Gift Books for Christmas
Books are the perfect gift at Christmas – at least for me! I love getting books and I love picking out books for other people as it is always fun trying to find something that suits everyone.
This is a bumper list, although I have had to be really strict so as not to recommend hundreds of books!
Here are a few recommendations this year some recent releases, others slightly older:
A House for Mouse by Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow
A cute exploration of fairytale land, with famous characters turning up as Mouse tries to find the perfect house.
A Christmas Carol by Tony Mitton and Mike Redman – see my full review on the blog tomorrow.
A retelling of the classic, suitable for younger readers.
The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis and Rebecca Cobb – see my full review here.
Unique style of illustration and a gripping story – what will happen when one twin gets an empty stocking due to being naughty?
Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht and Jarvis
This is a gloriously-colourful book that is sure to get you in the mood for Christmas.
The Way Home for Wolf by Rachel Bright
When Wolf gets separated from his pack, lots of other animals help him to find his way back, proving that you’re never quite as alone as you think you are.
Power to the Princess by Vita Murrow and Julia Bereciartu – see my full review here.
Fantastically feminist and inclusive retellings of famous traditional tales.
The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle – A magical adventure set in Ireland – I have recommended this to lots of people and have yet to have anyone who hasn’t loved it! See my full review here.
The Nowhere Emporium/ The Elsewhere Emporium by Ross McKenzie
Nobody knows where is came from, but you can experience dreams come true inside the walls, where magic becomes real. Wonderful flight of imagination, this series is sure to be a hit!
The Wild Robot / The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown
This is a heartwarmng adventure about a robot called Roz who is shipwrecked on an island and learns to fit in with the local animals.
Jelly by Jo Cotterill
Jelly is the class joker, but she has other hidden talents too. This is an important book, dealing sensitively with issues of weight and self-image.
Witch for a Week by Kaye Umansky – the perfect piece of magic for any aspiring witch – full review coming up soon!
Straw into Gold by Hilary McKay – A collection of fairy tales with a twist that will make you look at them very differently. See my full review here.
The Boy Who Grew Dragons/ The Boy who Flew with Dragons by Andy Shepherd
This is such a warm, hopeful series about friendship and family, with a good serving of laughs – perfect for age 7+.
The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart/ The Girl with the Dragon Heart by Stephanie Burgis
I picked up the first book on a whim and fell head-over-heels – it is just full of so much magic and heart! See my full review of the second book here.
The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth
The book you need but didn’t know you needed, looking at the aftermath of a journey to a magical world, based on the Pevensie children’s trip to Narnia. See my full review here.
The Glass of Lead and Gold by Cornelia Funke
This author can do no wrong so I was delighted to see this addition to the Mirrorworld to tide us over until the next book in the Reckless series comes out. This is a wintry, atmospheric story set in the mirrored version of London.
The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
This hard-hitting, feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid will have you gripped!
Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
Found this absolutely gripping! It has been chosen as one of the books for World Book Day next year, which gives you a preview of how good it is.
The Spellslinger series by Sebastian De Castell
This is, quite simply, one of the funniest and best fantasy series that I’ve read in years. Kellen is adorably awkward, Reichis is murderous and it’s refreshing to read about a main character who rarely has anything go his way rather than one who is magically super-powered.
The Ascension series by Victor Dixen
This was a surprise hit for me as the initial description of ‘Love Island in Space’ did not seem like my kind of thing. Yet, I’m so glad that I gave this series a chance as I love it – read my reviews of the first two books, Ascension and Distortion to find out more.
The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson
This was another surprise hit for me, weaving together folklore and a deep affection for the vagaries of people, in a thoughtful book which will transport you across time and space.
The Light Between Us by Katie Khan
The Last Namsara by Kirsten Ciccarelli
This book has all the classic tropes of fantasy, but it does them in such a refreshing way that this is a truly enjoyable read. I still need to get to reading Book 2, but am already excited for Book 3, out next year!
The Wayfarers Series by Becky Chambers
This series is just something special. You will be drawn into the lives of the characters straight away and it is the perfect science-fiction book that even people who aren’t fans of sci-fi will love.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – the perfect read for this time of year, with vibes of The Labyrinth – see my full review here.
The Dark Gifts series by Vic James. If you’ve been on my blog for any length of time, you will have heard me shouting about this series. I have recommended it to several people and all have become (almost) as addicted as me! Check our my review for the first book, Gilded Cage, and decide for yourself!
Non-fiction for children:
Welcome to Our World by Moira Butterfield and Harriet Lynas
I love everything about this book, introducing children to how other childen around the world live every day. Hours of fun and discovery to be had here!
