When people hear that I am a librarian, they usually have two reactions. One is, Wait people still use libraries? (to which my answer is a resounding YES). The second is, I want to buy a book for someone who’s x old. Can you give me a recommendation? (to which my answer is a resounding YES).
If you fall into the second camp and you’re looking for some great books to gift the young (and young-at heart!) readers in your life, here are 10 books that I love to give:
The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli is one of my daughter’s favorite bedtime stories. It’s perfect for little kids and toddlers, and it’s fun to read, too!
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Love Makes A Family is a sweet little board book by Sophie Beer – sturdy enough for little hands and full of wonderful illustrations.
Vashti Harrison’s Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History is an amazing collection highlighting 40 black women who changed the world, from Bessie Coleman to Maya Angelou. A must read for every child!
I LOVE Mo Willems, so this copy of An Elephant and Piggie BIGGIE (vol 1) was definitely on the must-buy list for the preschoolers in my life. If you’re just going to pick one Elephant & Piggie to gift, I’d recommend The Thank You Book!
I LOVE THIS BOOK. The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez is the story of 12-year-old Malú, who is having a hard time adjusting to life at a new school. So she starts a punk-rock band with a bunch of other misfits and fights for her right to express herself. I’m dreaming of one day teaching an elective to my middle schoolers where we read this book and make our own zines.
This middle-grade gem is a book I wish I had found when I was twelve. The main character, Finley, suffers from anxiety and depression, but doesn’t know how to name those feelings. Her only escape is writing, and she is stunned when she realizes that the forest behind her grandmother’s house resembles the one in her stories. But when a darkness threatens to envelop the forest, Finley has to find a way to save it – by saving herself.
Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs is a perennial favorite with my middle schoolers. It’s the story of a 12 year old detective, a murdered hippopotamus, and a zoo-driven conspiracy that threatens everything. Definitely a must-read for any kid who loves animals, mysteries, or humor.
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in 10 Blocks is a collection of connected short stories by one of my absolute favorite authors, Jason Reynolds. Middle school students will love it!
The Grace Year by Kim Ligett is a book that I read in one sitting. I can’t stop thinking about this feminist, Lord of the Flies-esque story of a group of girls exiled into the wilderness for the year they turn 16 – a year they may not survive. Perfect for high schoolers on your list! (read my full review here)
I’m not a huge graphic novel fan (personally!) but I know so many kids are – I can barely keep graphic novels of any kind on my library shelves. This poignant and devastating graphic memoir, Hey Kiddo, is an exceptional look at growing up with addicted parents – a reality that all too many kids are