The latest trend in buying Christmas presents this year: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to READ. Yay!
I can’t express how much this pleases me. I love to read GOOD books. Unfortunately, there are a lot of books out there that are NOT good. It’s not just that they’re poorly written, they genuinely contain things that, IMO, shouldn’t be included in the target group that they are marketed for.
Because I am so passionate about promoting good, entertaining, uplifting (and sometimes thought provoking) stories, I’ve compiled a Christmas Book List to help you with your shopping.
In each age category I will include a picture and summary of one of some my favorite books, and list several other choices.
The links in this post are affiliate links, and we may be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links.
If you have any favorites that I’ve missed, please include them in the comments.
Thanks and happy shopping!
For the 2 to 5 year olds on your list:
The Wonky Donkey –I saw this on a display at Barnes and Noble when we were there earlier this week. I picked it up and knew immediately that it was going in the “to buy” stack. I think any 2 – 5 year old would enjoy this book about a cranky, lanky, honky-tonky, wink, wonky donkey! 😀 There’s even a website where you download the song to go with the book for free!
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Classic Board Books) — Another classic for the 2-5 year old crew. Our older kids enjoyed reading this book to the younger ones and making all the noises of the swishy-swashy grass, the crunchy leaves, etc.
I Want to be a Lion Tamer — I discovered this book at an Usborne party and thought it was too cute to leave off the list. What do you want to be when you grow up? A dog walker? A vet? A lion tamer? When you grow up, you can be anything you want to be! These oversized board books for our littlest learners perfectly illustrate that the possibilities are endless!
For the 6 to 8 year olds who are starting to read chapter books:
Dory Fantasmagory — As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy.
The Flat Stanley Collection Box Set: Flat Stanley, Invisible Stanley, Stanley in Space, and Stanley, Flat Again! — Stanley Lambchop is an ordinary boy. At least he was, until the night his bulletin board fell off the wall and flattened him. At only half an inch thick, Stanley can slide under doors, mail himself across the country in an envelope, and fly like a kite!
The Ramona Collection, Vol. 1: Beezus and Ramona / Ramona the Pest / Ramona the Brave / Ramona and Her Father [4 Book Box set] — Newbery Award-winner Beverly Cleary delivers a humorous portayal of the ups and downs of sisterhood. Both the younger and older siblings of the family will enjoy this book.
For the 8 to 12 year olds:
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle —
Meet Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle! She lives in an upside-down house with a kitchen that is always full of freshly baked cookies. She was even married to a pirate once! Best of all, she knows everything there is to know about children.
When Mary turns into an Answer-Backer or Dick becomes Selfish or Allen decides to be a Slow-Eater-Tiny-Bite-Taker, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle has the perfect cure. And her solutions always work, with plenty of laughs along the way. This is the book that started it all!
Perfect for fans of Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee, this classic series is all about learning and problem-solving. Young readers will love this book.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn (Phoebe and Her Unicorn Series Book 1) — It all started when a girl named Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond and accidentally hit a unicorn in the face. Improbably, this led to Phoebe being granted one wish, and she used it to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her obligational best friend. But can a vain mythical beast and a nine-year-old daydreamer really forge a connection? Indeed they can, and that’s how Phoebe and Her Unicorn unfolds.
Ages 10 and up:
Kristy’s Great Idea: Full-Color Edition (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix 1) — Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey are best friends and founding members of The Baby-sitters Club. Whatever comes up — cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbors, prank calls — you can count on them to save the day. Baby-sitting isn’t always easy, and neither is dealing with strict parents, new families, fashion emergencies, and mysterious secrets. But no matter what, the BSC have what they need most: friendship.
How to Avoid Extinction — Since the death of his grandfather, Leo’s number one chore has been to chase after his grandmother who seems to wander away from home every few days. Now, Gram’s decided to roam farther than ever. And despite his misgivings, Leo’s going along for the ride. With his seventeen-year-old cousin, Abbey, and an old, gassy dog named Kermit, Leo joins Gram in a big, old Buick to leave their Pennsylvania home for a cross-country road trip filled with foldout maps, family secrets, new friends, and dinosaur bones.
