Books They’re Ho-Ho-Hoping For

When you give a child or a teen a book, you are creating a memory that will last a lifetime.
What's more, books offer so many options.  Are you trying to find a book for an early reader?  Choose a picture book or a Great Beginner Read.  Does your grandchild love non-fiction?  Take a look at the Great Family Reads section.  Has your niece read every book known to man?  There are some brand new books on this list that she may not have seen yet. 

Do you struggle to find just the right book to entice your child to read?  These selections are sure kid-pleasers that will meet any interest. The ReadKiddoRead holiday gift list has something for everyone: realistic fiction, science fiction, and non-fiction; animal stories, mythology and adventures; sad stories and stories that will make your kids laugh out loud.

So browse our list. We promise that each book is one that children and teens will want to read and then share with their friends.  And then read again.  These are keepers!  A remote-control car may break and a child is sure to outgrow a sweater, but a book stays.

Cathy Berner

Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Texas

Great Family Reads

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry

200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!
Compiled by J. Patrick Lewis

Stunning photographs combine with wonderful poems to create a family treasure for all to share.  Travel around the world and learn about all kinds of animals in the process.

100 People Who Made History

Meet the People Who Shaped the Modern World
By Ben Gilliland

Take a look at scientists, athletes, and artists among others whose actions shaped the world we know.   From Aristotle to Pele. From Elvis to Einstein, these brief biographies entertain and inorm at the same time.  Fun to use as a reference or to pick up and browse.

Treasury of Greek Mythology

Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters
By Donna Jo Napoli

The past five years have brought us a variety of stories based in mythology, from Percy Jackson and The Olympians  to The Chronus Chronicles.  This gorgeous volume retells the classic stories that have inspired these tales.

Picture Books

Dragons Love Tacos

By Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri
For ages 3-5

Did you know that dragons love tacos?  They love parties, too.  A dragon's absolute favorite thing is a taco party.  But don't include any spicy salsa, or the fireworks will begin!  Full of deadpan illustrations and lots of humor, this is a book parents will be happy to read over and over again.

This is Not My Hat

By Jon Klassen
For ages 4 – 8

"This hat is not mine.  I just stole it," proclaims the minnow as he swims away with a charming grey bowler hat.  He's certain the large, sluggish fish who owns the hat will not miss it.  Boy, is he mistaken!  The large fish notices and speedily pursues his hat, with entertainingly predictable results.  Children will enjoy reading this independently or with an adult and picking out their favorite characters along the way.

Great Beginner Reads

Bink & Gollie: Two for One,

By Kate DiCamillo & Alison McGhee; illustrated by Tony Fucile
For ages 6-8

Bink and Gollie are headed to the state fair.  Bink would love to win the World's Largest Donut at the Whack-a-Duck game and Gollie tries her hand at the talent show.  Not all goes well, but readers are sure to agree that sometimes, a friend is all you need.

Jack Stalwart series
By Elizabeth Singer Hunt
For ages 7-9

Meet Jack Stalwart.  He's your average nine year old boy, except he's also a secret agent, trying to find his missing brother.  In each book, he travels to a different country, protecting a different national treasure.  Kids will love the action-packed adventures and, without even noticing, they'll pick up the facts and foreign languages cleverly slipped into each book.

Great Pageturners

The One and Only Ivan

By Katherine Applegate
For ages 8-12

This is the story of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lives in a tiny zoo in a strip mall.  One day, Ruby, a baby elephant arrives, and Ivan promises to take care of her.  He gradually realizes that life in this cramped, dirty zoo is no place for Ruby, and he schemes for her release.

Joshua Dread

By Lee Bacon
For ages 8-12

Joshua Dread is having a rough year in middle school. Bullies pick on him, and he seems to be causing pencils to explode, leaving burning handprints in his wake.  To top it off?  The supervillains – The Dread Duo – are his parents, and they're trying to destroy the world.  Fast-paced action and a very clever storyline will appeal to both boys and girls.

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

By James Patterson
For ages 8 and up

Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he's got an ace plan for the best year ever, if only he can pull it off: With his best friend Leonardo the Silent awarding him points, Rafe tries to break every rule in his school's oppressive Code of Conduct.

Three Times Lucky

By Sheila Turnage
For ages 9 and up

Mo (short for Moses) LeBeau washed into town during a hurricane, and for the past 11 years.  One day, a detective comes to town, trying to solve a mysterious murder.  Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, try to solve the mystery themselves, leading to hilarious situations and some tough realizations as well.

One for the Murphys

By Lynda Mullaly Hunt
For ages 10 and up

When she and her mother are severely beaten by her stepfather, Carley Connors is put into foster care.  She resents her foster family for their seemingly perfect life, but slowly she  finds a connection with them, making plenty of mistakes along the way, but truly wanting to fit in.  It's a simply lovely story.

Great Advanced Reads

The Mark of Athena

Heroes of Olympus, Book Three
By Rick Riordan
For ages 10 and up

The third book in the bestselling series continues the story as the demigods try to determine who will be The Prophecy of Seven.

Colin Fischer

By Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz
For ages 12 and up

The authors of the screenplays for Thor and X-Men: First Class tell the story of Colin Fischer, a high school freshman with Asperger's.  When a gun goes off in the school cafeteria, Wayne Connelly, the school thug, is the prime suspect.   Colin knows that Wayne is not to blame and sets out to prove his case.

Eve and Adam

By Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
For ages 13 and up

When a horrible accident severs her leg, Eve wakes up in the hospital to find her mom, the head of a biotech firm, checking her out and taking her back to the lab. There her leg heals suspiciously fast.  Solo, an orderly at the lab who seems to know far more than someone in his position should, forces Eve to realize that all is not as it seems.  A fast moving thriller, told in the alternating voices of Eve and Solo.


By S.J. Kincaid
For ages 13 and up

Tom Raines spends his days in a futuristic Las Vegas, conning people out of money at reality video games.  His skill in video gaming leads to his recruitment to Pentagonal Spire, where he trains to defend the U.S. in space-based battles.  The descriptions of Tom's training are completely engrossing, as is this riveting look into the future.