I’ve always said one of the hardest things to buy as a gift for book lovers is … well, books. Because so often book lovers don’t hesitate to treat themselves to whatever book they’ve been longing to read. That’s why I created my bookish gift guide, to help you find non-book gifts for book lovers.
But sometimes books DO make the best gift of all. So today, I’ve got a peek at some of the best books to gift this holiday season, for both avid book lovers and casual readers alike.
For Little Readers
This time of year, stores are filled with seasonal picture book titles — and I think they make wonderful gifts for young readers. In fact, my mom started a tradition of buying me a new holiday picture book every year, since I was five!
Here are a few new releases I’ve come across that I think would make beautiful additions to any collection.
The Nutcracker in Harlem by T.E. McMorrow
This jazz-inspired reinvention of The Nutcracker is a worthy tribute to the dreamlike wonder and magic of the Christmas season.
In this original retelling, set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, one little girl finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy.
This quintessential holiday tale is brought to vivid life by debut picture book author T. E. McMorrow and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator James Ransome. An author’s note at the end provides additional information about the history of the Harlem Renaissance, and about the author’s inspiration for this musical retelling.
Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh
O’er the fields we go, laughing all the way…
Ride along with a girl, a boy, their pony, and a mischievous dog as they travel to Grandma’s house. With playful animals in their path, their journey gets a bit sidetracked. But soon enough they arrive at Grandma’s—where an unexpected visitor fills them with holiday cheer
Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht
Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. With style and warmth, debut author Patricia Toht and Jarvis, the author-illustrator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, evoke all the rituals of decorating the tree — digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights. Joyously drawn and rhythmically written, this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday season is as merry as the tradition it depicts.
Bear’s Merry Book of Hidden Things by Gergely Dudas
If you’re searching for Where’s Waldo? for the next generation, this holiday seek-and-find from internet sensation Gergely Dudás will have you—and your kids—busy for hours.
Bear loves the holidays, and this year he’s throwing a party for all his animal friends. But there’s so much to do to get ready—and he is only one very little bear! Can you help Bear find all the secret treasures he needs for his party?
Readers of all ages will find this lush, charming illustrated wonderland irresistible—and irresistibly challenging—and will return to it again and again.
Red and Lulu make their nest in a particularly beautiful evergreen tree. It shades them in the hot months and keeps them cozy in the cold months, and once a year the people who live nearby string lights on their tree and sing a special song: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree. But one day, something unthinkable happens, and Red and Lulu are separated. It will take a miracle for them to find each other again. Luckily, it’s just the season for miracles. . . . From Matt Tavares comes a heart-tugging story combining the cheer of Christmas, the magic of New York City, and the real meaning of the holiday season: how important it is to be surrounded by love.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Snow Globe Edition by Michael Rosen & illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Bear lovers, rejoice! Shake up a snowstorm in this gorgeous gift edition of the award-winning classic by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.
We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. Will you come, too? For over a quarter of a century, readers have been swishy-swashying and splash-sploshing through this award-winning favorite. This new hardback gift edition includes a 3-D snow scene on the cover to add fun and festive flurries to your favorite family adventure story.
For the Truth About Santa
This book is ONLY for kids who have learned — or are ready to learn – the truth about Santa Claus.
Love, Santa by Martha Brockenbrough
In a series of letters, a young girl writes to Santa to ask about the North Pole, Mrs. Claus, and of course, Christmas goodies. Year after year, Santa writes back, and a heartwarming relationship develops, until one year, the girl writes to her mother instead: Mom, are you Santa? Her mother responds to say that no, she is not Santa. Because Santa is bigger than any one person — we bring him out through kindness to one another and the power of imagination. This transformative tale spins a universal childhood experience into a story about love, giving, and the spirit of Christmas.
Seasonal Reads for Tweens, Teens & Adults
For older kids and teens, try one of these seasonally-appropriate new releases:
The 12 Dares of Christa by Marissa Burt
A thirteen-year-old girl spends her first holiday away from home completing a scavenger hunt that takes her across Europe in 12 Dares of Christa, the first contemporary novel from Marissa Burt, author of Storybound.
