The Children’s Book Review: Holiday Gift Guide
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: 12 Days of Children’s Books!
Books are our favorite items to wrap! This special list will be updated daily with the children’s book of the day. The featured titles are some of our favorite new books to gift. Your young readers are going to love them!
We’ll also be posting on our Instagram feed with #12DaysOfBooksTCBR.
On the First Day of Bookmas
A Christmas Carol: In 20 Minutes a Day
By Bushel & Peck Books
Ages 8+ | 180 Pages
Publisher: Bushel & Peck Books | ISBN-13: 9781952239670
Publisher’s Book Summary: Reading with your kids has a profound impact on their development, and now it’s easier than ever!
In A Christmas Carol in 20 Minutes a Day, the unabridged text of the beloved story of old Scrooge and the three Christmas ghosts is broken down into easy, twenty-minute chunks―perfect for a daily read-aloud. Thoughtful questions after each passage boost comprehension and facilitate meaningful discussion, while definitions in the margins make it easy for parents to explain what challenging words might mean. Learn vocabulary, strengthen literacy, introduce the classics, and bond over beautiful literature with A Christmas Carol in 20 Minutes a Day!
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Also available in the 20 Minutes a Day Series: Peter Pan, Treasure Island, The Wind in the Willows, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, and more.
On the Second Day of Bookmas
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell: 10th Anniversary Illustrated Edition
By Chris Colfer
Ages 8+ | 496 Pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | ISBN-13: 9780316453462
Publisher’s Book Summary: Celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Chris Colfer’s #1 New York Times bestselling series The Land of Stories with this gorgeous illustrated anniversary edition!
Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.
The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
This special ten-year anniversary edition of the book that launched the beloved worldwide phenomenon includes a personal note from the author and over 20 new full-color, full-page illustrations from series illustrator Brandon Dorman, making this the perfect gift for both new and returning fans!
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On the Third Day of Bookmas
The Storyteller’s Handbook
Written by Elise Hurst
Foreword by Neil Gaimon
Ages 5+ | 128 Pages
Publisher: Compendium, Inc. | ISBN-13: 9781970147766
Publisher’s Book Summary: What happens when story time begins with a little glowing doorway under a bridge, a pair of koalas floating on an autumn leaf, or a giant mantis returning a library book? Absolutely anything!
Inside this book are an infinite number of stories, waiting for you to bring them to life! You’ll find 52 magical hand-drawn illustrations—of strange lands, mystical creatures, curious animals, and intriguing characters. But there are no accompanying words, because you, the storyteller, are the missing ingredient.
Open this book at any time, or on any page and let the rich details of each illustration become the beginning of an adventure you create. With countless possible stories living on every page, The Storyteller’s Handbook is like having an entire library in a single book!
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On the Fourth Day of Bookmas
Harry Potter: Magical Meditations: 64 Inspirational Cards Based on the Wizarding World
Written by Jody Revenson
Ages 8+ | 112 Pages
Publisher: Insight Editions | ISBN-13: 9781647224639
Publisher’s Book Summary: Let the wisdom of the Harry Potter films guide you with this card deck and book set featuring quotes, activities, and prompts to help you bring the magic of the Wizarding World to your daily life.
This enchantingly designed inspirational card deck features 64 cards, each of which offers the reader a unique question, prompt, or invitation for self-reflection based on the major characters, moments, quotes, and themes of the Harry Potter films. It comes packaged in a decorative gift box with a book that delves deeper into the cinematic moments explored in the cards and the inspiration the filmmakers drew from while creating them. Harry Potter Guided Deck and Book Set is the perfect gift for fans looking to tap into the powerful messages of love, hope, and heroism in the Harry Potter films.
INCLUDES 64 CARDS: Each card includes a question, prompt, inspirational quote, or suggestion to help guide your day
FACT-FILLED BOOK: Included book delves deeper into the themes of love, hope, and heroism in the Harry Potter films
PERFECT GIFT: Packaged in a beautiful gift box, Harry Potter Guided Deck and Book Set is an ideal gift for the Harry Potter fan
OFFICIAL WIZARDING WORLD GIFT SET: Created in collaboration with Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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On the Fifth Day of Bookmas
Written by Gregory Maguire
Illustrated by David Litchfield
Ages 8+ | 224 Pages
Publisher: Candlewick | ISBN-13: 9781536211009
Publisher’s Book Summary: A lavishly illustrated woodland tale with a classic sensibility and modern flair—from the fertile imagination behind Wicked
Gregory Maguire turns his trademark wit and wisdom to an animal adventure about growing up, moving on, and finding community.
