As the holiday gift-giving season approaches, I turn to books as my go-to for a “novel gift idea” for everyone on my list. Everyone needs books! But the problem of what to get for each person can be daunting. This book lover gifts guide will help you find the right book for the parent, sibling, children, grandchildren and other family or friends on your list!
Stories to Inspire
Books that Provide an Escape
Stories to Get to Know the World of Today and Yesterday
Stories for Nature Lovers
We all have that one person in our life that exudes energy and a sense of wonder with the world. Give them a book that will inspire them to see the world in a new way. Like Rebeka Uwitonze says in Her Own Two Feet, “Chances come once.” Snatch up this chance to put the gift of a book into someone’s hands that could change their life.
Teach courage, kindness and tenacity in this gem of a book that introduces young readers to be fierce in their everyday life.
Rebeka journeys to Texas from Rwanda for a chance to change her fate. Her strength and spirit in spite of several grueling surgeries is a testament to the power of her faith in what can be.
The true story of a family forced to leave Poland for the frozen Russian steppe during World War I. Despite the adverse conditions, they thrived.
Clementine was six years old when the war in Rwanda robbed her of her family. She and her sister became refugees, eventually fleeing Africa and settling in America. Her trauma followed her even as she lived the American dream — but Clementine refuses to be a victim.
Some people read to escape the reality of everyday life. For some people that may be fantasy or science fiction. For others, it’s just escaping into a different way of living or thinking, like Beverly who wants to escape by running away in Beverly, Right Here. Provide an escape with one of these books.
You might recognize the art of Chris Van Allsburg from the original Jumanji and Zathura books. This classic of his from 1984 features pictures where there is more to the story than is being said. And more than 30 years later, the kids and adults in my family still tell their own stories of what is REALLY happening. See what stories you can make up with this one.
When Piper is told everyone deserves a chance to shine she isn’t so sure they are talking about her. This funny, heartfelt fish out of water story will hit home with any youngster.
Beverly ran away so many times, but this time she is really leaving. Her journey to escape turns into finding herself through the eyes of her friends. This is one of the books in The Raymie Nightingale trilogy, which makes an excellent gift.
This is the first book in His Dark Materials Series which is now on HBO. And while the TV show is stunning, the book is worlds better. You can also buy the trilogy of His Dark Materials books as a set.
I love a good book that walks the tightrope between history and reality. And you never know what you will learn when you read a well-researched piece of historical fiction. For instance, in Kathi Appelt’s Angel Thieves, I learned that the underground railroad in south Texas ran south to Mexico and that there is a black market for graveyard angels. Give the gift of a story based on history and your recipient may learn a thing or two, too!
Introduce a new generation to Ziggy Stardust with this beautifully illustrated children’s book. From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series which also includes Frida Kahlo, Jane Goodall, Stephen Hawking, and more!
In Channai, India four homeless children make a home for themselves under a bridge. Their bond makes them family, but the dangers of the city are all around them. Distrustful of adults, they have to decide what to do when illness strikes.
A marble angel and the bayou are the threads that masterfully weave the story of a young slave, an ocelot and an angel thief together over a century. This story brings history to life and exposes the realities of today in a relatable way. This is one you will be thinking about long after reading.
In 15th century France, Amadora Trovatelli survives a fire that changes everything. Pregnant and alone, she uses her mastery of music to navigate the politics of the time to find the one that caused her world to implode. And kill him.
There are a few friends in my world who claim they don’t read because they love to be outdoors. Give them the best of both worlds with a book inspired by nature.
This is the story of a rock. To the animals that use it, though, it’s not just a rock. It is shelter, warmth, a resting place, and more. The illustrations and lyrical tale will be a hit with children. And they may learn a little about the environment in the process.
Pax the fox is rescued by Peter as a kit. Peter is forced to return him to the wild, but their love for each other makes them determined to reunite, despite war and a 300-mile distance.
This book is on my list for my young niece someday. She is one of those innate animal lovers — when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up she said a “nice mountain lion.” This in-depth look at how animals live amongst one another in the world of one woman makes you think it might just be possible to be a mountain lion.
I used to dream about going to work for the Forest Service and live in the wilderness completely isolated. My fear of bears and want of flush toilets won out. Philip Connors actually did it, though. He lived over a decade in a 7 x 7 fire tower over the forest, watching for fires and observing nature. Lucky for us we can live vicariously through his adventures.
When you have no clue what people are into, stick to the classics.
This is the book I give to every new mother. The gorilla at the zoo steals the keys to the cages and goes home with the zookeeper at night, freeing the other animals as the keeper tells them goodnight. The illustrations are precious and the antics of the animals and the zookeeper’s wife are hilarious. Guaranteed to be a must-read in any house with a small child, so buy the board book to ensure it lasts!
Start your young reader off with a shove into the classics with this tale of Anne Shirley, the orphan from Avonlea. This was my introduction to the legacy of strong women in books: you don’t have to be the prettiest (although as a redhead myself I think Anne is a beauty!) but being smart is a gift and tenacity can be a virtue.
I read a long time ago that this book is the perfect bedside book to leave in your guest room because O. Henry’s stories appeal to any kind of reader. And they are short enough to ensure that your guests won’t linger too long.
This collector’s edition of Wuthering Heights is the perfect present for any Bronte fan. How do you know if they are a Bronte fan? Ask them who Heathcliff is and if they swoon and talk about a tall dark, mysterious man and not a cat, then this is the book for them.
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