Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids and Teens

Posted on November 21, 2017

by cindy vanderbrink

Looking to give the gift of reading this holiday season? Take a look at this year’s recommendations for kids and teens – compiled by our expert Librarians at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library!

Books for Little Ones:

Buildablock by Christopher Franceschelli

“Buildablock” by Christopher Franceschelli

This companion to “Alphablock” explores construction sites and machines in a truly exciting and unique way, introducing youngsters to more than 24 construction machines.

Baby’s Big Busy Book by Karen Katz

“Baby’s Big Busy Book” by Karen Katz

A lift-the-flap book with textured pages that follows baby’s day from waking up to bedtime. Presents common words such as lamp, clock, cereal, kite, and shoes.

Let’s Find Momo by Andrew Knapp

“Let’s Find Momo” by Andrew Knapp

Look for Momo hiding on a farm, in a bookstore, at a construction site, and in other unlikely locations (the photos are also loaded with other hidden objects for kids and parents to find together). Perfect for bedtime reading, car trips, playtime, or anytime, Let’s Find Momo is part art book, part puzzle book, and all fun!

My First Coding Book - DK

“My First Coding Book”

This interactive book teaches basic programming skills necessary to code, including sequencing and loops using flaps, wheels, and sliders. A playful, hands-on introduction to offline coding and programming that will give young children a head start.

Red Car, Green Car by Roger Priddy

“Red Car, Green Car” by Roger Priddy

This fun board book offers a surprise-packed, imaginative way for preschoolers to learn about color, with clever acetate pictures that change at the pull of a tab. Each double-page spread has illustrations of fun things associated with the color, and a playful, rhyming narrative.

Picture Books:

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes

“Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut” by Derrick Barnes

Derrick Barnes’s smooth, fresh words and Gordon C. James’s lush, vibrant illustrations capture the confidence, pride, and magic black and brown boys feel the moment they get a new haircut and admire their own beautiful reflections in the mirror.

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World by Chelsea Clinton

“She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World” by Chelsea Clinton

Profiles the lives of thirteen American women who have left their mark on U.S. history, including Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Margaret Chase Smith, and Oprah Winfrey.

Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

“Be Quiet!” by Ryan T. Higgins

All Rupert the mouse wants is to star in a beautiful, wordless picture book. One that’s visually stimulating! With scenic pictures! And style! He has plenty of ideas about what makes a great book, but his friends just WON’T. STOP. TALKING.

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat

“After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)” by Dan Santat

After falling off the wall, Humpty Dumpty is very afraid of climbing up again, but is determined not to let fear stop him from being close to the birds.


Stitch Camp: 18 Crafty Projects for Kids & Tweens by Nicole Blum

“Stitch Camp: 18 Crafty Projects for Kids & Tweens” by Nicole Blum

Chock-full of how-to instructions for six timeless fiber crafts and hip, functional projects, this modern guide teaches today’s tweens the fun and creative pleasure of knowing how to sew, knit, crochet, embroider, weave, and felt.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

“Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women” by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls reinvents fairy tales, inspiring girls with the stories of 100 heroic women from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams.

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris

“I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups” by Chris Harris

This debut poetry collection from TV writer and producer Harris, molds wit and wordplay, nonsense and oxymoron, and visual and verbal sleight-of-hand in masterful ways that make readers look at the world in a whole new wonderfully upside-down way.

My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly

“My Journey to the Stars” by Scott Kelly

This fascinating picture book memoir takes readers on a journey through NASA astronaut Kelly’s childhood as an average student to his record-breaking year among the stars while in command of the International Space Station.

Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out! Games, Stories, & Songs from an African American Childhood by Pat McKissack

“Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out! Games, Stories, & Songs from an African American Childhood” by Pat McKissack

Here is a songbook, a storybook, a poetry collection, and much more, all rolled into one. Find a partner for hand claps such as Eenie, Meenie, Sassafreeny, or form a circle for games like Little Sally Walker.

Juvenile Fiction:

The Wonderling by Mira Bartok

“The Wonderling” by Mira Bartok

Richly imagined, with shimmering language, steampunk motifs, and gripping, magical plot twists, this extraordinary debut novel follows a shy, fox-like foundling with only one ear and a desperate desire to belong, as he seeks his destiny.

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

“See You in the Cosmos” by Jack Cheng

Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski, along with his dog, Carl Sagan, makes big discoveries about his family on a road trip and he records it all on a golden iPod he intends to launch into space.

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

“Amina’s Voice” by Hena Khan

Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel.