Christa is a holiday junkie. What’s not to love? There’s decorations! Gifts! Caroling with friends! But thanks to her parents’ recent separation, Christa’s favorite time of year is now filled with heartache. And when her mom announces that she’s taking her on a mother-daughter trip to Europe over winter vacation, Christa knows she should be excited. She just can’t imagine spending the yuletide season without her dad.
However, waiting at her hotel in Italy is a special package from her father: the first of twelve dares that take Christa to landmarks in three beautiful countries and introduce her to people who will show her that hope is alive in the strangest of places.
Funny, genuine, and feel-good to the core, The 12 Dares of Christa is one fa-la-la-filled adventure that fans of Wendy Mass and Lisa Greenwald will love.
The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig
JOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF MAGIC
If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?
When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.
But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.
But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .
Pride & Prejudice & Misteltoe by Melissa de la Cruz
Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her dad and little brother.
Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32 and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?
The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.
And then she died.
Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.
Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.
But this year, everything is about to change. . . .
For Avid YA Readers
For fans still wanting to live within the worlds of their favorite series, these coloring books help them bring their beloved series to life in vivid color. Look for coloring books featuring The Selection by Kiera Cass, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, and Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, just to name a few. There are also an assortment of Harry Potter coloring books available to choose from, as well.
City of Bones: 10th Anniversary Edition
For any fan of The Mortal Instruments, this collector’s edition of City of Bones is a stunning must-have. Sprayed gold metallic edges, a gorgeous foiled hardcover, and filled with illustrations and extras. This book is just plain PRETTY.
The pride of any fan’s collection, City of Bones now has new cover art, gilded edges, over thirty interior illustrations, and six new full-page color portraits of everyone’s favorite characters! This beautifully crafted collector’s item also includes the Clave’s official files on some of the series’ most beloved characters, written by Cassandra Clare. A perfect gift for the Shadowhunter fan in your life.
The fourth and final book in the Red Queen series doesn’t come out until May, but rereading the series just got a little more exciting with this collector’s edition of the first book. With a stunning design, this edition features color fan art, stained edges, and lots of extras.
The perfect gift for fans of the series, for anyone looking to add this beautiful edition to their collection, and for new readers eager to discover the lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.
Released this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter book, these editions of Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone are only available in the UK – but can be purchased in the U.S. via Book Depository with free shipping. These are GORGEOUS editions inspired by each of the four Hogwarts houses, and make a perfect addition to any Harry Potter fan’s collection. Pick up one in your recipients house color, or go big and get them all four.
The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman
Rediscover the world of Philip Pullman’s best-selling His Dark Materials trilogy, with this first volume in a new companion series. Meet new characters and encounter old favorites (and villains) in an exciting new way. This is the perfect treat for anyone who devoured the story of Lyra and her alethiometer, and is aching for a return to Pullman’s luscious world.
You can also dive back into His Dark Materials with the new completed bind-up of The Golden Compass Graphic Novel:
This graphic novel adaptation of The Golden Compass, the world of His Dark Materials is brought to visual life. The stunning full-color art will offer both new and returning readers a chance to experience the story of Lyra, an ordinary girl with an extraordinary role to play in the fates of multiple worlds, in an entirely fresh way.
This volume collects the full journey of Lyra to the far north, her rescue of the kidnapped children at Bolvangar, her escape via hot-air balloon, and her crucial role in Lord Asriel’s ambitions to build a bridge to another world.
For Crafty Kids (& Adults,too)
Gift Boxes to Decorate & Make Christmas illustrated by Sarah Walsh
Each page of this brilliant book can be colored and made into a box! Simply tear out and fold to create a gift box perfect for storing all kinds of Christmas treats. The boxes are beautifully decorated with festive black-and-white designs, which you can color in with pens or pencils to make sure your gifts are extra special this Christmas.
Make & Play Christmas illusrated by Joey Chou
This innovative new activity book includes ten press-out pieces to play and decorate with. The simple die-cut shapes, including Santa, a reindeer, and an angel, are easy to press out and slot together. The book also includes lots of activities, songs, and recipes to help celebrate Christmas!
Press Out + Color Christmas Ornaments illustrated by Kate McLelland
Each of the twenty press-out Christmas decorations in this book can be easily slotted together to create cheerful hanging ornaments to adorn the Christmas tree or to add a festive touch to any space. Perfect for all ages, these gorgeous ornaments look elegant in white and gold, but even more glorious when colored.
