Working together to help children learn and grow in a complex world
Nov. 13, 2019
Making your list and checking it twice? Book ideas for holiday giving
By Kari Baumann, Canterbury Librarian
Every year, I get emails from parents asking for book recommendations for holiday presents. I love to recommend books to all ages! This year I’m formalizing the process with a list of suggestions of the best new -- and best loved -- books in our library. If you would like for me to make some recommendations that are more specific to your child(ren), please feel free to reach out to me. I do get to see what most students are reading and can help suggest what might excite and challenge them.
Here are some great picture books from this year that are sure to delight:
- High Five by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri (the creators of Dragons Love Tacos)
- The Pigeon Has to Go to School by Mo Willems
- Another by Christian Robinson
- The Great Santa Stakeout by Betsy Bird
- A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin (follow up to A Big Mooncake for Little Star)
- The Night of His Birth by Katherine Paterson
- Just Because by Mac Barnett (for any parent who has ever been asked, “Why?”)
- Just In Case You Want to Fly by Julie Fogliano and Christian Robinson
- The Crayons’ Christmas by Drew Daywalt (those crayons are at it again)
- The Knight Who Said No by Lucy Rowland
- The Neighbors by Einat Tsarfati
If you have a kid who is interested in a topic, a big reference book might be a good way to go! They are often more expensive, but kids will spend hours and hours poring over them. Atlases, trivia, and guides to their favorite topics are always a hit.
- Knowledge Genius: A Quiz Encyclopedia to Boost Your Brain by DK Publishing
- The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid by Dylan Thuras, Rosemary Mosco, and Joy Ang
- Under Water, Under Earth or Maps by by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski
- A History of Pictures for Children by David Hockney and Martin Gayford
- Everything and Everywhere by Marc Martin
These are some popular chapter books this year. The last two are in verse, which continues to be very popular with our students!
- Mac B Kid Spy by Mac Barnett (there are three in this series)
- 117 Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (latest in a very popular series)
- Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds (interconnected stories)
- The World Ends in April by Stacy McAnulty (NC author)
- The Tornado by Jake Burt (for fans of Stargirl)
- To Night Owl from Dog Fish by Holly Sloan and Meg Wolitzer (about camp and becoming a family)
- Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling (a sequel to the smash hit about a girl with no arms who lives in Arizona)
- It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (make sure to get the youth edition)
- The Friendship War by Andrew Clements
- Max and the Midknights by Lincoln Peirce (author of Big Nate)
- Front Desk by Kelly Yang
- Trace by Pat Cummings (a ghost story)
- Small Spaces by Katherine Arden (another ghost story)
- This Promise of Change by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy (this has been my favorite book of 2019)
- Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga (very sweet novel in verse)
We all know about Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but here are some fantasy titles you might want to try!
- How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
- Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
- Wings of Fire by Tui Sutherland
- Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
- The Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older
- The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles (for fans of The Phantom Tollbooth)
- Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
- Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
- The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (this was my favorite children’s book of 2018)
These are all graphic novels I can’t keep checked in. Don’t be afraid of graphic novels! If you have questions about their place in your child’s education, check out this blog post by author and former teacher Kami Garcia. A new Dog Man book comes out December 10, so I’m sure that will be a popular gift at many houses as well!
- Sunny Rolls the Dice by Jennifer L. Holm
- Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis
- New Kid by Jerry Craft
- Nico Bravo and the Hound of Hades by Mike Cavallaro (good for Percy Jackson fans)
- Guts by Raina Telgemeier
- Phoebe and her Unicorn series
- Hilda series (for those who loved the Netflix series)
- Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series (for history lovers)
- Mr. Wolf’s Class by Aron Nels Steinke
- The Bad Guys series by Aaron Blabey (These were the first books my son read on his own. They are great for transitional readers.)
And here are a few recommendations for older students.
- One of Us Is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus
- It Wasn’t Me by Dana Alison Levy (this is like The Breakfast Club movie in book form)
- White Bird by R.J. Palacio (this is a World War II graphic novel from the author of Wonder)
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (this is a youth edition)
- Scythe, Thunderhead, and The Toll by Neal Schusterman (for fans of The Hunger Games)
- Truly Devious and The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson (for fans of murder mysteries)
- The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (look for the new show starring Lin-Manuel Miranda)
Some popular authors you could try are Kwame Alexander, Jenny Han, Sarah Dessen, Jason Reynolds, Rainbow Rowell, Ransom Riggs, Tomi Adeyemi, and M.T. Anderson.
If you decide to purchase any of these from Amazon, please consider using Amazon Smile and choosing Canterbury as your donation option. Here in Greensboro, you can also find these books at Barnes and Noble and Scuppernong Books.
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