We may be biased (we definitely are biased) here at Lee & Low, but we think books make the best gifts! But with so many great books out there and so little time, finding the right book for the right reader can be an overwhelming task.
If you’re still scrambling to find the perfect gift, fear not! Below we’ve provided some handy suggestions of hand-picked titles for every young (or young-at-heart) reader in your life including teachers, artists, activists, free spirits, new readers, teens, and reluctant readers:
Books for TEACHERS
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone: Melba’s teacher encouraged her to keep playing her trombone, demonstrating the resounding impact that a teacher can have on a child’s life.
My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone! A young boy and his classmates explore an alphabet of occupations from Astronaut to Zillionaire with the help of his favorite teacher.
The Upside Down Boy: A sensitive teacher and loving family helps Juanito, who is overwhelmed by a new school and learning English, find his voice and make a place for himself in the world.
Books for ARTISTS
Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee! A biography of groundbreaking Harlem Renaissance photographer James VanDerZee, who was one of the first to experiment with special effects in his photographs.
The East-West House: A gentle poetic biography of multifaceted artist Isamu Noguchi, who brought Eastern and Western influences together in his work.
Just Like Me: In this original collection, fourteen outstanding artists share paintings, childhood photographs, and inspirational stories about their paths to becoming artists.
Books for ACTIVISTS
Martí’s Song for Freedom: A gorgeous bilingual biography of José Martí, the beloved Cuban revolutionary and poet who fought for freedom and an end to slavery.
Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story: A biography of Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American movie star, whose spirited determination in the face of discrimination helped to change Hollywood.
Ahimsa: This moving middle grade novel, set during India’s independence movement, shows the power of one young person to change the world.
Books for FREE SPIRITS
Sparkle Boy: A young boy loves things that shimmer, glitter, and sparkle. But his older sister thinks sparkly things are only for girls. A sweet story about the freedom to be yourself!
Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash: Join everyone’s favorite “mismatched” heroine on an adventure as she tries to plan a fabulously mismatched birthday party in this delightful bilingual book!
Rainbow Weaver: In this story of environmental conservation and ingenuity, a young girl in Guatemala finds a new way to recycle the colorful plastic bags littered around her village.
Books for NEW READERS
Rafi and Rosi: Two Puerto Rican tree frog siblings learn about science and social studies topics during their adventures on their island home.
Confetti Kids: Block Party: A group of children from diverse backgrounds have a block party where everyone is responsible for bringing a food dish.
Summer Sun Risin’: This delightful story takes us from sunrise to sunset as an African American boy spends an activity-filled summer day helping his family on their farm.
Books for TEENS
Rebel Seoul: Pacific Rim meets Korean dramas in this action-packed sci-fi thriller set in futuristic Seoul.
I Am Alfonso Jones: An unflinching graphic novel about the afterlife of a young man killed by an off-duty police officer and the friends and family he leaves behind.
Perfect Liars: Andrea Faraday, a society girl with a sketchy past, leads a crew of juvie kids in using their criminal skills for good.
Books for RELUCTANT READERS
Chess Rumble: A story in free verse about a troubled boy who learns to use his mind instead of his fists through the guidance of an unconventional mentor and the game of chess.
Under the Mesquite: This gorgeous novel in verse about a Mexican-American girl coming of age during her mother’s long illness won the prestigious Pura Belpré Award.
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty: A powerful graphic novel based on the life and death of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, an eleven-year-old gang member from Chicago’s Southside.
One thought on “Lee & Low’s Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Our Favorite Children’s Books to Gift This Year”
So I read Sparkle Boy to my “Blerd” (black & bilingual nerds, 5th grade girls) lunch bunch, to get a feel on whether I should present it to a class…and open myself up to the bittersweet moments of defense, when pushing the conservative reading platform. I personally LOVED the book, but needed an unofficial test group to gauge the acceptance level of the students. Needless to say, their reactions spanned the spectrum from reluctance to acceptance. We made a brief post-reading podcast to get some reflective thoughts brewing. Enjoy it here: https://anchor.fm/awakenlibrarian?at=1319501. My blerd discussion will be I am Alfonso Jones…eek! I’m super-psyched about that “Lee & Low LIT Lexicon!” (My phrase…don’t steal it! Lol!)
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