How to Avoid Extinction is a middle-grade comedy about death and food and family and fossils. It’s about running away from home and coming back again. For Leo, it’s about asking hard questions and hopefully finding some sensible answers. As if good sense has anything to do with it. Against a backdrop of America’s stunning size and beauty, it’s also about growing up, getting old, dreaming about immortality, and figuring out all the things we can — and can’t — leave behind.
The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, Book 1): Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy — In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.
For the Teenagers on your List:
Okay for Now — 2011 National Book Award FinalistAs a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady who “smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain.”
In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. In this stunning novel, Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.
Eragon: Inheritance, Book I (The Inheritance Cycle 1) — Perfect for fans of Lord of the Rings, the New York Times bestselling Inheritance Cycle about the dragon rider Eragon has sold over 35 million copies and is an international fantasy sensation.
Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.
Eldest (Inheritance Cycle, Book 2) (The Inheritance Cycle), Inheritance Cycle 4-Book Trade Paperback Boxed Set (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, In (The Inheritance Cycle)
Pre-order the newest book in the Eragon series and save 20% — due out 12/31/18!
The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm: Tales from Alagaësia (Volume 1: Eragon) (Inheritance Cycle) — A wanderer and a cursed child. Spells and magic. And dragons, of course. Welcome back to the world of Alagaësia.
It’s been a year since Eragon departed Alagaësia in search of the perfect home to train a new generation of Dragon Riders. Now he is struggling with an endless sea of tasks: constructing a vast dragonhold, wrangling with suppliers, guarding dragon eggs, and dealing with belligerent Urgals and haughty elves. Then a vision from the Eldunarí, unexpected visitors, and an exciting Urgal legend offer a much-needed distraction and a new perspective.
Impostors — Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . two edges of the same knife. But Frey’s very existence is a secret.
Frey is Rafi’s twin sister-and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must.
When her father sends Frey in Rafi’s place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor-as poised and charming as her sister. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her. As the deal starts to crumble, Frey must decide if she can trust him with the truth . . . and if she can risk becoming her own person.
Uglies: Uglies; Pretties; Specials; Extras
The Rule of Three — One shocking afternoon, computers around the globe shut down in a viral catastrophe. At sixteen-year-old Adam Daley’s high school, the problem first seems to be a typical electrical outage, until students discover that cell phones are down, municipal utilities are failing, and a few computer-free cars like Adam’s are the only vehicles that function. Driving home, Adam encounters a storm tide of anger and fear as the region becomes paralyzed. Soon—as resources dwindle, crises mount, and chaos descends—he will see his suburban neighborhood band together for protection. And Adam will understand that having a police captain for a mother and a retired government spy living next door are not just the facts of his life but the keys to his survival, in The Rule of Three by Eric Walters. First book in a trilogy.
And Finally, Something for You 😉
The Masterpiece — New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.
A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want—money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist—an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.
Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship—and both their lives—forever.
A Woman’s Place: A Novel — They watched their sons, their brothers, and their husbands enlist to fight a growing menace across the seas. And when their nation asked, they answered the call as well. Virginia longs to find a purpose beyond others’ expectations. Helen is driven by a loneliness money can’t fulfill. Rosa is desperate to flee her in-laws’ rules. Jean hopes to prove herself in a man’s world. Under the storm clouds of destruction that threaten America during the early 1940s, this unlikely gathering of women will experience life in sometimes startling new ways as their beliefs are challenged and they struggle toward a new understanding of what love and sacrifice truly mean.
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered —
Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness.
Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she’s also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God. In It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa invites us into her own journey of faith and, with grit, vulnerability, and honest humor, helps us to:
- Stop being pulled into the anxiety of disappointment by discovering how to better process unmet expectations and other painful situations.
- Train ourselves to recognize the three strategies of the enemy so we can stand strong and persevere through unsettling relationships and uncertain outcomes.
- Discover the secret of being steadfast and not panicking when God actually does give us more than we can handle.
- Shift our suspicion that God is cruel or unfair to the biblical assurance that God is protecting and preparing us.
- Know how to encourage a friend and help her navigate hard realities with real help from God’s truth.
I sincerely hope that you have found something on this list that you will enjoy, and that will make your Christmas shopping easier!
Please let me know what you think, if you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned…and feel free to include your own favorites, as well.
Thanks, and happy reading!