One of my favorite projects is picking out books for my nieces and nephews for Christmas each year. I have conversations with my husband about the kids and what they’re into lately (soccer, theater, Halo, art, wilderness, princesses, philosophy). I talk to my own kids about their cousins. I have email conversations with some of my sisters about what books their little kids have already read, and I scroll back through my own favorite reads of the year.
The ideal book is a perfect match for the niece’s or nephew’s time of life and personality, a surprise, and something he or she hasn’t discovered yet.
At risk of giving away my surprises, (my nieces and nephews have far better things to do than keep tabs on my blog, but in case they see this, I’m keeping recipients vague), here are the titles my husband and I are giving this year. If you’re looking for gift ideas, too, maybe one will strike you.
And no, I don’t send them my own books for Christmas. Where would be the fun in that?
For the college-aged and teens:
Genn Albin, Crewel
Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone
Kate Burak, Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things
Trish Doller, Something Like Normal
David Levithan, Every Day
Yann Martel, Life of Pi
Marie Rutkoski, The Shadow Society
Neal Shusterman, Unwholly
Dan Wells, Partials
For the little ones, ages 2-9:
David A. Carter, Builder Bugs
Ian Falconer, Olivia and the Fairy Princess
Tommy Greenwald and J.P. Coovert, Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading
Irene Latham, Don’t Feed the Boy
Barbara Lehman, The Red Book
Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted
George MacDonald, The Light Princess
Ray Marshall and Wilson Swain, The Castaway Pirates, A Pop-up Tale
Mo Willems, Knuffle Bunny