Give the Gift of Reading 2018
The first snow of the season has already happened and winter holidays are around the corner, so the Children’s Library is ready to share its annual gift giving guide. Here you’ll find carefully selected titles that we believe will make great gifts for the young readers—from toddlers to teens—on your gift list. You may also want to consult these options generated by the Library staff for book lovers of all ages.
And if the children you plan to shower with gifts happen to be in New York City, consider giving their families a membership to the NYSL, where they will find all of these books as well as year-round programming in our Children’s Library.
Fiction and Graphic Novel Recommendations
Black Bird Yellow Sun | Light, Steve Recommended for ages 1-4
As a black bird flies through the day, little ones are treated to its magnificent journey from one vibrant color to another.
Baby’s First Words | Blackstone, Stella Recommended for ages 2-4
Come spend the day with a busy baby and her two dads and learn the words for all the things you see along the way.
Sylvia Long’s Big Book for Small Children | Long, Sylvia Recommended for ages 2-6
A compendium of concepts like numbers, colors and opposites, together with poems, stories, and hands-on activities such as making pancakes and mud pies.
New Shoes | Raschka, Chris Recommended for ages 2-6
When a young child discovers a hole in a sneaker, mother and child embark on a big childhood adventure—a trip to the store to pick out new shoes.
When’s My Birthday | Fogliano, Julie Recommended for ages 3-6
Children excitedly discuss the details of their upcoming birthdays.
I Lost My Tooth! | Willems, Mo Recommended for ages 3-6
The beloved Mo Willems is back… with a new series for early readers featuring Unlimited Squirrels, the amusing Emote-acorns, informative Squirrely Facts, and a quiz—huzzah!
Once There Was a Story | Yolen, Jane Recommended for ages 3-8
A collection of thirty shareable fairy tales, folk tales, and fables from around the world that includes magic tales and animal tales, and much more.
How to Knit a Monster | Haeringen, Annemarie van Recommended for ages 4-7
When mean Mrs. Sheep insults Greta the goat's knitting, Greta quickly knits a wolf that swallows Mrs. Sheep whole, but how will she get rid of the wolf?
On a Magical Do-Nothing Day | Alemagna, Beatrice Recommended for ages 4-8
Sent outside by her mother on a rainy day, a child is dismayed when her digital game falls into the pond, but then she encounters fantastical creatures that awaken her to the beauty of nature.
Goldfish on Vacation | Lloyd-Jones, Sally Recommended for ages 4-8
Based on a true story that happened in NYC, three goldfish live in an apartment until one summer they go on vacation—to a fountain, with lily pads, and reeds, and other goldfish.
Winter Dance | Bauer, Marion Recommended for ages 4-8
How should a fox prepare for winter? Everything the other animals advise won’t work for this fox, so he’ll have to find someone similar to ask for help.
Robinson | Sís, Peter Recommended for ages 5-8
A boy and his friends are planning to dress up as pirates for their school's annual costume party, but instead his mother creates a Robinson Crusoe costume for him, and while the adults love it, his friends are less welcoming.
Bolivar | Rubin, Sean Recommended for ages 5-8
What would you do if your neighbor was a dinosaur? Sybil knows that there is something off about her next door neighbor, but she can't seem to get anyone to believe her.
King & Kayla and the Case of the Secret Code | Butler, Dori Hillestad Recommended for ages 6-7
When a mysterious letter written in code arrives at King's house for his human, Kayla, he follows the trail of the person who left it.
The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden | Glaser, Karina Yan Recommended for ages 8-10
When catastrophe strikes their beloved upstairs neighbors, the Vanderbeeker children set out to build the best, most magical healing garden in Harlem. Sequel to The Vanderbeekers of 141st St.
Snow & Rose | Martin, Emily Winfield Recommended for ages 8-11
Snow and Rose search the forest for their missing father and discover there is a sinister magic at work in the woods.
The Doughnut Fix | Jankowitz, Jessie Recommended for ages 8-11
When his family moves from NYC to tiny Petersville, eleven-year-old Tris uses his cooking expertise to revive a town tradition of chocolate cream doughnuts.
The Creature of the Pines | Gidwitz, Adam Recommended for ages 8-12
In this start to a new series, after encountering a Jersey Devil in the Pine Barrens, Elliot and his new friend Uchenna help their weird teacher Professor Fauna rescue the mythological creature.
The War I Finally Won | Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker Recommended for ages 9-12
As the frightening impact of World War II creeps closer and closer to her door, eleven-year-old Ada learns to manage life on the home front. Sequel to The War That Saved My Life.
