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Holiday Gift Guide – Kid’s Edition

November 24, 2014

I was going to start with “There is no wrong book to give a child.” But I think we can all agree that Game of Thrones or Fifty Shades of Grey would, in fact, be the wrong books. Sadly, even books that I adore now would be the wrong books. Pride & Prejudice and Stranger in a Strange Land were not the correct things to appear in my Christmas stocking at age 8. They got the same, “Thank you,” meaning “What the heck is this?” that the package of socks had gotten the previous year.
It also isn’t as simple as Book + Child = Win!
There are great books that are the wrong books for this particular child. Check in with the kid you’re buying for. Make sure you’re accommodating their reading level and interests.
That being said, here are some kids books I think make great gifts:

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke


I’ve reviewed this book already, so I won’t say too much about it here. It’s a beautiful picture book. It does have a female main character, so if you’ve got a kid who just really thinks girls are icky then it might not be the best choice, although the awesome monsters could sway them. Both the boys and the girls at my school seem to like this one.



owlyOwly & Wormy: Friends All Aflutter by Andy Runton

This is a fantastic wordless book. I’ve met Andy several times, so I’m slightly biased. He’s really nice, but his books are also fantastic. He does a series of black and white wordless comic books with Owly and his best friend Wormy. Those are great for slightly older kids, maybe 8 all the way up to adults.

This is one of his two full-color picture books. Friends All Aflutter is about Owly making friends with several butterflies. There is also Owly & Wormy: Bright Lights and Starry Nights. One is brighter and the other is quieter and darker, but they’re both fantastic. The story is perfectly clear and doesn’t need words at all.

princessThe Princess in Black by Shannon Hale

This is a great middle-grade story about a young Princess who is pink and blonde and wears frilly dresses and white stockings and eats cakes with her tea. Until there is a threat to the kingdom and then she becomes THE PRINCESS IN BLACK!
It’s the perfect disguise because everyone knows princesses would never wear black!
There is adventure and a really cute goat herd who is inspired by The Princess in Black to become a superhero in his own right.
The Princess faces off against trolls, but her most dangerous opponent is the noblewoman poking around in her tower, trying to discover the Princess’s secrets. Will she be able to keep her secret identity?

billionaireThe Billionaire’s Curse by Richard Newsome
This is a slightly older book, but it’s fantastic. It never really blew up, so the chances that the person you’re shopping for already has it are pretty slim. Gerald Wilkins is a regular kid living in Australia when his great-aunt Geraldine dies in London. Suddenly, Gerald discovers that he has inherited TWENTY BILLION POUNDS! along with an island, a yacht, several houses, and, possibly, a homicidal maniac.
You see, Aunt Geraldine may well have been murdered. And the killer could be after Gerald now. His parents are no help. They’ve taken off on the yacht to “inspect his properties” and are out of contact, leaving Gerald with his aunt’s creepy butler.
Fortunately, Gerald makes some good friends that are willing to help him solve the mystery of just what the Archer Legacy is, how it relates to Gerald, and why someone might be willing to kill to get their hands on it.

dragonbreathThe Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon

The Dragonbreath series is an illustrated middle-grade series on the lines of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Big Nate. However, the protagonist is an adorable dragon who gets into all kinds of scrapes. The series is about ten books long now, so there’s plenty of it out there to be enjoyed.
Danny Dragonbreath is the only mythical creature at his school. It’s really hard when everyone else is a normal lizard or amphibian and you’re well… a dragon. Especially a dragon who can’t breath fire. But, there are advantages to being from an unusual family, and when Danny takes his best friend on a family trip he gets to see some of those advantages for himself.

I”llSo, what are you thinking about picking up for the younger folks in your life this holiday season?

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