Gift books for kids and families for the holidays

Every birthday and holiday of my childhood was enriched by gifts of books. I grew up an avid reader. No surprise there. Readers grow from books in the home. We all love the library with its thousands upon thousands of books to borrow and return. But there’s a special joy in books we can keep as our own. Here are a few gift book suggestions for a child you love.

For the Youngest

“Bear Sees Colors” by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

This interactive story follows Bear and Mouse on a walk through the woods. It’s a treat for the senses as the friends discover the colorful world all around them. Rhyming text encourages the reader to play along in this latest in the series that started with “Bear Snores On.” Preschool.

“Digger Dog” by William Bee, illustrated by Cecilia Johansson

Dogs and diggers and dinosaurs; this book has it all. Dog smells a delicious bone and is determined to get it. When big digging machines all fail to bring up the bone, Dog resorts to using the biggest digger in the whole world. He and his friends unearth an entire dinosaur skeleton! Fun chants and fold-out pages add to the excitement. Preschool - K.

Family Read-Alouds

A book to read a chapter a night is a gift the whole family can enjoy. The audiobook versions make good gifts as well.

“Peter & the Starcatchers” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

It’s Peter Pan’s origin story with pirates and magic and excitement on every page. First in a series for listeners 7 and up.

“Fish” by Gregory Mone

The pirate captain is obsessed with hunting for a legendary lost treasure The pirate crew is mutinous. The cabin boy, “Fish” Reidy, is 11 years old and only on board by accident. For listeners 7 and up.

“Tumtum & Nutmeg” by Emily Bearn

Two wealthy mice live in a mansion hidden inside a forgotten broom closet in a tumbledown cottage owned by an absent-minded inventor. When they play fairy godparents to the inventor’s motherless children, danger threatens their cozy life and their adventures begin. For listeners 3 and up.

Award Winners

“Flora & Ulysses” by Kate DiCamillo

A 2014 Newbery Medal Winner: Natural-born cynic Flora Belle Buckman and Ulysses, a flying, poetry-writing squirrel superhero, join forces to overcome Ulysses’ arch-enemy and change Flora’s life. Grade 4 up.

“Locomotive” by Brian Floca

2014 Caldecott Medal Book and a Sibert Honor Book: A family’s unforgettable train trip from Omaha to Sacramento in 1869. Ages 2 and up.

To Tickle a Child’s Interests

Horse Lovers

“The Kingfisher Illustrated Horse & Pony Encyclopedia” by Sandy Ransford

A comprehensive guide to horses packed full of gorgeous photographs. Grades 4 - 8.

Kids Who Like to Make and Do

“Drawing: For the Artistically Undiscovered,” (Klutz)

A funny, encouraging book of tips and techniques by beloved children’s illustrator Quentin Blake. Kids can doodle right on the pages. Grade 2 up.

“The Klutz Guide to the Galaxy” (Klutz Guides)

This cosmic tool kit has a build-it-yourself telescope, star and moon maps, and tons of activities for navigating the vastness of space. Grade 3 up.

Animal Lovers Preschool and up:

“Life-size Aquarium” by Teruyuki Komiya

“Life-size Zoo” by Teruyuki Komiya

“Life-size Dinosaurs” by David Bergen

“Prehistoric Actual Size” by Steve Jenkins

Kids Who Love Machines and Things that Go

“Super Trucks” by Clive Gifford

Gargantuan road trains, monster military vehicles, rigs, crawlers, haulers, and souped-up racing trucks. Grades 2 – 7.

“Digger, Dozer, Dumper” by Hope Vestergaard, illustrated by David Slonim

Young children’s beloved construction vehicles in lively poetry with energetic illustrations. Preschool – Grade 2.

“Big Book of Trains”

Gigantic format volume of trains kids love. Preschool – Grade 3.

Movie Lovers: Movies Based on Books

“Ernest & Celestine”

Ernest, a bear, and Celestine, a mouse, live in a world where bears and mice are enemies, but this dreamer and protector form an unlikely bond. Loosely based on the picture books by Gabrielle Vincent, this animated movie received standing ovations at Cannes Film Festival.

“The Black Stallion”

A shipwrecked boy, a stallion and one of the most gorgeous book-to-movie adaptations ever.