2018 Gift-Worthy Books

Looking for some gorgeous gift-worthy books to give this holiday season? Here are a few on our radar …

Collector’s Editions

Some popular books have gorgeous gift-worthy collector’s editions coming out just in time for the holidays. Here are a few I’m in love with:

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage – Collector’s Edition

This prequel to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series came out last year, and the gorgeous new collector’s edition (which is on my own holiday wish list) features gorgeous illustrations throughout, as well as other beautiful details.

Throne of Glass – Collector’s Edition

Sarah J. Maas’s epic YA fantasy series finally came to an end last month, but the new collector’s edition of the first book is truly drool-worthy.

Red Queen & Glass Sword – Collector’s Editions

The special edition of Red Queen first came out last year, and the matching version of the second book in Victoria Aveyard’s four-book series, Glass Sword, is also now available.

Binge-Worthy Book Series

One of the most satisfying things, as a reader, is being able to binge-read a completed book series from start to finish, without the agonizing wait between sequels. Here are a few completed series that I have found particularly good for gifting:

Strange the Dreamer Duology

Now a completed duology, Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares are gorgeously written and beautifully imagined books written by Portland-based author Laini Taylor. Strange the Dreamer is now available in paperback, but you can find it in hardcover online still for a pretty good price and gift a matching set of hardcovers.

Jackaby series

This four-part series by author William Ritter has been compared to “Doctor Who meets Sherlock Holmes,” and the comparison is apt. I adore this whimsical detective series, and I’ve found it almost universally appealing to a wide range of readers — from friends, their teen kids, to even my own parents. All four books are also now available in paperback.

Illuminae Trilogy


This trio of books by Aimee Kaufman & Jay Kristoff break the mold on storytelling, using a series of “found” documents, transcripts, diary entries, and more to tell the story of several teens caught in the crosshairs of a corporate contest so intense it involves interstellar murder. The fun is seeing how the plot unfolds and feeling victorious when the good guys come out on top.

Children’s Books

Shopping for some young ones? Here are some of this year’s new children’s books that would make a perfect gift:

Around the World in 80 Puzzles by Aleksandra Artymowska

A jumbo-sized, fully-illustrated book of puzzles and mazes, this is the perfect book to keep kids occupied during long travel — or even that boring part of Christmas day, after the gifts have been opened and everyone is just sitting around. The illustrations are sharp and engaging, and the puzzles are a fun way to keep kids (and even adults) engaged.

City by Ingela P. Arrhenius

This book is GIANT — and I mean that literally. At over two feet tall (really!) it’s as big or bigger than some toddlers — but I shouldn’t think that would stop those same toddlers from devouring this illustrated look at different parts of a city. Different shops, transit, parks, and more are all highlighted in gorgeous, oversized illustrations.

Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison

A beautiful collection of bite-sized biographies about remarkable women throughout history. This illustrated book is the perfect way to introduce kids to some of the world’s most outstanding women. Highlights include philosophers, scientists, artists, writers and more.

Holiday Reads

Here are some of this year’s new holiday-themed books for kids that make beautiful gifts, both for young readers and adult admirers of children’s lit:

Where’s Santa Claus? by Ingela P. Arrhenius

This one is great for even the littlest babies — with thick pages, simple but festive text and illustrations, and soft felt flaps. I especially love that the flaps are felt, since that makes it harder for tiny kiddos to rip up the pages (a frustration my sister-in-law often shared over the paper flaps in so many board books for my niece).

Little Christmas Tree by Jessica Courtney-Tickle

This is another festive flap book, but the pages and flaps are paper — and the illustrations are a bit more involved, so this one is probably best suited for older toddlers and children. (The publisher recommends it for ages 2-5. I’d suggest ages 3 and up.) The foil detailing throughout adds a nice seasonal flair.

Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

The fifth book in Higgins’ hugely popular Mother Bruce series sees the grumpy titular bear (very begrudgingly) taking on the role of Santa Claus, in this laugh-out-loud holiday caper.

A Christmas Advent Story by Hannah Tolson & Ivy Snow

This flap book takes the charm and appeal of a traditional advent calendar and puts it into book form, with 24 flaps helping the reader count down the days to Christmas.

Oliver Elephant by Lou Peacock

A sweet, rhyming picture book that chronicles one boy’s holiday shopping trip to the mall with his mom, his baby sister, and his beloved toy elephant. Accompanied by beautiful illustrations, this would be a perfect Christmas Eve gift to read before bedtime.

Bah! Humbug! by Michael Rosen & illus. by Tony Ross

This delightful middle grade twist on the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol reinvents the story of Ebeneezer Scrooge in a modern setting, with one dad being forced to realize what’s truly important. Written and illustrated by two of kid lit’s greats, this book is great for independent young readers, or as a read-aloud with younger kids.

Personalized Recommendations

Looking for the perfect book to gift someone, but need help? Email me at sara.novelnovice@outlook.com and tell me a bit about the recipient, what other books they like, and I’ll send back a list of personalized recommendations for them!

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