Share 18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

Sarah Jane Abbott is an assistant editor for Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.  She grew up having NANCY DREW books read to her by her father, and is now an avid reader of mystery, thriller, and horror, along with everything from literary fiction to poetry to personal essays.  She graduated from Bucknell University with a degree in English and a concentration in creative writing.  Sarah Jane is an advocate of quasi-destructive book love—her best-loved volumes are highlighted, scribbled in, dog-eared, and wavy from being dropped in the bath tub.  

If you’re wondering what gift to get for the kids and young adults on your list, look no further than your local bookstore! If the young readers in your life already have all of the classic go-to books, and you’ve checked out our previous children’s books gift guides, here are 18 fresh and inspiring books to gift this holiday season, for readers of every age.


Some Bugs
by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel
For ages 2–4

Featuring butterflies and moths, crickets and cicadas, bumblebees and beetles, this zippy rhyming exploration of backyard-bug behavior is sure to have young insect enthusiasts bugging out with excitement!

Some Bugs
Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Snow White
by Chloe Perkins, illustrated by Misa Saburi
For ages 2–4

The classic tale of Snow White gets a fresh twist when it is set in Japan and given beautiful artwork from Japanese illustrator Misa Saburi.

Snow White
Chloe Perkins, illustrated by Misa Saburi

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Strictly No Elephants
by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
For ages 3–8

At Pet Club, cats and dogs and fish are welcome, but strictly no elephants. So a boy and his tiny pet elephant must show them what it means to be a true friend. This imaginative story captures the magic of friendship and the importance of embracing and celebrating differences.

Strictly No Elephants
Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Out of Wonder
by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Ekua Holmes
For ages 3–8

Newbery Award–winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to 20 famed poets who have inspired them. With stunning mixed-media images by Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes, these poems invite the young reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.

Out of Wonder
Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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The Night Gardener
by Terry Fan and Eric Fan
For Ages 3–8

One day William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into an owl. In the following days more topiaries appear, each one more beautiful than the last. Soon William’s gray little town is full of color and life. Though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William—and his town—are changed forever.

The Night Gardener
Terry Fan and Eric Fan

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Thunder Boy Jr.
by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales
For ages 3–8

From the beloved author of THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN, a touching father-son story about Thunder Boy Jr., who is named after his dad but wants a name that’s all his own. Just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name...a name that is sure to light up the sky.

Thunder Boy Jr.
Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
For ages 3–8

In this moving story, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town every Sunday after church. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? With each question, grandma helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.

Last Stop on Market Street
Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Ada Lace, on the Case
by Emily Calandrelli, illustrated by Renée Kurilla
For ages 6–10

Ada Lace—third-grade scientist and inventor extraordinaire—has discovered something awful: her neighbor’s beloved Yorkie has been dognapped! With the assistance of a quirky neighbor named Nina, Ada sets out to find the wrongdoer. As their investigation becomes more and more mysterious, Ada and Nina grow closer, proving that opposites do, in fact, attract.

Ada Lace, on the Case
Emily Calandrelli, illustrated by Renée Kurilla

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Lulu and the Duck in the Park
by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
For ages 7–10

When Lulu finds a duck egg that has rolled out of its nest, she takes it to class to keep it safe. Lulu isn’t allowed to bring pets to school, but she’s not really breaking the rules because it’s just an egg. Surely nothing bad will happen…

Lulu and the Duck in the Park
Hilary McKay, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Karma Khullar's Mustache
by Kristi Wientge
For ages 8–12

In this charming story about growing up and self-esteem, Karma is super nervous about starting middle school. But not just because her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or because her dad is the new stay-at-home parent so her mom spends most of her time at work. But because she suddenly has 17 hairs on her upper lip. What’s a girl to do?

Karma Khullar's Mustache
Kristi Wientge

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Ghost
by Jason Reynolds
For ages 8–12

In the first book in the new Track series, Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has been running all his life—from his painful past and from trouble at school—until he meets Coach, who runs an elite middle school track team and sees something in Ghost: natural talent. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?

Ghost
Jason Reynolds

National Book Award winner Jason Reynolds is a dynamic and essential voice on race in the YA space. The first installment of his Track series, GHOST follows the titular character who wants to be the fastest sprinter on his middle-school track team…but he lacks formal training and “ghosts” on all of his problems. Then Ghost meets his ex-Olympic medalist coach, who is determined to keep him and the other kids from blowing their shots at life.

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

15 Black Writers We Should All Be Reading in 2017

By Tolani Osan | February 23, 2017

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Real Friends
by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
For ages 8–12

In this poignant graphic memoir, Shannon has been best friends with Adrienne for forever. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, queen bee of The Group, the popular clique at school. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top…even if it means bullying others.

Real Friends
Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

Holiday Gift Ideas and Book Recommendations from Off the Shelf

By Off the Shelf Staff | December 2, 2017

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Flora & Ulysses
by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell
For ages 8–12

In this heartwarming and laugh-out-loud classic, Flora Belle Buckman is a self-described cynic. Until the day she meets Ulysses, an ordinary squirrel whose brush with death by being sucked into a vaccum leaves him with amazing powers—flight, super strength, and a talent for writing poetry. Will her friendship with this super critter leave Flora changed too?

Flora & Ulysses
Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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OCDaniel
by Wesley King
For ages 8–12

Daniel spends most of his time hoping no one notices his strange habits—like avoiding the number four or flipping a light switch on and off dozens of times. His life gets weirder when he gets an anonymous note that says, “I need your help.” Suddenly Daniel, a total no one at school, is swept up in a mystery that might change everything for him.

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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To All the Boys I've Loved Before
by Jenny Han
For ages 12 and up

Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her—five letters that she’s written to each boy she’s ever loved. When she writes, she says all the things she would never say in real life, because the letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters accidentally get mailed and Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Jenny Han

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Draw the Line
by Laurent Linn
For ages 12 and up

Adrian may be a talented artist, a sci-fi geek, and gay, but at his Texas high school those traits could bring him the worst kind of attention, so he chooses to blend into the background. The only time he can be himself is when drawing his own Renaissance-art-inspired superhero, Graphite. But when Adrian witnesses a hate crime, he has to decide who he want to be—and where he’ll draw the line.

Draw the Line
Laurent Linn

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Shadowshaper
by Daniel José Older
For ages 12 and up

Sierra planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out. But then strange things start to happen around Brookyln. With the help of fellow artist Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one. Now Sierra must unravel her family’s past and take down the killer in the present.

Shadowshaper
Daniel José Older

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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Tell Me Something Real
by Calla Devlin
For ages 12 and up

There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: artistic Adrienne, observant Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home, where she receives alternative treatments. As the sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home.

Tell Me Something Real
Calla Devlin

MENTIONED IN:

18 Books for the Young Readers on Your Gift List

By Sarah Jane Abbott | December 6, 2017

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