For the past five years, I’ve been sharing some of my favorite books along with the perfect gifts to go with them. It really is one of my favorite recipes for gifts for children: 1 great book + 1 fun toy = sure-fire winner with loads of use!
On top of that, this list includes links to Amazon, which is another favorite ingredient: not running around to stores. Especially this time of year, the more I can order without ever getting into a car (or a parking lot) the better!
(If you do choose to use these Amazon affiliate links, a small percentage of any purchase at Amazon during that visit goes towards keeping this site running — with no extra cost to you. Thank You!)
You can check out some of the awesome lists from past years here:
And, here we go with 2017!
First up, are two books from a fantastic new series that emerged this year, and it’s definitely one to watch. It’s called the Amazing Scientists Series and it follows the true stories of scientist role models in a storybook form kids will love. It reminds me a bit of the Iggy Peck Architect and Rosie Revere the Engineer, but the fact that these are true biographies really adds so much. It’s so inspiring to have these great role models for our kids. Plus, each story ends with a letter from the scientist featured, encouraging your child. Such an awesome, personal touch. I can’t wait for next year’s titles!
Pair The Doctor with an Eye for Eyes: the Story of Dr. Patricia Bath with a fun Doctor’s Kit or a science kit like the chemistry set Dr. Bath received as a child in the book.
And for The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: the Story of Dr. Temple Grandin you might add fort boards or a classic block set (we have two of the basic set, plus this add-on architectural set) to let your own scientist build out the ideas in their heads.
I Went Walking is a great book for babies and toddlers (particularly in the board book form), but also happens to follow a fantastic pattern of repeating high-frequency words, which makes it great for emergent readers too. Package it up with a block farm set or farm animal lacing cards if you’re concerned about small parts.
For a bit of a longer picture book, try I Wanna Iguana. It’s the most hilarious, and clever story about a boy trying to talk his mom into a new pet. (If you’re teaching about persuasive writing, this is a must-have for an engaging, amusing model as the boy and his mom write letters back and forth as the text of the story.) This would be a great book to pair with a pet, if that was already on your gift list (I’m partial to the very low-maintenance beta fish, myself), or with a soft iguana toy like this for your lizard-lover.
If you have a child who loves both science and fantasy on your list, Mossby’s Magic Carpet Handbook: A Flyer’s Guide to Mossby’s Model D3 Extra-Small Magic Carpet (Especially for Young or Vertically Challenged People) might be just the thing. This book (which is ridiculously high-quality, by the way — hardcover with durable, extra thick pages) is written like an informational text, but with what looks like hand-written notes all over it from a mysterious great aunt who wants to pass on the family legacy. Full of imagination and fantasty, but with loads of real life science packed in as well. While this book is substantial on its own, it would be so much fun to bundle it with a cool tree swing like this or this so they can take that magic carpet for a spin!
One of my favorite chapter books from my own childhood was My Side of the Mountain. It filled me with all kinds of longing for outdoor adventure. Share this book along with a hammock with tree straps and a survival kit to inspire your own nature enthusiast. A book plus a hammock….that sounds like a winning recipe every time! (We got hammocks similar to this last year, and absolutely LOVE them. Finding a set with tree straps is a total game changer!)
And if you’re looking for a book for yourself this year, here are a few favorite nerdy reads from my stack:
I quote this book so frequently that I might just have to start handing it out to shorten conversations.
I started listening to this one on Audible, and had to order the book and start over because there was just so much I wanted to highlight and underline!
I read (listened) to this book a few years ago, but listened to the author in this interview just a few weeks ago and it got me thinking about it again! A really fascinating global perspective of education.
And if you’re a teacher, give yourself this gift to make the next year easier: Practical Solutions to Practically Every Problem. It’s based on a healthy, positive guidance model, and will set you up to tackle almost any classroom problem to come your way. My old copy was worn out, so I’m so glad Steffen Saifer came out with a new edition!
Since everyone gets at least one book for Christmas at our house, I’m trying to decide between Barefoot and Balanced and The Great Disconnect in Early Education. If you’ve read either, I’d love to hear your take!
Happy holidays to all of you! May it offer you and yours many hours curled up with a good book!