My Favorite Books to Give as Gifts

I think giving a book is one of the most thoughtful gifts. I rarely receive books since no one knows which books I own or have read, so I may be way off on this assumption. Then again, the last (unrequested) book I remember receiving was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which I absolutely loved (thanks, Beks!).

So, sometimes, I think it’s worth the risk, even if the other person may already have the book.

(P.S. If you’re a family member, chances are high you’re getting a book.)


I specifically love giving books for kids’ birthdays. Goodness knows, we go to enough themed parties these days, and books are an easy, but thoughtful gift. Plus, with kids’ books, you never know if they’ll be that special book the child loves and reads to his or her children some day. I love that idea.

Here are a few stunners that would make great gifts. I tried to organize the list by age.

pancakesPancakes!: An Interactive Recipe Book (Cook In A Book) by c and Meagan Bennett

I discovered this book while George was enjoying more screen time at the library and I was attempting to entertain my partially mobile baby girl with board books. It’s a board book that imitates cooking. Littles can mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder, then whisk some eggs, milk, and butter. It’s such a clever book. My library’s shelf only had this one, but there are companion books worth a search: Pizza!: An Interactive Recipe Book and Tacos!: An Interactive Recipe Book. So, whether you’d like to give breakfast, lunch, or dinner, share some sweet, sweet times with your toddler.

givetakeGive & Take by Lucie Felix

I’ve mentioned this book as a great interactive book for the 2-4-year-old range. There isn’t really a story, but it’s a cool effect as pieces are removed and inserted in the following pages. Very clever, because when it’s finished, you simply read the book backwards to return the pieces to their beginning places.

Lucie Felix also wrote Apples and Robins, which is another delightful turn-the-page-and-discover book.

blockAlphablock by Christopher Franceschelli

This book cemented George’s love for his ABC’s. It’s beautifully designed, with cutout letters on every other page. I’ll repeat my joke about how much I love that “Y is for yacht.” I got a kick out of hearing my 2-year-old say “yacht,” as if he needed to know that word in his preschool class.

Countablock, Dinoblock, and Cityblock all exist as well, but we only own Alpha and Counta, which taught George how to count to 100. Thankfully, Countablock counts to 100 in a nice way that won’t drive parents absolutely insane. The graphics are similar to Alphablock and just as fun.

lemonadeLemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word by Bob Raczka

This book doesn’t have any tricks or gimmicks other than fabulous wordplay. I think it’s a great book for a 3rd grade girl who loves to read. On one page, the author placed a word, such as “creative.” Flip the page, and you’ll see a poem written using only the letters in the word: “I crave art.” Thoughtful and well-done.

Mr. Raczka also wrote Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems, which marries art, design, and poetry. I love how thorough and thoughtful he is with his creations.

dinosEncyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart

If you have a dinosaur-lover in your life, go purchase this book immediately. The pop-ups are outstanding. The T-rex is so real that George actually lept back when I opened the page. In addition to the main pop-up on each page, there are three to four more pop-ups in little pages on each page, if that makes sense. This book is chock-ful of facts and theories, which, honestly, I haven’t read, because my son is 2 and doesn’t care yet.

I actually bought this one and Encyclopedia Prehistorica Sharks and Other Sea Monsters as gifts for my husband so he would be able to share them with our children some day. You have to be careful not to give your kids full reign with pop-ups too early, or you’ll find the books torn (learn from my mistake!).

penguinFlora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

While I still haven’t decided how I feel about wordless books, but I love the whimsy of these Flora books. These would be a beautiful Christmas gift for a little girl. They’re such sweet tales of a little girl’s imagination. You can feel the emotions flitter through each illustration, each flap. Flora dances with a penguin, ostrich, flamingo, and peacocks. Beautifully illustrated and perfect for a little girl’s collection.

I feel like books are the gift that keeps on giving. I never hesitate to invest in my children’s library (after checking our local library’s website for availability, that is). Admittedly, I don’t always follow through and allow excess TV time seep into our home when I should put down my phone and grab a stack of picture books. But whenever George asks for a book or Olivia slides a book my way, I do my best to drop whatever I’m doing, pull them close, and crack open a book.

I’ve now read my fair share (and the share of three other parents) of children’s books, and I found this list to be delightful. I hope you have the chance to share some nifty titles with your loved ones this holiday season.

Do you have any go-to gift books? I’d love to add them to my list!

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Published by Christine Boatwright

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