Holiday shopping help

You can probably guess that one of my favorite things to gift around the holiday season is books! So many books. Stuck on what to get for your father/brother/nephew/cousin, etc? Here are just a few ideas, selected from among the–as of tonight’s count– 143 books I’ve read this year.

For the littlest kiddos in your lifebestfrintsSo silly and full of great word-play. Also: those colors!



Mo Willems does it again. This one is too much fun to read aloud. I may have read it to my cat.



A moving and significant book about an immigrant family’s journey.



For that kid (or hey, maybe that adult) who’s at her wit’s end.



A beautiful look at Congressman (and one of my personal heroes) John Lewis’s childhood.


For the elementary school set:


Unforgettable historical fiction that’s surprisingly gripping. A Newbery contender for sure.



For the Wimpy Kid lover who’s caught up on the series and looking for something new to read. (So fun and true to middle school.)



Probably my favorite book of the entire year. For the sports fan looking for something with heart.

bixbyA tearjerker if there ever was one!



So glad I snagged a paperback of this 2015 book at NerdCampMI. Delightful MG historical adventure.



You can never have too much Dory in your life. My 3rd grader nephew loves this series, but probably not more than I do. Abby Hanlon gets inside the imagination of an early elementary school student like no other. These books are just brilliant.

(Now, I can’t choose just one book by my fellow Sweet Sixteens debut middle grade authors, so here are all of ’em!)
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For the teens:



Another unforgettable, rich novel by the inimitable A.S. King.



Yeah, yeah, my second Jason Reynolds book on the list. (I read four of his books this year, now that I think about that, so consider me caught up.) This one’s available in paperback and a great choice. I think I have a new favorite author!



As a kid, I was all over WWII historical fiction, but the market got a little saturated since then and since The Book Thief, it’s been a while since I’ve read a truly engaging WWII novel. Until this one!



Most unforgettable narrator of the year, hands-down! Recommending this to anyone going through the college admissions process (parents, teens, teachers). Or anyone who still has battle wounds from the journey.



A gorgeous YA mystery from a new literary voice. Bonus points for New England setting!

For the former kids and teens — ahem, adults!


Pride and Prejudice? Updated and set in my new home city of Cincinnati?! What’s not to love? (Well, maybe Darcy if he really does eat that much Skyline Chili.)



This one has appeared on so many reading lists post-election. I’m a sucker for narrative non-fiction, especially those that combine a personal story with hard data in an very readable way.

For every human you know (little tykes can read it later; these books are timeless):


I read all three of these in anticipation of the National Book Award ceremony and could not put them down. Such an important work, and gorgeously packaged in this box set. If I were going to get the same gift for everyone in my family, it would be this.

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