Pablo and Birdy by Alison McGhee

“Pablo and Birdy” by Alison McGhee

A boy who drifted into the seaside town of Isla as a baby, searches for answers about where he and his parrot came from in this charmer of a tale laced with magical realism.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

“The Stars Beneath Our Feet” by David Barclay Moore

Unable to celebrate the holidays in the wake of his older brother’s death, Lolly Rachpaul struggles to avoid being forced into a gang himself while constructing a fantastically creative LEGO city at the Harlem community center.


Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

“Words in Deep Blue” by Cath Crowley

Rachel and Henry find their way back to each other while working in an old bookstore full of secrets and crushes, love letters and memories, grief and hope.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

“Turtles All the Way Down” by John Green

It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman

“Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers” by Deborah Heiligman

The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers’ lives. Confidant, champion, sympathizer, friend–Theo supported Vincent as he struggled to find his path in life. They shared everything, swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions.

Warcross by Marie Lu

“Warcross” by Marie Lu

When teenage coder Emika Chen hacks her way into the opening tournament of the Warcross Championships, she glitches herself into the game as well as a sinister plot with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

“When Dimple Met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel meet at a Stanford University summer program, Dimple is avoiding her parents’ obsession with “marriage prospects” but Rishi hopes to woo her into accepting arranged marriage with him.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

Caught between her poor neighborhood and her fancy prep school, sixteen-year-old Starr Carter becomes the focus of intimidation and more after witnessing the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a police officer.

You can’t go wrong with popular series or characters!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway by Jeff Kinney
Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling ; illustrated by Jim Kay
Fantastic beasts & where to find them / Newt Scamander, J.K. Rowling ; illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill
Harry Potter : a journey through a history of magic
Minecraft : the island / Max Brooks
Minecraft : Mobestiary / written by Alex Wiltshire

The latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid just arrived! “The Getaway” is the 12th title in Kinney’s popular series!

There are a couple of fantastic Harry Potter titles released this year:

  • “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” was published with full color illustrations by Jim Kay
  • “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” also has an illustrated edition
  • And for super fans, there is “Harry Potter: A Journey through the History of Magic,” a companion to the British Library exhibition

Minecraft is as popular as ever! A couple of new releases sure to thrill your crafters are:

  • “The Island” by Max Brooks
  • “Minecraft: Mobestiary”
Smile / Raina Telgemeier
Real friends / Shannon Hale ; artwork by LeUyen Pham ; color by Jane Poole
Pashmina / Nidhi Chanani
All's faire in middle school / Victoria Jamieson
Squirrel meets world / Shannon Hale & Dean Hale
Wonder Woman : Warbringer / Leigh Bardugo
Miles Morales : Spider-man / by Jason Reynolds

The influence of “Smile” by Raina Telgemeier continues to be felt as there are a bunch of new middle grade graphic novels with girl appeal, these are standouts:

  • “Real Friends”
  • “Pashmina”
  • “All’s Faire in Middle School”

Comic characters are getting full length novel adaptations by popular authors:

  • My favorite, which is perfect for tweens, is “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World” by Shannon Hale.
  • “Wonder Woman: Warbringer” and “Miles Morales: Spider-Man” are great for teens.
LEGO Absolutely everything you need to know / written by Simon Hugo
Build It! Volume 1 : make supercool models with your LEGO classic set / Jennifer Kemmeter
The LEGO Animation Book : Make Your Own Lego Movies! by David Pagano and David Pickett
Ultimate LEGO Star wars / written by Chris Malloy and Andrew Becraft
Star Wars : absolutely everything you need to know, updated and expanded / written by Adam Bray, Kerrie Dougherty, Cole Horton, and Michael Kogge
Star Wars made easy / written by Christian Blauvelt
Star Wars coding projects / Using Scratch / written by Jon Woodcock
Leia : princess of Alderaan / written by Claudia Gray

For the ultimate LEGO super fan there is:

  • “LEGO Absolutely Everything You Need to Know”
  • There’s also a fun new construction series called “Build It!” with design ideas.
  • And the perfect gift for budding filmmakers, “The LEGO Animation Book: Make Your Own Lego Movies!”

The popular LEGO/Star Wars partnership brings us Ultimate LEGO Star Wars.

And speaking of Star Wars

“The Last Jedi” titles won’t be released until December 15, but there have been some amazing releases this year. A couple of titles are on opposite ends of the fan spectrum.

  • For the fanatic, there is “Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded”
  • For the novice, there’s “Star Wars Made Easy: A Beginner’s Guide to a Galaxy Far, Far Away.”
  • A cool title for kids who want to learn how to code is “Star Wars Coding Projects.”
  • And finally, a new title in the Journey to Star Wars series for teens is “Leia: Princess of Alderaan.”

Have a safe and happy holiday season. Happy Reading!

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