When we home-schooled, read alouds were a big part of our education around here. All of my kids liked to read and be read to. The book I always read to my little boys, (now 15 and 12) is, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. The story is sweet and simple and moves me to tears every time I get to the end and read about Imogene Herdman playing the part of Mary with oh-so-much reverence. My little boys are not so little anymore, in fact Austen is now taller than me, but I plan on getting that book out and reading it to them again this year!
Here's a simple, enchanting tale. It's warm and funny and thoroughly unpredictable. It's published in a short and skinny book in large type and, assuming you can tear yourself away from the story, it can be read in small spurts.
The Herdmans are absolutely and without question the worst kids "in the entire history of the world." They are guilty of evey unmentionable childhood crime and have thought of more than a few original ones. When they take over the church Christmas pageant (although none of them has ever attended church, much less heard the Christmas story before), the first Christmas becomes new and real in some pretty surprising ways.
Never mind that the publishers call this a children's story. It isn't. The vision it has to offer is hilarious yet deeply touching in a profound yet innocent way.