The Book of Trees by Piotr Socha and Wojciech Grajkowski
I am still working my way through this wonderful book, with new treasures appearing every time I pick it up! I can’t wait to use this with my Year 3 class in the summer.
Space Atlas by Tom Jackson
A fantastic introduction to space, with beautiful illustrations and lots of interesting facts and questions e.g. what causes the polar aurora and whether or not it is likely that our sun could become a black hole and swallow the Earth (spoiler, the answer is no for any anxious readers!).
It explains very complex concepts in a clear, easy-to-understand way that is sure to spark an interest in learning more about astronomy. A must-have for any primary classroom!
Saving Species by James Gileard and Jess French
I found this in my local library and intend to get my own copy soon (it’s on my Christmas list!) It has all the usual suspects, but also shines a light on less well-known endangered animals too. The illustrations are works of art and I liked how the book ended with a call to action to protect our environment from further damage.
Lots by Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton
This book makes the overwhelming manageable , giving you just enough facts to whet your appetite and make you want to find out more. The illustrations are full of hidden details that you will spend hours enjoying!
Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World by Katherine Halligan and Sarah Walsh
Absolutely fantastic book with fun facts, great illustrations and some photos and documents to back up the information included. I will be buying my own copy as well as a few for our school library – this should be required reading for everyone, male or female!
Non-fiction for adults:
Books Do Furnish a Painting by Jamie Camplin and Maria Ranauro
I was delighted to find out that a book like this exists, which marries my interest in books and my interest in books. At university I studied the transition from manuscripts to printed books and the culture of reading, as well as examining the book as a status symbol. This book looks at books in paintings throughout the ages and what they say (or want to say!) about the person in the painting.
Bestiary by Christopher Masters
A fascinating glimpse into the collections of the British Museum, centred around the theme of animals. Sure to make you want to go and see the pieces in person! See my full review here.
The Last Wolf: The Hidden Springs of Englishness by Robert Winder
This is one of the best non-fiction books I have read this year, although it was really more about sheep than wolves. Somehow, I still found myself gripped throughout the whole book and annoying people around me by piping up with random, intriguing bits of trivia.
Motherfocloir: Dispatches from a Not So Dead Language by Darach Ó Séaghdha
I read this earlier this year and laughed out loud more than in reading any other book! I also annoyed/ enlightened everyone around me with the fascinating tidbits of information contained within. I’m planning a reread soon because it was just that brilliant!
Sacred Britannia:Gods and Rituals in Roman Britain by Miranda Aldhouse- Green
This is an accessible, fascinating look at the traditions and beliefs that were imported with the Romans, those that already existed in these islands and ow they mixed and produced something entirely unique. A perfect gift for any history buffs in your family!
Harry Potter: A History of Magic by British Library
I am a massive Harry Potter fan and was lucky enough to visit the exhibition when it was at The British Library. This accompanying book is a great way to bring back memories of the exhibition, but is also a fantastic book itself. If you are even a passing fan of Harry Potter and are interested in some of the quirky facts that inspired scenes in the book, give this a go.
After I finished this post I made the mistake of looking back through all the books I have read this year and found a few favourites from January that I had somehow thought I had read last year – don’t miss out on these wonderful books!
The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale
This is pure magic and I plan to reread it again this Christmas. It has also just come out in a paperback edition with gorgeous sprayed red edges, so definitely a great time to pick up a copy if you haven’t already (Why, yes, I did buy a paperback to go with my hardback, Yes I did. It was an essential purchase!) See my full review here.
The Bear and the Nightingale / The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
The third book in this trilogy is due out in January (see 5 reasons why I’m super-excited to read it!) so now is the time to get caught up. This is the perfect wintry read, set in a Frozen Russia populated by all the creatures you thought were only stories.
The Dollmaker of Krakow by R. M. Romero
I always feel guilty recommending this one because it destroyed me! My parents-in-law called while I was reading this and my partner had to explain that I couldn’t come to the phone because I was sobbing so hard. This is a beautiful, hopeful book that will break your heart and put it back together again. The only reason I haven’t written a full review gushing about this book is that I could see myself getting upset all over again!
What did you think?
Did you spot any books that might suit someone in your life?
Did you add a couple to your to-be-read pile?
I’m sure that nobody will mind if your hand slips when you’re buying presents for other people and you *accidentally* end up getting a few books for yourself too!
With last posting dates coming closer and this weekend meant to be the busiest shopping period of the year – head out, armed with a list of some of the above titles and you are sure to have happy faces on Christmas day!
Followed by some peace as everyone curls up with their book of choice….sheer bliss!
Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!