Sunday, December 11, 2011

So You Want to Give a Child a Book for Christmas?

I'm crazy about the idea of giving everyone you know a book for theory....

The truth is the whole thing could backfire and you could end up with fifty friends and relatives who are furious, quietly steaming because they didn't get anything they wanted for Christmas.

But can you really go wrong giving a kid a book? A book and a toy, of course.

And I've got just the list of kid Christmas book recommendations for you.

First, some words of advice:

(1) No big enormous chapter books you loved as a kid. You giftee may be a poor reader and this will just drive him farther and farther away from Book World.

(2) No big enormous classics. See above.

  (3) No books made from popular tv series or celebrities (for example, skip all the awful Justin Bieber books). The cover is great, but it's the only good thing about the book.

(4) No books to teach lessons. Please don't make kids think books are just another way to sneak up on you and try to talk you into following our rules.

(5) Funny or is usually best if you are not sure.

(6) Thinner is better than thick. Lots of pictures is good.

(7) Just because the book says it is a level 1 book doesn't mean
it is a level 1 book or that your giftee can read it. Read it to him one time as part of the gift (or, even better, start reading it and then leave him hanging..."I'm so sorry, but I'm out of time.")

(8) With some children, if you are not sure, stick to nonfiction with lots of pictures. Scary, if possible.

Now, the ideas:

Ages 3-8...Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus...Fancy Nancy...How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night by Jane Yolen (any of this series)...If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (any of this series)...Diary of a Worm...How I Became a Pirate...The Kissing Hand...any dinosaur book...any true book about
animals...Biscuit...No, David!...books about trucks and cars...David Scarry books...princess books...Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?...fairy tales...short Seuss...Elephant and Piggy books...Fancy Nancy books...

Ages 6-9...Frog and Toad books...Henry and Mudge books...Mr. Putter and Tabby series...Magic Tree House series...Junie B. Jones series...A-Z Mystery series...Secrets of Droon series...Mercy Watson series...Franny K. Stein chapter books...still with the animal books or dinosaur books...joke books...fairy tales...princess on CDs...In a Dark, Dark Room...

Ages 8-12...Judy Blume books...Roald Dahl books...Harry Potter series...The Lightning Thief series...Andrew Clemens books...My Weird School series...Diary of a Wimpy Kid series...Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark...Series of Unfortunate Evens books...Tale of Despereaux...Spiderwick experiment books...joke books...Where the Sidewalk Ends...I'm
Still Here in the Bathtub...Guinness Book of World Records...Ripley's Believe It or a book for his Ipod...Jack Prelutsky poetry books...

I'm sure I left some great choices out, but this should be a pretty good place to start.

Do you have recommendations for this list?

(Reposted and updated from Christmas, 2010)

And, if you are interested in be-gifting children a picture book from 2011, take a look at my Definitive List of the Best Children's Fiction Picture Books of 2011!


  1. Great book recommendations! My youngest grandson likes getting books (he and I regularly visit Barnes & Noble); it's clothes he doesn't like to get for birthdays or

    Can't say I blame him.


  2. I would add a recommendation for the Bad Kitty books by Nick Bruel. There are picture books and then easy chapter books (with many hilarious illustrations). We can't get enough of them in our house. My kids love the No David books too. My seven year old thinks he's too old for picture books, but he dropped everything to read the Christmas David book when I brought it home from the library.

  3. What a great list since I have a 6 and 8 year old. You are so right about girl books and boy books. My 8 year old girl loves the Geronimo Stilton series of mysteries. You always learn about a new place in the world in each one.

  4. Great book recommendations. Another great book for young girls is Ladybug Girl. (It's just one great adventure after another)

    Book are always the choice gift in my house. This year we're sticking with EBooks to help keep the bulging bookshelves happy!

  5. Great selections! I bought four wonderful, classic board books for my one year old great niece for Christmas...I love giving books for presents!

  6. Geronimo Stilton is a great suggestion, Karen!

  7. I love giving books for presents, too, Wendy!

  8. What a wonderful/useful post. I always give books as presents, even to adults. I firmly believe there is something out there that everyone will like, even if it is an art book, or cookbook, or picture book.

    My Sunday Salon.

  9. I'm not buying any books for children this year. Last year, I bought three Dr. Seuss books for my wife's two little nieces. Those were Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat In The Hat, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I read them to the girls and they seemed to enjoy them.

    Generally speaking, I don't think you can go wrong with books; although, when I was a kid, if I ever got books or clothes for Christmas, I wasn't too thrilled until I was much older!

  10. I love your post! I bought books this year and went along those same guidelines. For junior high students who don't necessarily love reading and have short attention spans, "Find Your Own Adventure" Series area great start!

  11. Love this list, and I'm with you - books all round.


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