When Papa doesn’t return from a nocturnal honey-gathering expedition, Cress holds out hope, but her mother assumes the worst. It’s a dangerous world for rabbits, after all. Mama moves what’s left of the Watercress family to the basement unit of the Broken Arms, a run-down apartment oak with a suspect owl landlord, a nosy mouse super, a rowdy family of squirrels, and a pair of songbirds who broadcast everyone’s business. Can a dead tree full of annoying neighbors, and no Papa, ever be home?
In the timeless spirit of E. B. White and The Wind and the Willows—yet thoroughly of its time—this read-aloud and read-alone gem for animal lovers of all ages features an unforgettable cast that leaps off the page in glowing illustrations by David Litchfield. This tender meditation on coming-of-age invites us to flourish wherever we find ourselves.
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On the Sixth Day of Bookmas
Construction Site: Farming Strong All Year Long
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Illustrated by AG Ford
Ages 2+ | 48 Pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books | ISBN-13: 9781797213873
Publisher’s Book Summary: The construction crew is back and ready to help out on the farm! Working together with new friends, they’ll get the job done all year long.
There’s work to do! No time to waste! All year the farm’s a busy place! Six hardworking trucks—with help from brand-new farm vehicles—have work to do in each of the seasons: planting in spring, building a barn in the summer, harvesting in fall, and finally tucking the animals in for a cozy winter. Construction enthusiasts will love this look at a farm through the year, and all the rough, tough work there is to do!
Sherri Duskey Rinker and AG Ford, the author-illustrator team behind the many bestselling Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site books, bring their playful rhyming text and vibrant illustrations to another exciting tale of teamwork, sure to delight little construction fans everywhere.
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On the Seventh Day of Bookmas
The Quentin Blake Book
Written by Jenny Uglow
All Ages | 256 Pages
Publisher: Thames & Hudson | ISBN-13: 9780500094358
Publisher’s Book Summary: A fascinating, fully illustrated overview of the life and work of one of the world’s best-loved illustrators, Quentin Blake, celebrating more than seventy years of work that has redefined illustration.
Familiar to both young and old, Quentin Blake’s entertaining and lively artworks are full of characters that have amused and inspired generations of readers. He is best-known for his collaborations on children’s books, including those written by Michael Rosen, John Yeoman, Russell Hoban, and, most famously, Roald Dahl.
An artist for seven decades, Blake’s first drawings were published in Punch when he was just sixteen. He has also illustrated literary classics such as A Christmas Carol, Candide, and Don Quixote, and in the last twenty years, Blake has extended his practice to large-scale works for hospitals, libraries, and public spaces. He has received numerous prizes and awards for his illustration work, including the Whitbread Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, and the international Bologna Ragazzi Award. In 1999, he was appointed the United Kingdom’s first-ever Children’s Laureate; he has won the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the highest international recognition given to creators of children’s books; and he has been awarded a knighthood for “services to illustration.”
A unique celebration of the illustrator’s art to date, this beautiful collection guides the reader through Blake’s extraordinary body of work. Seventy years of the artist’s drawings and illustrations of enormous diversity are represented―including recent unpublished work―alongside text by distinguished writer and illustration specialist Jenny Uglow, with commentary by Blake himself. An insightful overview, profusely illustrated with images specially selected in consultation with the artist, The Quentin Blake Book commemorates his life’s work and showcases the wide- ranging and personal nature of his art. (300 color illustrations.)
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On the Eighth Day of Bookmas
Written and Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Ages 3 + | 48 Pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers | ISBN-13: 9780316528948
Publisher’s Book Summary: This glorious new picture book from two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall is as lavish and moving a tribute to a storied, beloved place as Hello Lighthouse.
Over a hill, at the end of a road, by a glittering stream that twists and turns stands a farmhouse.
Step inside the dollhouse-like interior of Farmhouse and relish in the daily life of the family that lives there, rendered in impeccable, thrilling detail. Based on a real family and an actual farmhouse where Sophie salvaged facts and artifacts for the making of this spectacular work, page after page bursts with luminous detail and joy. Join the award-winning, best-selling Sophie Blackall as she takes readers on an enchanting visit to a farmhouse across time, to a place that echoes with stories.
