Holiday Shopping: Books for All Ages

My latest post for Knoxville Moms is a bookish holiday shopping guide! You can view the post on their website here.

Books make excellent holiday gifts, whether you’re shopping for babies all the way up to great-grandmas. Here’s a thorough list of highly recommended books, from a book nerd, to help make your book shopping a little bit easier this holiday season.

Linked titles take you to my full review. You can view this as a shoppable list on Bookshop.org here. Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org. I will earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase.

Picture Books

  • We Don’t Eat our Classmates by Ryan Higgins: TikTok made me buy it. Unexpected and funny, this picture book is sure to be a favorite.
  • Keepunumuk by Danielle Greendeer: This beautifully illustrated book shares the Indigenous perspective of the Thanksgiving story. 
  • The Boy with Big, Big Feelings by Britney Winn Lee: Wonderful social-emotional learning and skills in an easy understandable, beautifully written story.
  • Watercress by Andrea Wang: A touching story on sharing culture and tradition.
  • The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson: This book touches on being nervous, being different, and being you. One kids and adults alike will want to read again and again.
  • Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho: Gorgeous words paired with amazing illustrations, another highly re-readable book.

Chapter Books

  • Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker: laugh out loud funny, relatable, and full of heart.
  • Jo Jo Makoons series by Dawn Quigley: An uproariously funny series narrated by a young girl living on an Ojibwe reservation, this delightful book is perfect for first graders (and their grownups, too!)
  • Indian Shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith: This collection of short stories is great for early readers, giving them a full story in a short time. Each story features the same main characters, connecting the stories in a beautiful way.
  • The Reluctant Storyteller by Art Coulson: A collection of stories that engage with gorgeous illustrations.

Middle Grade

  • A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold: Funny and full of heart, this novel is sure to grab the reader’s attention and hold on until the very last page.
  • A Rover’s Story by Jasmine Warga: Combining real life science with imagination and heart, this novel will give you feelings for a robot. More than one, actually. Funny and poignant, this book is a great blend of STEM and art.
  • Healer of the Water Monster by Brian Young: Twining together modern life and traditional Navajo stories, this novel pulls readers in from the first page and makes them deeply invested in the story. Book two comes out next year!
  • The Bookwanderers by Anna James: This book is for book lovers. What if you could actually step into the books you were reading? Who would you meet? Fantastic magical book set in our very own world.
  • Christine Day’s The Sea in Winter and I Can Make This Promise both feature well-developed characters in times of change. Beautifully written and thought provoking.
  • Answers in the Pages by David Levithan tackles book banning in a spectacular way. One of my top reads of the year. This book will pull all the heartstrings and spark excellent conversations.
  • Ancestor Approved is a collection of short stories from Indigenous authors, all set at the same powwow. The crossover of characters between stories is extra-fun, and all the stories are engaging.
  • Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly: A magical story that takes place in another world, this book features a young girl on the hero’s journey.
  • From the Desk of Zoe Washingtonby Janae Marks: Mystery, friend drama, and following your heart take center stage in this fabulous book.
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: This novel in verse captures readers and captivates them from beginning to end.
  • Anybody Here Seen Frenchie? by Leslie Connor: This exquisitely written book follows a neurodivergent girl and her nonverbal best friend. I highly recommend reading with your kid– it’ll stay with you long after you’ve closed the cover.
  • Long Lost by Jacqueline West: Perfect for kids who like to read with a flashlight under the covers, for fans of scary stories, and for those looking to solve a mystery. There are some seriously spooky moments here, so be aware!

Graphic Novels

  • New Kid by Jerry Craft: Craft captures the extraordinary in the ordinary, exposes microaggressions, and plays with reader expectations in this fantastic graphic novel.
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander: Basketball and life lessons intertwine in this novel in verse turned graphic novel. An exceptional choice for readers who love sports.
  • The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck by Matt Phelan isn’t technically a graphic novel, but it is a middle grade book with loads of cool art and illustrations, so I’m including it in this category.

Young Adult

  • A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger: A gorgeous blend of Lipan Apache stories with our contemporary world.
  • Dash and Lily series by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: Fun, holiday themed books with likable characters and laugh out loud hijinks.
  • Well, That was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto: Crazy Rich Asians vibes with two hilarious narrators in a rom-com for the ages. Perfect for fans of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before!
  • The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta: Reading this book is an immersive experience. The characters feel so real, the magic is believable, and the stakes are high. Gorgeous writing, fantastic representation, and mouth-watering food descriptions. 
  • The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson: One of my favorite books of the year, this novel follows a recent high school grad in the summer after high school and before college, when the possibilities are big and small.
  • Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater: This continuation of the world created in Pixar’s Brave is perfect for readers transitioning from middle grade to YA. Stiefvater truly captured the voice of Merida and the magic of her land.
  • An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan: A love story for the ages.
  • Does My Body Offend You? by Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt: Fighting unfair dress codes and adjusting to life as an immigrant are just some of the heady topics tackled in this gripping novel.
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo: The power of poetry as healing, life in NYC, and finding your own voice make this novel in verse impossible to put down.
  • Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith: High school journalist discovers the dark history of The Wizard of Oz and deals with the fallout of her school’s colorblind production of the play, all while dealing with her own romantic dramas.

Adult

  • Built to Last by Erin Hahn: A bit of spice in a home renovation meets second chance at first love meets Hollywood.
  • Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen: I’m a longtime fan of this author, and her latest release may just be my favorite yet. A bit of magic, a few ghosts, and a mystery you’ll be desperate to solve.
  • The Homewreckers by Mary Kay Andrews: Heart, humor, and a mystery to solve. What else could you ask for? 
  • Spencer Quinn’s Chet and Bernie series, from Dog on It to Bark to the Future: This 13 book series is still going strong. With mysteries narrated by a dog, the whodunit is extra fun and plenty funny.
  • The Emily Henry collection, People We Meet on Vacation, Beach Read, and Book Lovers: Henry is a great choice for fans of Jane Green and Emily Giffin. Fantastic characters in unique and interesting situations paired with excellent writing make this books un-put-down-able.
  • The Bodyguard by Katherine Center: This gender-swapped take features a female bodyguard working for Hollywood’s It boy. With a dash of mystery and loads of romantic tension, this is one fun read!
  • Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan: Hollywood was a popular topic in this year’s releases! Screenwriter Nora’s home is being used to film the screenplay she penned about her divorce. How much can one weeklong shoot really turn her life upside down? That might just depend on the leading man.
  • Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez: Authors who can mix humor, heart, and make me think often top my favorite lists. Abby Jimenez achieves this with every novel.
  • Sari, Not Sari by Sonya Singh: The power of reconnecting with culture takes center stage in this delightful novel.
  • Nonfiction pick: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Non-Book Gifts

If you’re worried about buying a book they already have or that isn’t their taste, there are plenty of gift ideas for book lovers. Bookmarks, bookish tote bags, pencil bags, book themed socks, bookplates, personal embossers, erasable highlighters, notebooks, journals, and ebook covers (if they’re ebooks readers!). Tea, coffee, mugs, cocoa, bath bombs, and soft blankets also make excellent bookish gifts. You can view a shoppable list here.

Happy reading, and happy holidays!

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