Happy Thanksgiving from the Children’s Desk! At this point most of us are already thinking ahead to seasonal to do lists, which often includes holiday shopping for our loved ones. As a librarian, my go to gifts always include books. You can give the gifts of adventure, mystery and knowledge all found in the pages of books. And a bonus feature is that books are usually easy to wrap!

I have put together a list of books that I would personally recommend as great gift options for children and teens. The lists are split into three categories: children’s picture books, children’s chapter books, and books for teens.

The books that I chose to include on these lists are books that were published this past year in 2020 and have either been read or reviewed by me personally. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and the books are not listed in any order within their categories. I am happy to help you with more personalized recommendations. There are many more wonderful books that can be recommended for each of the categories. If you would like a more personalized book recommendation, please feel free to email me at rachelle.golde@pioneerland.lib.mn.us with a detailed message. And now … drum roll please…for the fun part … the book lists!

Children’s Picture Books:

  • My Favorite Color by Aaron Becker: This beautiful book is best read with a light source to shine through the die-cut pictures. The book explores colors and their spectrums though nature. Who said we can only have one favorite color?
  • Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark by Jonathan Stutzman: Tiny T. Rex is off on another adventure. In this story he must face his fear of the dark. Very sweet.
  • Jack at Bat by Marc Barnett and Greg Pizzoli: this series is great for those looking for an easy reader for beginning readers.
  • Bedtime for Sweet Creatures: by Nikki Grimes: an adorable toddler fights bedtime while the child’s mother weaves creative stories about animals and the child’s behaviors. Beautifully illustrated and poetically written.

Children’s Chapter Books:

  • Spindlefish and Stars by Christiane M. Andrews: This Greek mythology inspired fantasy inspires readers to choose their own paths, untangle mysteries and explore the power of storytelling.
  • Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson: This novel in verse explores ZJ’s relationship with his father as he copes with a long term football injury. Can they find common ground to stay connected? This is a touching, emotional story of the bonds and strength of family while going through difficult times.
  • The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling: This fast-paced fairy tale is full of humor, monsters and epic adventures.
  • Village of Scoundrels by Margi Preus: This historical fiction story is based on a true story of WWII where a group of teens help to save refugees. This is an edge of your seat read!

Teens Books:

  • The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu: A fictional story of Wolfgang Mozart and his sister Nannerl as they dream of making history with their music. When a magical stranger offers to help will Nannerl risk everything?
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi: A history lesson told in a causal, relatable and even humorous language that will keep teens reading, thinking, and asking questions. This book challenges us to think about our personal ideas and beliefs of history.
  • One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus: The sequel to “One of us is Lying” this thriller continues the mystery with a whole new set of problems with a deadly game of truth or dare.
  • The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming: this nonfiction read reveals the darker side of this American Hero.

Graphic Novels:

  • Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang for ages 10+
  • When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed for ages 10+
  • The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp for ages 12+
  • Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang for ages 12+
  • Donut the Destroyer by Sarah Graley for ages 8+

Happy holidays and until next time, happy reading!