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On the Ninth Day of Bookmas
The Gift of Story
Written by John Schu
Foreword by Katherine Applegate
Adult | 184 Pages
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers | ISBN-13: 9781625312082
Publisher’s Book Summary: With the rise of teacher stressors, new and changing state standards, and high-stakes testing, it is more important than ever to remind literacy teachers and teacher-librarians about the reason that brought them to this profession: the love of story.
The Gift of Story: Exploring the Affective Side of the Reading Life, by John Schu (affectionately known as “Mr. Schu” all over reading communities), invites readers to consider literacy beyond its academic benefits and explore how universal truths found in stories can change us, inspire us, connect us to others, answer our deepest questions, and even help us heal along the way. Using his experience as a teacher, librarian, book lover, and story ambassador, Mr. Schu asks readers to reflect on what it means to share their hearts through stories and how it can connect us to individuals and learning communities.
The Gift of Story is presented through a study of five affective elements: Healer, Inspiration, Clarifier, Compassion, and Connector. Along the way, readers will encounter insightful contributions from educators, children’s writers, and illustrators, as well as recommendations for sharing the gift of story with learning communities including: treasured book suggestions that stir reflection, engaging tips for celebrating literacy, and heart-growing applications to lift classroom and library practices.
Celebrate the way we define and imagine ourselves through literacy by using stories to connect to others, build and strengthen community, and honor the children we were called to teach.
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On the Tenth Day of Bookmas
Written by Diana Farid
Illustration by Kris Goto
Ages 10+ | 320 Pages
Publisher: Cameron Kids | ISBN-13: 9781951836580
Publisher’s Synopsis: A coming-of-age novel in verse set in 1980s Southern California, about a Persian American girl who rides the waves, falls, and finds her way back to the shore.
Thirteen-year-old Ava loves to surf and to sing. Singing and reading Rumi poems settle her mild OCD, and catching waves with her best friend, Phoenix, lets her fit in—her olive skin looks tan, not foreign. But then Ava has to spend the summer before ninth grade volunteering at the hospital, to follow in her single mother’s footsteps to become a doctor. And when Phoenix’s past lymphoma surges back, not even surfing, singing, or poetry can keep them afloat, threatening Ava’s hold on the one place and the one person that make her feel like she belongs. With ocean-like rhythm and lyricism, Wave is about a girl who rides the waves, tumbles, and finds her way back to the shore.
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On the Eleventh Day of Bookmas
Nigel and the Moon
Written by Antwan Eady
Illustrated by Gracey Zhang
Ages 4+ | 40 Pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books | ISBN-13: 9780063056282
Publisher’s Book Summary: From debut author Antwan Eady and artist Gracey Zhang comes a glowing tale about the young dreaming big. A perfect story to demonstrate how pride in where we come from can bring a shining confidence.
When Nigel looks up at the moon, his future is bright. He imagines himself as…an astronaut, a dancer, a superhero, too!
Among the stars, he twirls. With pride, his chest swells. And his eyes, they glow. Nigel is the most brilliant body in the sky.
But it’s Career Week at school, and Nigel can’t find the courage to share his dreams. It’s easy to whisper them to the moon, but not to his classmates—especially when he already feels out of place.
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On the Twelfth Day of Bookmas
The Last Mapmaker
Written by Christina Soontornvat
Ages 8+ | 368 Pages
Publisher: Candlewick | ISBN-13: 9781536204957
Publisher’s Book Summary: From Christina Soontornvat, the visionary and versatile author of two 2021 Newbery Honor Books, comes a high-seas adventure set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world.
In a fantasy adventure every bit as compelling and confident in its world building as her Newbery Honor Book A Wish in the Dark, Christina Soontornvat explores a young woman’s struggle to unburden herself of the past and chart her own destiny in a world of secrets. As assistant to Mangkon’s most celebrated mapmaker, twelve-year-old Sai plays the part of a well-bred young lady with a glittering future. In reality, her father is a conman—and in a kingdom where the status of one’s ancestors dictates their social position, the truth could ruin her. Sai seizes the chance to join an expedition to chart the southern seas, but she isn’t the only one aboard with secrets. When Sai learns that the ship might be heading for the fabled Sunderlands—a land of dragons, dangers, and riches beyond imagining—she must weigh the cost of her dreams. Vivid, suspenseful, and thought-provoking, this tale of identity and integrity is as beautiful and intricate as the maps of old.
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The 12 Days of Children’s Books is being curated by Bianca Schulze. To see all of our gift ideas, visit Holiday Gift Guide Kids Books.