Gift Guide for Book-Lovers


While minimalism may be trending this holiday season, and many folks are advocating for giving experiences instead of things, I’m here to make the argument that a good book is a whole experience. Here is my gift guide for book lovers.

I will include the Amazon links to these books so that you can read the descriptions but PLEASE support our local bookshops instead of ordering from amazon. Spending at Bright Side Books, Starlight Books or Bookman’s helps keep money in our community. Bright Side can even special order anything that they don’t have in stock.

Books for the kids:

Infant-Age 2

Moo Ba La La La by Sandra Boynton: Delightfully silly, this book taught my kids animal sounds.

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw: A sweet rhyming tale about the perils of letting animals drive.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Shertle: This book has it all, rhymes, animals, and a moral lesson on the importance of making time to be polite.

Good Dog Carl (and sequels) by Alexandra day: These books are fun because they don’t actually have any words. Interpret the story how you will, your child will have fun looking at the beautiful illustrations of a baby and her adventures with her canine babysitter.

Age 2-3

The Gruffalo By Julia Donaldson: A magical, imaginative tale about how the meek can outsmart the mighty.

A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein: This zany ode to ridiculousness is sure the make you little one smile.

Press Here By Herve Tullet: This book doesn’t have a story but is instead an interactive series of instructions, teaching kids colors and directions.

Picture Books Ages 3 and up

Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems: These stories are all delightfully simple tales about two, very different, best friends learning about life and friendship.

The Raft by Jim LaMarche: A boy spending the summer off grid with his grandmother finds a raft that helps him discover the magic of the natural world around him.

The Salamander Room By Anne Mazer: The story of a child who wants to bring a wild salamander into his room, and the lengths he would have go to in order to make an animal feel at home there.

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie: Little Thunder is named after his father, but wants to make his own name, the story follows him discovering his identity.

Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty: Inspired by real women scientists this story follows Ada while her inquisitive nature gets her in to trouble and she discovers what it means to be a scientist.

The Adventures of Salt and Soap at the Grand Canyon By Lori Rome: Based on the true story of two puppies found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and the adventure that led them to their forever home. (DEFINITELY buy this one locally, Amazon doesn’t have the latest edition with the new illustrations.)

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o: This is a story about race and the uniqueness that makes us beautiful.

Illustrated Nonfiction

A Seed is Sleepy (and others) By Diana Hutts Atson: These are some of my absolute favorites, explore the diversity and intricacy of seed life cycles (and other everyday wonders) with gorgeous illustrations and poetic voice.

How Animals Build by Moira Butterfield et. al.: A lift the flap book about animal architects.

The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillain: Fold out book exploring the underground, from animals burrows and sewers all the way to earth’s molten core.

Read Aloud Chapter Books

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Gannet: This whimsical story follows the adventure of Elmer elevator as he stows away on a ship, rescues a baby dragon and lives on tangerines. It’s delightful.

Illustrated Harry Potter (Parental discretion advised) By JK Rowling: We had so much fun reading this to our daughter, she is three but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to other three-year-olds. It is unabridged, it is scary and there is obviously a lot of talk about dead parents. I would recommend it to older children.

Mia Mayhem is a Super Hero! By Kara West: 8-year-old Mia discovers she has super powers and goes to super hero school. Written simply enough for emerging reading but it’s still fun as a family read aloud.

Books for Grown-ups

Dahlia Black by Keith Thomas: This one is perfect for the sci-fi nerd on your list. Seamlessly blending science and speculation for the most creative alien invasion I’ve ever read, and the conspiracy theory footnotes make it extra fun.

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver: This book is speculative climate fiction, told from the perspective of a rural farm wife exploring the dichotomy between science and religion.

Pure Land by Annette Mcgivney: Everyone who lives in Flagstaff, or has visited the southwest should read this book. Its non-fiction exploration of human nature, a brutal murder, a legacy of violence and the healing power of the landscape.

There, There by Tommy Orange: Follows the story of 12 characters from native communities, delving into the plight of the urban Native American, grappling with the complexities of their inherited painful history.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James: This groundbreaking fantasy entwines African history and mythology into a richly imaginative fantasy world that has been compared to the depth of Tolkein’s world. (Disclaimer I haven’t actually read this one yet, so if your shopping for me this is the one I want…)