Books are all over our home, all of the time.
Tons of books–books from book fairs, from yard sales, from the library, from school, from friends, from publishers–you name it.
We are a book-loving family through and through, and for that I am grateful.
So which books out of the sea of millions, should you pick up for your kids this year? We’ve got them right here. And if you need more ideas, definitely look at our Best Books as Gifts post from last year. They’re both perfectly usable. Books don’t go out of style.
And really, I’m often about a year (or five) or so behind on books, so there’s that.
Anyway, here is our biggie–the list for which I am particularly proud this year, since (eeeeeeee!) my book (yay!!), of course (yippppeeeee!), has made the cut (I still can’t believe I wrote a book!!).
Here’s the skinny. . .
Best Gifts for Middle Schoolers: Creative, Classic Ideas:
If you need something slightly younger, check out our Preschool Gift Guide or even our Toddler Gift Guide, and if you need something a little older, check out our Elementary School Gift Guide or our Middle School Gift Guide. Phew. We’ve been busy.
Click on the image or click on the link; they’ll both take you where you can quickly grab the product, and we even found a few great deals for you.
Many of the links are affiliate links, meaning if you purchase the item, teachmama.com gets a teeny, tiny percentage of the sale which helps us keep this website and all of its resources free for everyone. Yay!
Best Books as Gifts for the Littler Guys
My Pen, by Christopher Myers — How I love this book! Christopher Myers’ black and white illustrations and share what his pen does, where it takes him, and what worlds it can open. The big message? ‘So if you have a pen, see what you can do–Let those worlds inside your pen out!’
Chengdu Could Not, Would Not Fall Asleep, by Barney Saltzberg — My kids often have a tough time falling a sleep, so this book made us all smile. Little Chengdu’s wide eyes at night, when they should be shut, remind our difficult-sleepers that sometimes sleep is hard for everyone to find.
Waiting, by Kevin Henkes — A new book by our beloved author, Waiting is different–it’s subtle, it’s simple, and it will certainly leave even our youngest readers thinking.
Little Tree, by Loren Long — I totally heart Loren Long, so I knew when I picked this book up, I’d love it immediately–and I did. It’s a sweet story about learning to let go. Everyone needs this book.
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Who, by Jill Esbaum — Every, single person that everyone should know is covered in this book. Well, almost. In typical National Geographic Kids’ publication style, bright colors, varied fonts, and eye-catching graphics will help kids appreciate and love this text.
I Am Yoga, by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds — As a woman who needs yoga to maintain her sanity on a day to day basis, I love this book because it’s a great way to show children the powerful benefits of yoga pracitce.
National Geographic Kids WHY?: Over 1,111 Answers to Everything, by Crispin Boyer — My kids–and most kids I know–can get lost in a book like this for hours and hours and hours. Tons of fun facts. Tons of answers to questions they have. And fab photos for everything.
A Friend for Lakota: The Incredible True Story of a Wolf Who Braved Bullying, by Jim and Jamie Dutcher — Similar to the style of Sams and Stoick, A Friend for Lakota uses natural photos of animals to tell a real story that will definitely resonate with children.
One Busy Day: A Story for Brothers and Sisters, by Lola M. Schaefer and illustrated by Jessica Meserve — A little sister just wants to play with her big brother.
Manners Mash-Up: A Goofy Guide to Good Behavior, by tons of famous illustrators, like Tedd Arnold, Adam Rex, Judy Schachner and Bob Shea — Kids will love this mash-up of manner posters, each created for a different location by a different talented artist.
The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse, by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Hadley Hooper — I have had my eye on this book for a long time now because the illustrations are beautiful, and it gives us a tiny glimpse into the life of one of our masters. Kids will enjoy this one.
Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude, by Kevin O’Malley and illustrated by Carol Heyer and Scott Goto — A girl and boy struggle to collaborate when telling a story, so readers get a little bit of princess and a little bit of motorcycle dude.
Best Books as Gifts for the Bigger Guys
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Book One, The Sword of Summer, by Rick Riordan –This is the newest series by Rick Riordan, and it. Is. Awesome. Unlike the Percy Jackson series (also awesome) which deals with Greek gods and goddesses, Magnus Chase focuses on Norse mythology. Bring on the Vikings!
A Treasury of Norse Mythology, by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Christina Balit — A perfect companion to the Magnus Chase series, this extraordinary book will keep kids reading–and learning–along with a series they love! Read it and also check our our Norse Mythology 101 post.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book Set, by Rick Riordan — My kids went nuts for Percy Jackson this summer. I mean nuts. Owen and Maddy zipped through the series in no time flat–the books are that good. Percy is a likable, easy to love character, and young readers especially connect with his school challenges and honest. Check out our 10 Cool Ways to Read the Percy Jackson series post.
Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes, by Rick Riordan and illustrated by John Rocco — My kids were obsessed with this series this past summer, and Owen and Maddy literally devoured anything and everything I put in front of them that had to do with Greek Gods or Greek Heroes. The Greek Heroes is the newer book, but Greek Gods is equally as good. My hope is that when our kids hit The Iliad and The Odyssey in high school and their classics units, they’ll rock it.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 10–Old School, by Jeff Kinney — The latest and greatest from everyone’s favorite–Jeff Kinney. Our book fair delivered like four boxes of this book, and nearly every one of them was sold.
Shark Whisperer and Shark Rider, by Ellen Prager — These two are part of the Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians series, and Maddy loved them. She said they were kind of like an underwater Harry Potter.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition, by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay — I cannot wait to get my hands on this book. What I have seen is amazing. What I have read about it say
Wonder, by R. J. Palacio — Seriously the best book I’ve read in ages, I believe that every child should read this. Perfect for a nighttime read aloud.
365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts, by R. J. Palacio — A little bit of Wonder every single day. Yes, please.
Out of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper — A beautiful and heart-wrenching story about a young girl whose physical disabilities cause her tremendous challenges. And she can’t speak. But her mind is sharp, which makes it all harder to take. Another one that all kids should read.
A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park — Two different people telling a similar story about the difficulties of life in Sudan, this is based on a true story. Maddy loved, loved, loved this, and I cannot wait to read it.
I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education And Changed The World (Young Readers Edition), by Malala Yousafzai — We shared our love for Malala and her awesomeness earlier this fall, so I highly recommend that this book finds its way to every, single home. Kids need to read this.
Best Books as Gifts for Families
Raising a Rock-Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Lifelong Love of Reading, by Allison McDonald and me (yay!) — This is the book for anyone who cares for kids. It’s jam-packed with 75 quick tips that parents can do today to help their children develop a love of reading. For real. I teamed up with Allison McDonald to share every awesome tip you need to raise readers. You’ll love it. The feedback has been awesome, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. We’re #1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases for Reading and Teaching Materials. For real. Free resources to use alongside the book. Written in everyday language that everyone can understand. Nothing too stressful–kind of like you and your bff chatting over coffee about cool things to do with your kids.
Humans of New York: Stories, by Brandon Stanton — It’s no secret that I’m a little bit of a Brandon Stanton fan; every time we’re in New York City, I have all three of my kids scan the streets for him. I love Humans of New York (HONY) and follow the accounts on just about every social platform. What I love most about HONY is the stories. I love the look inside total strangers’ lives–the sharing of big and little moments of their life; I truly believe that it makes this big, wide world that much smaller, knowing that we all share similar struggles. Is this for every ‘big kid’? I would use your judgement for sure. Much of the content can be heavy–but I do think it sparks meaningful conversation between kids and parents.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo — I cannot wait to share the love I feel for this book (let me get through the holidays first!), but until then, just get it. It really is life-changing.
Coloring Crush, by Klutz — Coloring in the coolest new way. Beautiful designs. Relaxing. New.
Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest and Coloring Book, by Johanna Bastford — A bit of a game alongside coloring, and I think my kids will really like this. Cannot wait to see their faces when they open these beautiful books!
Nature Poetry: More than 200 Poems With Photographs that Float, Zoom, and BOOM!, by J Patrick Lewis — Poetry alongside photos? National Geographic style? I’m all for introducing your kids to different genres, and often poetry gets a backseat. Not with this book.
National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography: Tips and Tricks on How to Be a Great Photographer From the Pros and Your Pals at My SHOT, by Nancy Honovich and Annie Griffiths — With mobile devices at every child’s fingertips, everyone’s a photographer. This book is a quick and easy read, and kids can open the book to any page and grab a tip they can use that very day. Super-cool book for every digital kid.
The Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners, by Homa Sabet Tavanger and Becky Morales — Everything a parent or teacher needs to know about teaching their children about global education. What’s ‘global education’ you ask? Teaching children about inclusion, tolerance, cooperation, appreciation, and really, how to change the world. Love this. Looooove this.
The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You, by Jessica Turner — I’ve shared my Fringe Hours love this year, and so if you don’t yet have this book, it’s time to treat yourself. For moms, sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, neighbors. We all need this.
The Curious Kid’s Science Book: 100+ Creative, Hands-On Activities for Ages 4-8, by Asia Citro — Tons of really cool, manageable, and well planned science activities, from one of the most creative women I know. This is worth picking up, friends, out of all the science-y books out there. Great ideas for preschoolers, for weekends with elementary schoolers, or for playdates.
I am so very, very, very excited about these items, and I think you will be, too.
Need a few more great ideas?
Here are our 2015 gift guides:
Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities?
Click on the images below:
- Holiday Fun Fact and JOKES Lunchbox Notes (with Hannukah!)
- Holiday Time Fun Fact Lunchbox Notes
- Little Holiday Notes and Jokes
- Holiday Notes for Families
- The Polar Express tradition
- Scratch-off Cards
- K-Cup Advent Tree
- New Year’s Family Interview
- Happy Holidays Backyard Birds
fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This small percentage of money helps offset the costs of hosting this blog, which helps me keep this content free for you. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy.