A Book-tastic Gift Guide

Gift-Bundle Ideas Perfect for the Children on Your Holiday List

By Elyse Brantingham

With the holidays coming up, I love short cuts of any kind. A gift guide is just that sort of time-saving, parent-helping, gift-finding device! This one is unique. It includes incredible books for all the kids on your list. To help you even further, each story is paired with a gift, or two, which will complement the book even further. Join me–the mother of four very different children–as I go through each one, telling you why it’s a favorite in my home.

Wintertime Stories

Charlie & Emmet-Snowy Day

This book would make a great addition to any family library, especially since there is another book in this series (Charlie & Emmet-Surgery Day). Kids tend to get attached to characters and that helps them keep reading. This little girl and her pet dinosaur will traipse right into your heart. Follow Charlie and Emmet on this fun snowy day as they make the impossible possible. This story is fun, silly, and even has some conflict resolution practice too!

Rami's Snow Day

The illustrations in this book could be artwork pieces! I personally love rhyming books, and my kids especially appreciate them. This is a beautiful story about the joy of a snow day. It’s perfect for winter!

The Children in the Box

The illustrations are not the only delightful thing about this book. It would definitely make a perfect holiday addition as something to read by the Christmas tree together each year. This story is about service, integrity, and how each choice we make matters. The scenes are set around Christmas and truly express the gift of giving. This would bring a lot of wonderful family discussions into your home as the young man in this story has some difficult decisions to make.

The Kindness Snowflake

The holiday season is a time when we go the extra mile to put a smile on someone’s face, and this book helps give your children some ideas on how to make that happen. It is fun and silly with all the joy that snow brings. But with kindness at the heart of it, this story is a wonderful starting point to help encourage your kids to spread more love.

Family Focused

Mom's Many Hats

The illustrations in this book could be artwork pieces! I personally love rhyming books, and my kids especially appreciate them. This is a beautiful story about the joy of a snow day. It’s perfect for winter!

The World Can Wait For Dads

This book is a series book, with the “Mom” version as well. Both books make me cry! Being a parent is such a wild ride, with so many sacrifices and so much love. This book is from the perspective of the father’s heart, which is why I think it is so special. “So, for now, I’ll be your Dad. The world can wait, it’s true. I’ll always be as rich as gold as long as I’m with you.”

The World Can Wait For Moms

This is another book in the World Can Wait series. Parents don’t get special recognition or bonuses for all their hard work. This book is shared from the heart of the mother while she puts all her effort and talents into raising her humans. “So, for now, I’ll be your mom. The world can wait, it’s true. I’ll always be as rich as gold as long as I have you.”

Inclusion & Confidence Building

Friends Come In All Sizes

This book is about making friends and the magic of our imagination. I love the rhyming words, and the pictures are so bright and colorful. My kids enjoy the fun imaginative adventure that these friends go on!

Holly's Hollyhocks and Holly and the Secret Seeds

There are two books currently in this series, with more on the way. I love a good series book for gifts because it continues the fun. These books are all about kindness, sharing, and community. There are so many important messages here. This would be well loved within your home.

Madeline the Mermaid

This beautifully illustrated book is about being comfortable in your own skin and celebrating the unique qualities that we each add to the world. Any book that helps my kids have confidence in themselves is a book I want on our shelf!

Skimmer and Birdie - Let’s Help Nell

This is such a cute book about helping our friends. But not only that-it helps show kids how to recognize when people need help in the first place. We need to educate our kids to think outside themselves and teach them the joys of service-whether recognized or anonymous. This is a perfect book to help bring those conversations into your home.

Learn Something New

Step into Spanish

(3 book series: Senor Picante is My RED Fish, Tater Tot is My Fat Cat, Ten Crazy Kittens Try, Try Again)

These Step into Spanish books are essential when teaching children Spanish. I personally enjoy teaching my kids something new with these books. Through fun and creative writing, your children, and maybe even yourself, will learn new Spanish vocabulary. With the help of a fat cat, a red fish, and ten tiny kittens, you will find a colorful and engaging world of learning. My kids especially love the cute and crazy kittens!

Tell Everyone

This book covers the importance of teaching our kids about different forms of abuse and what to do in those situations. It can be uncomfortable to bring up the topic of sexual abuse. I was nervous to read this with my kids, however, this book is BRILLIANTLY done! It brought up tough subjects with such grace and shared the best message. It teaches our kids to speak up and talk about these difficult things. And it helps parents start these tough conversations.

The First Jambalaya

This is such a wonderful book! The pictures and story are beautiful. It is about friendship, sharing, and trying new things. And I love that there are recipes at the end! You can read this together and then cook together! This makes for a wonderful family activity.

Thank You, Please and Pardon Me

There are such excellent rhymes in this book, which make it fun to read and easy to remember. I have been using some of these phrases around the house to remind my kids about certain manners that they are forgetting. This is a great way to teach your kids to be polite, but also to remind them to continue to use those respectful behaviors.

There's a Babirusa in my Bathtub

My boys LOVE this book! It is about animals that we don’t normally talk about or even know exist! They have fun names and fun facts, and this book makes it entertaining to read and learn together!

Treasure Hunt

Our home has a no-video games policy, so I encourage my kids to be resourceful and inventive. This book is about children trying to be imaginative and come up with a fun game, spending time together and being creative. There are even some great ideas in the back for your kids to join in on the fun !

