and the true meaning of Christmas. For older readers, the graphic novel of A Christmas Carol, illustrated by Brett Helquist, would be an equally brilliant choice.

Illustration by Quentin Blake from The Box of DelightsIllustration by Quentin Blake from The Box of Delights

For stories packed with Christmas magic and mystery...

If you’re looking for other memorable Christmas stories that have a classic feel to them, both The Box of Delights by John Masefield and The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper are considered to be two of the great works of modern children’s fiction, full of magic, mystery, folklore and tradition. For more contemporary classics, Katherine Rundell’s One Christmas Wish; Michael Morpurgo’s The Snowman: Inspired by the original story by Raymond Briggs; Matt Haig’s terrific trio of A Boy Called Christmas, The Girl Who Saved Christmas and Father Christmas and Me; and Ben Miller’s The Night I Met Father Christmas are all brimming with breathtaking magic and beautiful illustrations.

If you love a bit of historical fiction, The Snow Sister is a short, seasonal novella from the queen of historical fiction, Emma Carroll; and The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher with its magically-told story, set in a frost-bound Victorian mansion and about a stubborn crow who befriends orphan Seren, are perfect for whisking you away into winter and wonder.

For lovers of ghosts and ghouls...

For slightly scary Christmas reads, check out Ross Montgomery’s Christmas Dinner of Souls with its secret club of spooky members who despise Christmas and try to outdo one another by telling the most terrible, disgusting stories they know and which provides just the right dose of alternative festive cheer as well as plenty of chills and thrills that will appeal to readers.

 Illustration from The Clockwork CrowIllustration from The Clockwork Crow

For younger readers excited for Christmas...

If you’re looking to get in the festive mood and maybe think that A Christmas Carol is a little way off for your little ones, I can not leave this Christmas list of suggestions without mentioning How Winston Delivered Christmas: A Christmas Story in Twenty-Four-and-a-Half Chapters by Alex T. Smith which is a proper curl-up-by-the-crackling-fire book with its irresistibly-told story of the brave little mouse who sets out on an adventure on Christmas Eve. Featuring beautiful colour artwork from the author and Christmassy activities to make-and-do throughout, beginning from 1st December, this stunning advent-style-book is sure to become a festive family tradition that will be thoroughly enjoyed year after year.

For something a little different and that has just been published this year, Sibéal Pounder’s Tinsel: The Girls Who Invented Christmas re-evaluates how we think of the Santa story and how, for all this time, we might have been getting it just a bit wrong... So prepare for a truly funny, fresh, fizzing and feminist celebration of the true story of Mrs Claus and how its two formidable female protagonists bring this sparkling story to life.

Join in!

You've heard my suggestions - now we'd love you to tell us yours! What Christmas bookish delights are you wanting to curl up in the chair with or wishing to wake up to in your stocking on December 25th? 

We'd love to hear which books you've enjoyed sharing after reading A Christmas Carol! Let us know by leaving your comments in the box below, or by tweeting us @BookTrust, with the hashtag #WhatToReadAfter!

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