Monday, December 7, 2015

Book-Lovers' Holiday Shopping List

If you're like me and love giving books as gifts, here are some of my top picks across the age-lines:

 (most of our picks are found here, but I added a couple of extra nods to the books that were hot commodities in my classroom with my reluctant readers last year):

Our very own Stacy Stokes' Where the Staircase Ends is a juicy and drama-filled story of friendship while also taking readers on the philosophical quest for what happens after we die/ how that knowledge affects how we live now. My class of reluctant readers nabbed this book right away and passed it around for reading.

Another favorite of my reluctant readers was The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu. This multi-perspective story was honest and haunting about the ways bullying affects a community.

Picture Books

My 5 year old niece is going wild over anything Elephant and Piggy, but really any Mo Willems will do. 

She also can't stop laughing over Josh Funk's Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast

Her sister thinks that The Ghost of Karl Marx is a hoot, delighting her Economics-teaching mother. I'm inclined to agree that it's wonderful. 

Adult Books

While most of us are so deeply entrenched in the YA book world, we may not get outside to see the adult reading offerings so I'm dedicating most of my referrals here. 

For the creative friend you want to get a pick-me-up: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Jennifer
recommended it to me as read by the author. I agree.

For the cozy down-home literary reader/foodie: Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. It makes even the unlikable of us more lovable.

For the community-minded: Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me was thought-provoking and a beautifully nuanced letter to his son about his thoughts on race in America today.

For history-lovers and feisty feminists: Meg Waite Clayton's The Race for Paris, the story of the female reporters who broke the rules and laws forbidding them from front-line action in order to tell the stories of WWII. Fast-paced and inspiring.

For hard-core literary fans: Adam Johnson's Fortune Smiles A warning: this book is sad. It's a collection of short stories that takes an honest and surreal eye to the struggles man faces day in and day out, but somehow Johnson leaves the reader feeling both empty and full at the same time. It's easy to see why it won the National Book Award.

***And though it's not out this year, a bonus recommendation to the talented mother/son duo whose blog postings you love, for your MG needs: a story of adventure set amidst the National Parks of America. Mason Davis and the Rise of the Storm Makers by Karen and Mitchell Clayton is always a winner.


  1. I love the illustrations in Lady Pancake. Though food with faces kinda creeps me out. Did you see that the butter is still smiling even after Pancake and Fench Toast each take a bit? Ha.

    1. Ha Ha. I totally get the creepy food face thing, but the book is so cute it's totally worth it for me -- butter smiling and all. :)

  2. You are too kind. Great book choices. Thanks for including mine along with the greats such as Where the Staircase Ends!!!