Mary Engelbreit’s Color ME Christmas
Deck the halls with Mary Engelbreit’s classic Christmas images, ready for your coloring touch!
Color ME Christmas contains Mary Engelbreit’s signature renderings of classic Christmas images, like Santa’s workshop, snow-filled nights, and stockings hung by the fireplace. This workbook will inspire not only creativity but a yuletide spirit that will the last the whole year.
Like all of Mary Engelbreit’s coloring books, Color ME Christmas features a full-color cover with glossy finish, heavy stock that can hold the ink of a marker, and forty-eight single-sided perforated pages. Whether giving or receiving, this festive coloring book will be a holiday favorite.
For Nonfiction & History Junkies
History buffs and truthseekers young and old alike will find useful information and new insight into their beloved topics within this tomes:
Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor, and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland
A collaboration by two talented creators provides the perfect means to delve into Norse mythology and pore over the enthralling exploits of all-powerful Odin; mighty Thor and his hammer, Mjolnir; and Loki, the infamous trickster. From the creation of the nine worlds to the final battle of Ragnarok, Carnegie Medal winner Kevin Crossley-Holland details the Viking gods as never before, while Jeffrey Alan Love’s lavish illustrations bring the mythic figures to life on the page. Readers will be caught up in the seesawing struggle for power between gods, dwarfs, and giants, punctuated by surprising love matches, thrilling journeys, and dazzling magic. With its well-researched, lyrical prose and its dramatic and powerful artwork, this wonderful gift edition makes the perfect book for both the staunchest fans of mythology and newcomers with no knowledge of Viking folklore.
Knightology: A True Account of the Most Valiant Knights by Dugald A. Steer
What does it really take to be a knight? Peruse this lavish novelty volume and be surprised.
From the secret order of Round Table Knights comes a tell-all guide to the mythical occupation of knighthood — its history, mysterious quests, and puzzles that live on to this day. Inspired by the life of a most exemplary knight, this fascinating book explores the art of mastering sword and lance, the essential (and prohibitively expensive) war-horse, the ins and outs of a castle that a knight might defend, and the skills needed to prevail in a jousting tournament, with all its pageantry. No investigation of knighthood would be complete without a look at the Crusades, and a celebration of legendary knights such as King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Sir Gawain, plus vaunted icons such as Excalibur and the Holy Grail. In true ‘Ology fashion, this tip of the lance to a noble (and misunderstood) profession offers a variety of interactive flaps and other novelties to keep young squires fully entertained.
Two Truths & A Lie: It’s Alive! by Ammi-Joan Paquette & Laurie Ann Thompson
Two Truths and a Lie is the first book in a fascinating new series that presents some of the most crazy-but-true stories about the living world as well as a handful of stories that are too crazy to be true—and asks readers to separate facts from fakes! Did you know that there is a fungus that can control the mind of an ant and make it do its bidding? Would you believe there is such a thing as a corpse flower—a ten-foot-tall plant with a blossom that smells like a zombie? How about a species of octopus that doesn’t live in water but rather lurks in trees in the Pacific Northwest?
Every story in this book is strange and astounding. But not all of them are real. Just like the old game in this book’s title, two out of every three stories are completely true and one is an outright lie. Can you guess which? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable. And they’re all accompanied by dozens of photos, maps, and illustrations. Amaze yourself and trick your friends as you sort out the fakes from the facts!
Acclaimed authors Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson have teamed up to create a series of sneaky stories about the natural world designed to amaze, disgust, and occasionally bamboozle you.
Dive deep into a world of fascinating weather with everyone’s favorite meteorologist, Al Roker!
With this mesmerizing book that covers a wide range of topics, readers will learn about the conditions that generate unique weather occurrences like red sprites, thundersnow, and fogsicles.
Surprising facts, colorful spreads, and captivating pictures will hook children and adults alike as they uncover the mysteries of extreme weather—some they never even knew existed!
Need more recommendations?
We’re happy to recommend specific book titles to your recipient, if you just tell us a bit about them (their age, interests & other beloved books). Comment below if you need shopping help!