The holidays really snuck up on me. I was lured into a false sense of security by the bizarrely warm weather. Now the soul-suckingly cold weather has returned and I just realized Christmas is less than a week away.
If you’re scrambling for last minute gifts for the kids in your life, you’ve come to the right place. Books make amazing gifts for kids. But the kid’s book market can be a bit dizzying.
So let’s make it easy.
Here’s my book gifting guide for kids:
Board book for expectant parents and little babies
Babies love books. They get cuddles and attention from their favorite adults. The get to learn about the world around them. They’re also great for teething….. I recommend board books with stiff, durable pages and short texts for baby bookworms.
And of course Goodnight Moon
Books for active babies and toddlers
They’ve just learned how to use their bodies so they want to use those newfound skills. A lot. Don’t fear, in a few short months they’ll want to cuddle again. Until then offer books that appeal to their desire to move and do. Durability is still important while they learn the fine art of turning (not tearing) pages.
Where is Baby’s Belly Button and other lift-the-flap books
Animals: Baby Touch and Feel and other touch and feel books
Picture books for preschoolers
Big kids enjoy longer texts and a bit of humor. These books are tried and true favorites.
Read aloud picture books for kindergarten and elementary
Picture books aren’t just for little kids! Even kids that are reading themselves will enjoy these longer picture books. And it’s beneficial, even for kids that are already reading.
First chapter books for reading aloud
Most kids will enjoy some longer, more complex stories when they are in preschool or kindergarten. At least some of the time. These chapter books are shorter with some pictures to help along the listener. They’ve also been chosen to have mild, non-scary content.
Read aloud chapter books for preschool and kindergarten
When your child is ready for something a little meatier, try these books. These classics are much loved in our house. They’re also free of scary or mature content* that wouldn’t be appropriate for young listeners.
* I adore Anna Hibiscus. Adore. The characters and stories are hilarious and beautiful. I also adore that the author tackles big issues like poverty, inequity, and race in a way that isn’t scary for young kids. Even my very sensitive 4 year old was able to handle the content in this book. Use your judgement.
Books for brand new readers
Reading is a skill. It takes a lot of practice to master. These shorter books are light on content but high on entertainment. That makes them the perfect place for a new reader to flex those reading muscles. The first chapter books for reading aloud are also great for kid’s just starting to read.
I Broke My Trunk and the other Elephant and Piggie books are pure gold
Short chapter books for less new readers
Kids that are ready to read longer books but aren’t ready for novels will love these shorter chapter books.
Amelia Bedelia Means Business (Amelia Bedelia Series)
Dinosaurs Before Dark (The Magic Treehouse Books)
Rapunzel Let’s Down her Hair (After Happily Ever After Series)
Books for kids that don’t like to read
Most teachers (and authors!) believe that kids that don’t like to read just haven’t met the right book yet. Some kids also get stuck because the books at their reading level just don’t appeal to them. Do you know what almost all kids love? Comics. Know what’s easy to read? Comics. Know what builds reading skills? Reading comics. These books may not be high fiction but they’re a lot of fun. And comics have been the gateway to reading for many kids.
Big books for Big kids
If you’ve got a bigger kid that’s comfortably reading bigger novels, these are the books for you. These books have more adventure and scarier villains suitable to bigger kids.
The Genius Files: Mission Unstoppable (Genius Files series)
The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians series)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia series, book 2)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter series)
True stories for kids
So far I’ve listed all fiction books. There’s a reason for that. Most kids like a good story the best. Some kids love true stories best of all.
Pluto’s Secret: An Icy World’s Tale of Discovery my daughter wouldn’t forgive me if I left out her favorite book
Still looking for inspiration? Check out these 500+ Great Kid’s Books.