Gift Books for Favorite Kids

hatchetLong ago, when my nieces and nephews first came on the scene, my husband suggested that we stake out territory as the aunt and uncle who always send books for gifts.  It was the perfect decision.  We love the kids, and books, and giving.  We live far from our families, so it was harder to create bonds with kids we seldom saw, and being book-senders gave us an identity that would have been diffused if we’d sent a toy one year and toe socks the next.  Books led to conversations with the parents beforehand and with the kids afterward, and over time, we’ve built a tradition that feels special, at least to me.

As I’m thinking about books to send to 24 nieces and nephews this holiday, here is a look at some of the favorites we’ve sent over the years.  A few are out of print and worth a search, but most are contemporary and easy to order.  The real nieces and nephews have their own personalities and interests, but for the sake of simplicity, here I’ve compiled titles into one list each for a favorite niece and a favorite nephew, by age.

BugsFor a Favorite Nephew

Age, Title, Author

1   Bath Time, S. Boynton

2   How Many Bugs in a Box?, D. Carter

3   The Game of Finger Worms, H. Tullet

4   The Red Book, Lehman

5   Giants Come in Different Sizes, J. Bradfield

6   The Mysterious Benedict Society, T. Stewart

giants7   Don’t Feed the Boy, I. Latham

8   The Invasion (Animorphs #1), K. Applegate

9   No Dogs Allowed, B. Wallace

10  Hatchet, G. Paulsen

11  The Dark Game: True Spy Stories, P. Janeczko

12  Trapped, M. Northrup

13  Crash, J. Spinelli

14  Homeland: The Dark Elf Trilogy (Drizzt #1), R. Salvatore


15  I Sing the Body Electric, R. Bradbury

16  Ship Breaker, P. Bacigalupi

17  The Things a Brother Knows, D. Reinhardt

18  Life of Pi, Y. Martel

19  Something Like Normal, T. Doller


For a Favorite Niece

Age, Title, Author

1   Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks A-Z, R. Scarry


2   Mirette on the High Wire, E. McCully

3   The Fourteen Bears in Summer and Winter, E. Scott

4   Sam and the Firefly, P. Eastman

5   The Castaway Pirates, A Pop-Up Tale, R. Marshall

6   Emma’s Rug, A. Say

7   The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, C. Van Allsburg

8   A Little Princess, F. Burnett


9   Ella Enchanted, G. Levine

10  The Tale of Despereaux, K. DiCamillo

11  Yolonda’s Genius, C. Fenner

12  Alanna (Song of the Lioness #1), T. Pierce

13  Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, D. Petersen

14  Shadow and Bone, L. Bardugo

15  Please Ignore Vera Dietz, A. King

16  Every Day, D. Levithan

17  The Knife of Never Letting Go, P. Ness

every day

18  The Mists of Avalon, M. Bradley

19  Girl with a Pearl Earring, T. Chevalier

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