Kids’ Books that Make Great Holiday Gifts


Tis time to heap children with presents galore. Not every fine gift is found first in a store.
Sorry for the terrible rhyme but, as a librarian, my biggest delight is to hook up children with books they love. The holidays allow relatives and friends that same pleasure. The library (and librarians) have plenty of ideas for every young person in your life. Here are some:
Oh! NobrownieCandace Fleming and her Caldecott-winning husband Eric Rohmann work together for the first time in Oh, No! Animals fall, one by one, in a pit, and are about to be eaten by a hungry tiger before tables turn.
Another picture book couple, David Small and Sarah Stewart, provide A Quiet Place for Isabel, a new immigrant. At first, she uses an old appliance box and then reimagines a corner of a room. She pours emotion into letters to her aunt in Mexico until she can fill her quiet place with the sounds of friends.
Very young cat lovers will appreciate the simple words, loving sentiments and sturdy makeup of Brownie & Pearl books.
If your little one is vehicle crazy, Everything Goes in the Air and Everything Goes on Land by Brian Biggs are sure to please.
The Christmas Quiet Book depicts a holiday where hidden presents, a gingerbread house and luminaries as well as other wonders of the season silence adorable animal celebrants.
mousekinsAt last, there’s a worthy replacement for A Dragon Christmas, my and my son’s mainstay, many moons ago. Christmas with Mousekins combines similarly sweet and simple homemade decorations, food and presents with a charming story.  Directions for making a Chritmas Tree hat rule.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? Do they fuss? Do they squirm? No, they’re polite in every way, of course.
Kindergarten to Second or Third Grade
piggieWho could be behind the Elephant and Piggie series but master writer and illustrator, Mo Willems? Many chuckles and sometimes tears accompany his myriad of books and now, even an app. Check out this twosome and their zany friends.
Another pig worth knowing for beginning readers is Mercy binkWatson, who adores toast and confounds neighbors.
If Fly Guy flies into your life, consider yourself lucky. This unusual pet pleases reluctant, as well as, eager readers, especially boys.
Girls may prefer Fancy Nancy. Her fancy vocabulary gratifies parents as well. She may be fancy but she’s a good sport when others aren’t as festive.
Frog and Fly: Six Slurpy Stories will satisfy a six-year-old’s darkest humor as will I Want my Hat Back and This is Not my Hat.
Bink and Gollie are very different as friends tend to be. So are Ivy and Bean. The first series is more cartoony but the second just as funny.
robotAnyone anticipating his or her first sleepover will love Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover about two friends whose needs differ enough to make their sleepover very interesting.
Geronimo Stilton solves mysteries handily even though he’s a mouse. His books are mostly cartoons but kids will get a good reading workout while having fun. And don’t miss his alter ego, the Thea Stilton sisters.
Fourth Grade Up.
Rendi is an inn chore boy with a secret and the only one who notices the moon missing from the village of Clear Sky. Starry River of the Sky is a companion book to Grace Linn’s award-winning Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. In this tour de force, he and other quirky characters solve their problems telling traditional Chinese tales.
The Emerald Atlas was an underground fantasy favorite. The Fire Chronicle, its sequel, again features the two siblings, time and place travel, magic and much more.
Junior astronomers can find out what a black hole is –and what it isn’t in nonfiction A Black Hole is not a Hole.
The Mighty Miss Malone is her father’s favorite because of her keen mind and warm heart. missHe leaves to support their family during the Depression. So does her older brother who sings like an angel. Deza and her mother cope as best as they can while searching for them in Christopher Paul Curtis’ latest novel.
If your child likes tales dark and grim, consider last year’s A Tale Dark and Grimm. It retells Hansel and Gretel with grisly parts left in and, frankly, added. Somehow, though, it maintains charm and hope.
around the worldChildren can hitch a ride with three adventurers who take epic journeys in the graphic novel, Around the World. All take place during the nineteenth century: reporter Nellie Bly, bicyclist Thomas Stevens and sea captain Robert Slocum.
The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee is the third in a series by Tom Angleberger. Harvey is no longer at McQuarry Middle School but leaves one of his ingenious origami puppets behind. Star Wars, as well as humor fans, will relate but it’s best to start with The Secret of Origami Yoda if your receiver is not yet familiar with this tight-knit bunch.

Tina Zubak

About Tina Zubak

I've been a librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for about 12 years, first at the Beechview branch and now at Children's. I've written some books myself, but alas, no publications. Among my favorite books are BFG, Houndsley and Catrina and the Quiet Time, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Nation and Rose Daughter.
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