November 30, 2021
Better Together: Books for Children
I’m a book giver. When a baby is born, a child has a birthday, or a friend needs a pick-me-up, I head to the bookstore to choose some bookish love. Books bring laughter and joy, offer comfort and hope, share wisdom and inspiration. And more!
So this year for the holiday season, I asked my friends from my debut group New Books for Kids to recommend books and gifts that go well with their debut books. Enjoy!
Brave in the Water makes the perfect gift for a 3- to 8-year-old who is learning to swim, learning to read, or who will benefit by discovering a calming breathing method to face the unknown. Brave in the Water is better together with Saturday is Swimming Day by Hyewon Yum, about a child taking swim lessons. Goggles and water toys make a complete gift package.
Dot, Dot, Polka Dot (by Morissa Rubin) is a board book that introduces young children to all the different shapes and vibrant fabric patterns found in the patchwork of a child’s quilt. This book is “better together: with Pitter Pattern by Joyce Hessleberth which expertly introduces young children to basic patterns in nature, music, sports, art, language, and math. Tangrams puzzles are a great and fun toy where kids can create and learn the power of patterns.
Leah Rose Kessler
Rat Fair makes the perfect gift for a 3- to 7-year old emerging reader who enjoys books they can read on their own. Rat Fair is better together with Over Bear, Under Where?, by Julie Hedlund, about two friends having a wordplay-filled day of fun at the park. Both books share themes of wordplay, kindness, and taking a chance on a new friend. A plush rat, bird, mole or bear, and magnetic letters for your own wordplay make a complete gift package.
Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel is the ideal gift for budding historians, readers, writers, and feminists. This book is better together with It Began With A Page by Kyo Maclear, the story of how Gyo Fujikawa became one of the first illustrators to depict diversity in children’s books. Paired with a journal and a drawing kit, this will make a wonderful gift for any occasion!
I am Odd, I am New, a children’s book whose message resonates with children of all ages, is a perfect gift for the child that doesn’t always feel like they fit in, or feels different. It’s also a great gift for that parent or teacher that needs a way to start a conversation with a child that might be experiencing bullying or not fitting in. This book is a perfect pair withThe Adventures of Bentley Hippo, a children’s book inspiring kids to accept each other, the way they are. Throw in some autism acceptance jewelry, or fidget toy and you’ve got a great gift basket!
Dinner on Domingos is a book about traditions, cultures, and learning a new language. It’s perfect for families looking for stories about grandparents and the connective power of food. Dinner on Domingos is better together with May Your Life Be Deliciosa, inspired by the author’s tradition of holiday tamale-making. A baking kit for kids makes this a perfect gift package!
My Sister Daisy is a great gift for kids ages 3-10 or anyone that is wondering what it means when a friend or family member changes their pronouns. Pair this book with a progress flag, pronoun pin, or collection of fun and educational songs by Linz, to show your support and learn a little along the way. The book is better together with My Rainbow by Deshanna and Trinity Neal—a book based on the true story about how a mother creates a rainbow wig for her transgender daughter.
My middle grade social justice book, Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing, pairs life changing writing exercises with the stories of a diverse group of people who changed lives and communities throughout history. Give it to the young activists in your life who are yearning to write for change but don’t know how. Mightier Than the Sword is better together with Miranda Paul’s picture book, Right Now!: Real Kids Speaking Up for Change, illustrated by Bea Jackson, which tells the inspiring stories of ten young people around the globe who are speaking up for social justice. Want to make a gift basket? Add a notebook and some cool new markers and pens.