PKC Gift Giving Guide: Our favorite 15 books for your kids’ Holiday List!
Written by Sarah Lefebvre, WCKC
I am that person who gifts books for Christmas. I love to read and I love to find books that kids will enjoy reading too. These are not necessarily new books but hopefully they are new to you! The following books are either personal favorites or are well-loved by close family and friends.
The selections are intended to cover a variety of interests and ages.
#1 Counting on Community Since we love the first book by this author, A is for Activism, we knew we had to buy this book for our toddler. The book counts all the items and activities that we find in this diverse community. The story encourages children to see the value in their community. Plus there is a duck to find on every page! Ages 1-3.
#2 Fingers for Lunch by Brandt Lewis I bought this book for my nephew (shh don’t tell) because it looks like it is an engaging way to play and read with an infant. This book with its fun illustrations and creative dye cuts allow infants (or parents) to put fingers through the books’ holes and have them be part of the food to eat. Ages 1-4.
#3 Feel Better by Henning Lo-Hein – An Usborne book that has a sing song story about what to say and do when someone gets hurt. Each animal gets a boo-boo and then the reader must take a bandage off the cover page (reusable!) and put it on each animal’s bump or bruise. My daughter loves caring for these animals and giving them kisses and bandages. Ages 2-5.
#4 Day Dreamers & Dream Animals by Emily Winfield Martin These books are amazing feats of creativity and art. The stories are told with lyrical prose and rhyme. These are among our favorite bed time stories about where day dreams and night dreams can take the dreamer. These make beautiful gifts, and we cannot recommend them more highly. Available in board book or picture book! Ages 2-6.
#5 Malala Yousafzai: Warrior with Words by Karen Leggett Abouraya and L. C. Wheatley This is one book at the top of our Christmas wish list! This 2016 picture book was named to the best books of 2016 by Amazon. The powerful story is about the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani girl who stands up and speak out for every child’s right to education. This is one strong woman who I want my daughter growing up knowing. Ages 4–7.
#6 Ninja by Arree Chung I bought this book for a family member last year who loves the Ninja Turtles. This book is about all the equipment ninjas need and the qualities that ninjas must have to overcome obstacles. Told in a minimalistic way with beautiful pictures, this story will be a family favorite. Ages 4–7.
#7 Charlotte Jane Battles Bedtime by Myra Wolfe and Maria Monescillo This is a fan favorite in our house. The narrator tells the story of a fun pirate family with a daughter who just doesn’t like to go to bed. But of course, she loses her oompf when she stays up all night. So the search for the missing oompf begins. The pirate family uses wonderful pirate phrases and noises and the pictures are very fun. It is a great bedtime book! Ages 4–7.
#8 I am Jane Goodall (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulous This is one book in a series of inspiring children’s biographies about ordinary people who change the world. This book follows the famous scientist and conservationist Jane Goodall and her work with chimpanzees. You can find nine other biographies on people like George Washington, Martin Luther King Junior, Helen Keller and more. Ages 5-8
#9 A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston This is a book for families who love books and reading. Jeffers and Winston are both well known artists and writers in the children’s book community and they team up to bring you a book with landscapes reminiscent of other classics. They travel on a magical adventure through different books and worlds of imaginations. A beautiful gift! Ages 4+.
#10 Tek by Patrick McDonnell is about a boy who is in love with his tech – tablet, videogames, phone etc. The only way he communicates now is through one word answers. Making Tek more cave-like than modern! The design and packaging of the book is so fun and mirrors the experience of reading and writing on a device. Ages 6-8.
#11 The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon – This novel, by the author of Everything Everything (another young adult novel I highly recommend!), is a great novel for a teenage girl on your list. This novel explores identity, fate and the power of love. The main character Natasha is being deported back to Jamaica on the day she also meets a boy she begins to fall for. The book wrestles with heavy questions about immigration and loyalty to family while also the teenage questions about love and relationships. Grades 9-12.
#12 Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Baskin – It is hard to believe that September 11th is a historical event. Most current 9th graders were not born before these attacks. This story follows the typical lives of four middle and high schoolers leading up to the events of September 11th and then the fallout of what happens after the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are hit by the flights. The four kids have different backgrounds and are from various parts of the country. The story handles the topic in a way that is appropriate for middle school audiences. Ages 9-13.
#13 Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart– This novel is magical, mysterious and adventurous. The main character Reuben discovers a unique antique watch that propels him on a journey to become a hero. The author weaves the reader through this adventure constantly making us ask if secrets are a gift or a curse. Ages 10-13.
#14 Winger by Andrew Smith is a book widely recommended to me and is next on my to-read list. This young adult novel is about a fourteen year old Ryan who is trying to survive boarding school through humor, pranks and doodling. The book has fun infographics and illustrations and is an enjoyable read for any teenager who is trying to survive high school. Grades 9-12.
#15 Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is not a new book (2012) but it is a new book to me! This was one of my favorite books I read this year. It is perfect for the video-gaming teenager (or even adult!) in your life. Set in a dystopian future, the main character, Wade is on the search for clues to follow a treasure hunt to a billion dollar fortune – all hidden in a virtual reality video game. When there are fortunes involved, people willing to go to all lengths to get that fortune come too, and soon Wade finds his life and the lives of his friends are in danger. The story couples fun 80s and 90s pop culture references with futuristic technology. I can’t stop recommending this book to people. Plus, the audio book version is fantastic too! Ages 14+.