Christmas is almost here. In my mind, nothing beats a book for a hard-to-shop for individual on your list, because whether or not they like to read, you can often find a book that appeals to a certain interest. And for me, that means I get to go shopping in a bookstore, or browse amazon, which is honestly where I most like to shop. So if I’m fighting the crowds to finish up last-minute shopping, then I might as well be surrounded by my beloved books, right?
We’ve featured Scholastic Books in the past here and at the 5 Minutes for Mom column (can you say “Harry Potter”?). Although I’m usually a softcover gal, my daughter and I would love to start collecting Harry Hardcovers because of the wear and tear that they are getting. They’ve sent me a 20% off code to share with all of you. Just order from their online store between now and December 31 and use the code SSMOMMY at checkout. (They appear to have some great toys and games in addition to books).
Here are some recommendations from our team:
Children’s Books (independent readers):
The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart. Carrie originally reviewed this book on her personal blog, Reading to Know. Carrie reviewed the sequel, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey right here on 5 Minutes for Books. She recommends both (quite highly).
For a fun adventure read for your 10-14 year old, Carrie recommends Leepike Ridge, by N.D. Wilson. You can read her review of Leepike Ridge by clicking here.
If you are looking for a good classic, Lauren recommends From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. She reviewed this Newberry Award winner HERE.
Lauren also recommends the My Father’s Dragon Trilogy. The books in this series have short chapters making them especially appealing to those making the transition to chapter books (the books also make great read-alouds).
Lauren’s all-time favorite chapter books are the Ramona books. Lauren still treasures her original copy of Ramona the Pest, and looks forward to sharing it with her own daughter soon.
Perhaps you know some children who would be less-than-thrilled by a book under the tree. Jennifer recommends that you try to entice them with an audiobook version. Amanda loves listening to CDs while she’s cleaning her room. They are also great for the whole family to listen to on car trips and ipod-equipped tweens can save them to their itunes account. Jennifer reviewed some great children’s audiobooks HERE.
Children’s books (for younger children):
Lauren’s favorite picture book as a child was Where the Wild Things Are. You can read her review of that HERE.
For a newer children’s book, Lauren recommends the If You Give… series by Laura Numeroff. Currently, Lauren’s daughter loves If You Take a Mouse to School.
For children who enjoy a bit of humor, Lauren’s son recommends Diary of a Worm. The author of this book, Doreen Cronin, is also the author of other “Diary” books as well as the popular Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.
Jennifer’s new favorite book for young preschoolers on up to early elementary school is Bill Martin Jr.’s fun new anthology, the Big Book of Poetry (reviewed HERE).
Also by Martin, Jennifer’s favorite go-to books for toddlers are the “Brown Bear” series, reviewed HERE. Packaged with the audiobook recording (reviewed HERE), it would be a fantastic gift.
Fiction for adults:
Carrie recommends Summer of Light by W. Dale Cramer for a good fiction read that walks the fine line between inspirational fiction and reality. She reviewed this one on her own blog, Reading to Know.
If you’re a mystery/suspense lover, Melissa recommends Angela Hunt. Her two favorites are The Debt: The Story of a Past Redeemed
and The Pearl.
Although Lauren doesn’t often buy fiction for herself (she uses the library), she does think that classics make great gifts. A Jane Austen Set would be treasured by many!
Among Lisa’s favorite novels read this year, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier ranks as one of her favorites. And for those who enjoy heart pounding suspense, the Patrick Bowers series by Steven James are fantastic! Lisa reviewed the second novel in the series, The Rook, HERE. Stephen Lawhead’s novels Hood and Scarlet, a re-telling of the legend of Robin Hood, are excellent. Lisa reviewed Scarlet at her blog here.
Jennifer thinks that the ESV Study Bible would be a great gift for any student of the Bible on your list. Read her full review on her blog HERE.
For inspirational and compelling reading, Carrie also recommends The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias. She reviewed this book earlier for 5 Minutes for Books.
Both intensely practical and highly relevant, Tim Challies’ The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment would make a great gift for anyone seeking to live wisely. Lisa reviewed this title here.
Lisa also recommends Lydia Brownback’s On the Go Devotional: Contentment as a great gift. In fact, she would love to have the other titles in Lydia’s On the Go series for herself! Check out Lisa’s review here.
Melissa recommends Be Last by Jeremy Kingsley, which she reviewed here. She also discussed part of the impact the book has had on her life in this post on her blog, Breath of Life.
For the cook or crafter:
Jennifer thinks that cookbooks are great gifts — for the foodie or as an aide to someone who likes to do the bare minimum in the kitchen. The Trader Joe cookbook, recently reviewed HERE would make a fantastic and generous gift with a gift card and packaged up in a Trader Joe’s reusable grocery bag.
You can browse all the other cookbooks and craft-books in our “Home” category.
To Start the New Year off Right:
If you’re looking to change your life this year, Melissa recommends Living Simply: Choosing Less in a World of More. I can’t say enough about this book. Joanne Heim is honest, practical, and genuine. This is another book that changed my life.
The ESV Study Bible impressed Jennifer. You can read her review HERE.
For the sports “athlete, fan and wanna be,” (girl or guy for that matter), Lisa recommends Game Day for the Glory of God by Stephen Altrogge. You can see my full review here, but Altrogge’s book offers timely advice for enjoying sports all the while keeping the main thing, the main thing.
For the history buffs on your list, or maybe for those who love a good story (that really happened) and good writing, Lisa recommends David McCollough’s 1776, an interesting and compelling look at the beginnings of our nation.
See more in all of the categories by searching the drop down category in the box on the right sidebar. I’ve even labeled a category Gift Ideas.
What books are YOU giving this Christmas?
Shelf Talk says
The Seattle librarians behind the Shelf Talk blog have published a series of seven new lists with gift book ideas for younger readers. Check it out!
Anoter great gift idea, “The Flame of Heaven. Good clean fun action , suspense, fantasy with a twist. Check out http://www.strategicbookpublishing.com/TheFlameOfHeaven.html