I am doing something a tad bit different with my post today. Instead of sharing a review of a book for adults, I wanted to share some of my kids’ favorite books and a few really great recent releases that my own kids will be opening on Christmas morning. All of these books would make excellent gifts for this holiday season (or birthday…or any holiday or regular day, really), so if you are looking for a last-minute gift for your favorite kiddo, these would be great choices! Here they are, in no particular order. Enjoy!
1.Where Oliver Fits by Cale Atkinson- This is absolutely one of my new favorite children’s books, and my kids both love it. My oldest, Gavin, requests that we read this book at least three or four times a week, and I think I still get a little teary-eyed each time we read it. Oliver is a puzzle piece who just wants to fit into something really amazing, but he just can’t seem to find his spot. He tries to change himself to fit with the other puzzle pieces and learns an important lesson about being himself.
2. After the Fall by Dan Santat- Almost everyone knows the story of Humpty Dumpty, but After the Fall tells kids what happened to him once he was finally put back together. Not only is this an incredible story about overcoming fears and not letting the past dictate the future, but the illustrations in this book are probably my favorite out of all the books featured in this post.
3. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca- This book was recommended to me by my friend Madeleine over at Top Shelf Text, and I fell in love with it as soon as I read the summary. When the book arrived and I sat down to read it to my boys the first time, my love for it became even more intense. For those who aren’t familiar with the story of Dr. Temple Grandin, who is perhaps the most famous inspirational figure on the autism spectrum, and even those who are, this book is an excellent way to introduce the concept of autism to kids AND introduce them to Dr. Grandin’s incredible story.
4. The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton- This is one of the books that Finley will be opening on Christmas morning, and I’m super excited for BOTH my boys to discover Princess Pinecone and her unique pony. Princess Pinecone is the daughter of fierce warriors, and she is tired of receiving fuzzy sweaters every year for her birthday. When she asks for a battle horse and receives a pony prone to passing gas instead, she learns that every person…and every pony…has positive things to offer the world. I love this book because it breaks gender norms and teaches that girls can be tough, and boys can be sensitive…and ponies can fart. If you aren’t opposed to your child reading a book that features that particular word a couple of times, this would be an adorable gift.
5. Rot, the Cutest in the World by Ben Clanton- This book is the reason I waited so long to post this list, because it was just released TODAY, and I wanted to be sure to have my copy and review it before including it…but I also had a very strong suspicion that I was going to LOVE it. I was right, and I can’t wait for Gavin to open this book up on Christmas morning! This book is super cute, as is Rot, the mutant potato who decides to enter a “Cutest in the World” contest. Rot is confident and hilarious, and instead of eating all the other contestants or trying to be more like the cuddly creatures competing against him, Rot gives the judges his best smile and decides to be himself.
6. Dragons Love Tacos and Dragons Love Tacos 2 by Adam Rubin- Although Dragons Love Tacos has been around for a while and many people already know (and love) it, I still HAD to include it in this list for those who don’t. And since I included the original, I had to include the sequel as well! Dragons Love Tacos has been Gavin’s favorite book for the last couple of years, but when we got Dragons Love Tacos 2 earlier this year, Gavin started to waver a bit, and he still can’t decide which he loves more. There isn’t much of a moral lesson to these books (except maybe to keep spicy salsa far, FAR away from dragons), but the entertainment value in these two books definitely makes up for that.
7. The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak- If you are a fan of The Office, you probably recognize the author of this book from his role as Ryan. We have had this book for a few years now, and it still hasn’t lost its ability to make my kids laugh uncontrollably. The book really doesn’t have any pictures inside, but what it DOES have are pages full of ridiculous things for the adult reading the book to say out loud. I mean, who wouldn’t laugh if someone yelled “BA-DOOONGY FACE!!!!!!!” at them or said their head was made of blueberry pizza?
8. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: The Classic Illustrated Storybook by Kim Smith- This is an excellent book for those who loved the 1980s movie, E.T., when they were younger and want to introduce the story to their children. For us, we purchased this book for Gavin because he has seen (and loved) the movie already, and his stuffed E.T. is his more valued possession. The illustrations are adorable, the story is simple enough for kids to follow, and it’s really just a fun book. There are also Home Alone and The X-Files versions that are produced by the same company!
The next two books were already wrapped and ready for placing under the tree on Christmas morning before I decided to do this post, so I don’t have my own photos to go along with them.
9. We Are All Wonders by R.J. Palacio- If you haven’t read the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio yet, why not? I mean, if you are worried you will sob uncontrollably throughout most of the book, you’re right, but the pain is definitely worth the payoff. This is a children’s version of Auggie’s story, and it packs a powerful punch. I’m excited to use this book to start a conversation with Gavin about being accepting of everyone and looking beyond the surface to see the gifts they have to offer, and above all else, to remind him to always choose kindness.
10. She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton- Don’t let your political beliefs keep you away from this gem. Chelsea Clinton did an excellent job selecting women to include in this book and writing about their achievements in ways that children will understand. My boys will be getting this book for Christmas, and I love the message it sends about the ways that influential women in our country’s history have changed things for ALL women for the better. The women included in the book come from a wide array of backgrounds and professions, and the illustrations are beautiful. I excited to use this book to teach my boys that girls have ALWAYS been just as awesome as boys, and they sometimes had bigger mountains to climb than their male counterparts, just because they were girls.