The Witch Boy | Ostertag, Molly Knox Recommended for ages 9-12
In Aster's family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. But Asher can save the boys from a mysterious danger if he acts with his budding witch powers.
Thornhill | Smy, Pam Recommended for ages 10-14
Parallel plotlines set in different times, one told in text and one in art, inform each other as a young girl unravels the mystery of a ghost she glimpses next door.
Rebound | Alexander, Kwame Recommended for ages 11 and up
In the summer of 1988, Chuck Bell is sent to stay with his grandparents, where he discovers jazz and basketball and learns more about his family's past. Prequel to The Crossover.
The Poet X | Acevedo, Elizabeth Recommended for ages 12 and up
In her Harlem neighborhood, Xiomara Batista struggles against her religious mother’s expectations and her yearning to express herself in poetry that is performed out loud. Of note, this book just took home the top prize in the Young People's Literature category of the National Book Award.
La Belle Sauvage | Pullman, Philip Recommended for ages 13 and up
Malcolm finds himself embroiled in a tale of intrigue featuring agents from the Magisterium, a woman with a monkey daemon, and a baby named Lyra. Prequel to His Dark Materials triology.
Sadie | Summers, Courtney Recommended for ages 14 and up
In alternating, riveting chapters, down-on-her-luck Sadie hunts down her sister’s killer and a year later a podcaster traces Sadie’s journey and attempts to relocate her whereabouts.
Non-fiction and Biography Recommendations
Snails Are Just My Speed! | McCloskey, Kevin Recommended for ages 4-8
Did you know snails build roads like engineers and go undercover in camouflage like spies? Did you know they can be smaller than a seed or bigger than a grown-ups hand?
Earth: My First 4.54 Billion Years | McAnulty, Stacy Recommended for ages 5-8
With engaging picture book style narration, readers learn about key moments in the planet's life, from its formation over four billion years ago to the present.
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor | Valdez, Patricia Recommended for ages 5-8
Looks at the inspiring story of Joan Procter, a pioneering female scientist who loved reptiles.
The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs | Messner, Kate Recommended for ages 6-10
Looks at the life of the coral restoration pioneer Ken Nedimyer, from his early fascination with the ocean to his ongoing efforts to save and rebuild the world's coral reefs.
Frida Kahlo and her Animalitos | Brown, Monica Recommended for ages 6-9
Chronicles Frida's life capturing the beauty and strength of her creative spirit, which carried her through tragedy and triumph, and the animals that inspired her along the way.
Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion | Barton, Chris Recommended for ages 7-10
When the British Royal Navy grew desperate to protect their ship from German U-Boat attacks, they created Dazzle ships in order to confuse the enemy of their location and destination.
Rodent Rascals | Munro, Roxie Recommended for ages 8-10
Explore the wonderful world of rodents! Charming life-size illustrations accompany fascinating descriptions of the life cycles, sizes, habitats, and ranges of rodents around the globe.
All That Trash | McCarty, Meghan Recommended for ages 8-10
The fascinating true story of a NYC garbage barge that didn't have a place to dock—and was one of the events that led to the development of the modern era’s recycling movement.
Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing | Schubert, Leda Recommended for ages 8-10
This tribute to legendary musician and activist Pete Seeger highlights major musical events in Mr. Seeger's life as well important moments of his fight against social injustice.
Every Month Is a New Year | Singer, Marilyn Recommended for ages 8-11
A collection of original poems about New Year celebrations throughout the year and around the world.
Frenemies in the Family | Krull, Kathleen Recommended for ages 8-12
Siblings everywhere will relate to this humorous look at famous brothers and sisters whose important bonds have shaped their accomplishments ... (mostly) for the better.
Flying Colors | Jacobs, Robin Recommended for ages 8-12
By exploring the patterns, colors and crests of flags, we can learn all about the histories and aspirations of the countries they represent. Discover the fascinating world of vexillology!
Magic Tricks with Coins, Cards, and Everyday Objects | Banfield, Jake Recommended for ages 9-13
Presents fifty magic tricks of varying levels of difficulty that can be performed with everyday objects instead of expensive props.
National Geographic Kids Guide to Genealogy | Resler, Tamara J. Recommended for ages 10 and up
This lively guide will get you started on researching your family's past and let you in on the newest and most up-to-date technology for genealogy research.
30 People Who Changed the World | Reynold, Jean—editor Recommended for ages 10 and up
Short essays about famous people from Imhotep to Malala Yousafzal.
Brazen : Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World | Bagieu, Penelope Recommended for ages 13 and up
From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.