Bedtime Books

I Hope Your Dreams are Sweet

I love a good bedtime story, and this is the sweetest of bedtime stories. It’s a book about the love of a parent for their child, and the love of a child for their parent. It connects with parents and how they feel about their children, and it connects with children in helping them understand the great love their parents have for them. My favorite page is the illustration showing the parents hiding the monsters and the child isn’t aware. It’s a heartwarming story that invites those night-time cuddles!

Time for Jammies, Lambie

This is a soothing rhyming book that all kids can enjoy before bed. My kids have special blankets, and I know many kids also love having special stuffed animals. This is a cute story about the fun and imagination that comes from having a favorite stuffed comfort toy.

The Biggest Yawn Ever

My kids fight bedtime more than they should! And it doesn’t matter how tired they actually are! This book is about a little boy who fights sleep because he wants to keep talking about his day and his imagination but can’t stop yawning. It’s fun to ask your kids about their day while encouraging them to make up funny and exaggerated statements.

Just for Fun

A Heart Full of Colors

This is a colorful book in all forms. It is a bright and loving story with beautiful watercolor illustrations throughout. This little girl loves a color so much that she wants her entire life to be colored in it. Her obsession soon takes over the whole house. I have kids who become super obsessed and all they want are those things. So, this was a fun story to see that behavior played out.

Chester the (Almost) Pirate

My boys love anything pirate! This is a darling book about a pirate in Pirate School and the adventures he encounters. It helps the imagination in our kids grow, and encourages them to continue to play by pretending!

The Hair Fairies and The Hair Fairies-Tangled Trouble

This series is my daughter’s absolute favorite! The creative rhyming is fun to read and the concept is absolutely adorable. Do your kids ever wake up with crazy hair? Or hair that just stands up straight? Or tangles that seem to come out of nowhere? Have you ever thought that these problems are actually created by Hair Fairies? Read the book to see what sort of trouble these cute fairies create!

Pigs Dancing Jigs

This is my favorite alphabet book out there! The art is incredible, the rhymes are so catchy, and it can even be a search and find adventure as your kids gaze at the detailed art on each page. Plus, it also goes through the alphabet with your kids. I love when books are fun while secretly teaching.

Thaddeus Thayne's Guide to Unicorns

I love a book that grasps the attention of all my kids at once. This guide to unicorns isn’t just geared toward unicorn lovers; it’s also for those that love some adventure and discovery. It is so silly and fun that everyone in your home will love it!

Emotionally Supportive Titles

A New House For Mouse

This book is excellent in helping to better understand the struggles that foster children face with continually moving from home to home. It explains all the changes that this mouse goes through and the worry he faces through each move. Having never been a foster child myself, it allowed me to put myself in the shoes of people who are helping foster children and gain more empathy for these children’s difficult situations. This would also be a helpful book for any kind of life-changing experience, like moving, and would bring support for kids who feel anxious during change.

Bear's Book of Emotions

This is a great book for explaining basic emotions. It has been helpful for my toddler as well as with my oldest, who is a spectrum kid. We have to talk about basic emotions in our home often, and this was a fun way to go about it.

Charlie & Emmet-Surgery Day

This is a series book (see Wintertime Stories), which makes it a fun gifting option. This story is about a day that could be super scary for kids: the surgery of a parent. This book could also be helpful in preparing them for their own injuries in addition to helping them work through the emotions that happen when someone in the family goes to the hospital.

I am Safe

This book has been especially helpful for our family. My kids have big feelings and two of my children suffer from bad anxiety. This book helps explain these emotions so clearly. It shows how we can find courage and offers real tools that help kids know how to feel happy and safe!

My Daddy is in Heaven

Losing a parent is extremely difficult, and I cannot even begin to think of how to navigate that. This book brings those difficult feelings to light and could bridge any gaps you may be having in tricky conversations. This adorably illustrated book tells a sweet story about a dinosaur who has lost his dad. It’s especially pertinent being in a child’s perspective.

Punk Wig

Another difficult trial for kids is when a parental figure gets sick. This book is about a Mom who gets cancer, and how she positively navigates it with her daughter. She ends up teaching her to find joy no matter the difficult circumstances. It’s a beautiful book about their relationship flourishing through it all.

Chapter Books

Curious World of Dandy-Lion

This is an engaging chapter book for middle-grade and older elementary kids. We found it especially wonderful because the main character has sensory issues and is most likely on the spectrum. My oldest is on the spectrum, so he enjoyed having a character that he could relate to in that way. It is imaginative and creative, and talks about the importance of finding good friends, being open to new experiences, and being kind to those around us.

Dragon Pox

This is a fantastic chapter book that kids could easily read on their own. I love chapter books that can ignite a love of reading. This is a fun fantasy book about unique creatures, a boy wanting a pet, the lengths he will go to get one, and the exciting (yet excruciating) mayhem that happens when things go horribly wrong. It has an element of mystery that my older children enjoyed as well!

Gullible Gus

My oldest son loves this funny story about a poor cowboy who falls for anything his neighbors and so-called friends tell him. In fact, they spin all kinds of tall tales to see how much he will actually believe. What I love most is that it is a fun and engaging story for kids, while also teaching them the difference between facts and lies.

The Lost Island of Pirates, Curses, and Dinosaurs

This book is amazing in a lot of ways, but something extra special about it is that a father wrote it with his son. That’s a really special element because my kids are always creating stories and coming up with new plots. This story is full of imagination and mystery, a generational family curse, dinosaurs, and a father and son who go on an adventure together to explore a mysterious island.

I am confident you will find a new favorite (or two, or three, or . . . ) in this gift guide for those on your holiday list! Good luck narrowing down all of these wonderful choices! Enjoy your holidays and happy shopping!