5 wonderful children’s books perfect for gift-giving

For the first time ever, my son took it upon himself to write a “Dear Santa” letter, start to finish, his own doing entirely. This delights me. Despite the typical wear and tear that any precious item belonging to a 7-year-old might endure, I’ll hold onto that piece of paper for a long, long time (hey, even neat-freak, less-than-sentimental parents have a soft spot too, you know).

So that’s all fine and dandy, except this list looks a lot different than his Christmas requests from previous years. Gone is the simplicity of a stuffed animal or two, a battery-less toy and a board game. We’ve unceremoniously moved on to Nintendo 3DS, turbo Nerf guns and a you-know-what-load of Pokémon cards.

What?! No. In our super-speed digital age, this boy is getting a surprise gift from Santa in the form of a good old-fashioned book. Here are five of my favorites for kids of all ages, perfect for holiday giving.

The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name

By Lost My Name

Personalized book? Try customized book. Created by a publishing startup in the UK, this super cute book lets you create a one-of-a-kind story based on the letters in your child’s name, as well as their gender and location. Each book varies in length, with a 24-page minimum. Designed for kids 7 and younger, the Lost My Name model is a wonderful fusion of art and technology.

The LEGO Architect

By Tom Alphin

Neoclassical to Art Deco to Modernism, take your kids (and yourself) back in time through the eyes of architecture—and legos. Beautiful photos of buildings around the world accompany each architectural style, plus lego re-creations from international artists and instructions to build your own pared-down models that emphasize each style’s guiding elements.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be

By Emily Winfield Martin

Sweet, simple and accessible to young kids, this encouraging tale celebrates the potential of childhood with vivid oil-painting illustrations and a fun fold-out gatefold of kids in costume. The book’s overall message––that every child is important––underscores diversity and individuality.

Indestructible Nursery Rhyme Book Set

From Uncommon Goods

For a baby or toddler, reading isn’t so much about looking at the pages as it is chewing on them. To the rescue is this sweet—and washable!—set that withstands drooling, chewing, ripping and probably many more things a young child could throw at it (including throwing). Each book is printed on a synthetic material made from non-toxic, flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers that feel like paper but are very difficult to tear. Includes Frere Jacques, Hickory Dickory Dock, Old Macdonald Had a Farm, Mary Had a Little Lamb and Humpty Dumpty.

The Night Before Christmas

By Clement C. Moore; illustrated by Charles Santore

Call me basic, but this one’s a must for Christmas Eve bedtime reading. The story has been illustrated many times over the years, but award-winning artist Charles Santore brings the tale’s magic to life in this board-book edition that will stay beautiful year after year.

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