An (Unusual) Book Gift Guide for Kids

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girl learning to read

This fall reading finally “clicked” for my fifth child. As a homeschool mom, this feels like a huge relief. The experiment is working! Reaching the stage of reading independently is a huge milestone for every child, every person. Literacy is the key to understanding so much about our world.

While we have our fair share of electronic diversions, I’ve found that my kids still love to read. Books become faithful and treasured friends. They also make great Christmas gifts.

There are plenty of great book lists out there with a lot of classic books. By contrast, my list presents some books that you may or may not be familiar with, or think about as good gifts for kids, thus my tagging this list as “unusual”.

book recs

Here are some of my favorite book recs for kids:

Great Novels and Read Alouds:

wingfeatherThe Wingfeather Saga

This series written by singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson is a great one, enjoyed by adults and kids alike. I’m currently rereading the series to my littles so that they’re ready when the fourth and final installment is released in the next few months. These are top on my list of favorite books. I can’t recommend them enough.

Books include On the Dark Sea of Darkness, North! Or Be Eaten!, The Monster in the Hollows, and The Warden and the Wolf King

mysterious benedict

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The kids and I read through these four books this year and loved every minute. While my teen wasn’t too keen on story time, he did enjoy reading the books on his own. Truth be told, I did, too. I read ahead. I confess. They’re that good. I would stay up long after the kids went to bed and keep reading.

Books include The Mysterious Benedict SocietyThe Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous JourneyThe Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma, and The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict.

love doesLove Does

You might not expect to see Love Does by Bob Goff on a reading list for kids. But, my boys over 10 have all read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only does it fuel fabulous conversations with your teens and tweens, but it helps them see that the lessons you’re teaching them are just not parent talk. That someone they don’t know, but who is hilariously funny, is challenging them to think outside themselves.

searchdeliciousThe Search for Delicious 

The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt is an old book. But, as well-read as I was as a child, I had never heard of it. Carrie recommended it years ago and it’s become a family favorite. It’s an interesting vehicle for talking about language, grammar, meaning, communication, and respecting differences of opinion. My boys and I refer back to it still, three years later.

bible promiseThe Bible Promise Book

I received a book similar to The Bible Promise Book when I was seven. I kept it all through my childhood and teen years. A few years ago I dug it out to comfort one of my sons, who was just coming to faith in Jesus. He was wrestling with fears and not understanding how good God is. This book has been a comfort to him over the years. And to me. It’s a little difficult to find. Amazon sometimes has it, sometimes not. Sometimes in the translation you want, and sometimes not. This version is similar to the one we have.

For Parents:


This reading guide, Fifty Books to Enjoy with Kids, written by my mom, Dr. Veronica Getskow, is a great place to start in terms of reading to your younger children. This is the book I asked her to write when my oldest was a toddler. Better late than never, I always say!

It contains a reading list of 50 books that are must-reads with young children and includes links to reserve the book at your local library if you don’t feel like buying all fifty books yourself. Chances are you probably have a handful of these already.

Also, be sure to download my friend Anne’s Kid Lit Guide, Paper Gains. It’s a great collection to help you navigate the book store and come through with some great, meaningful reads for the children in your life.

More Great Gift Ideas

What works for you?

Leave a comment below and let us know what works for you.

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  1. The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean. The making of Jesse Tree’s is a tradition more than a 1,000 years old that many today have forgotten or never heard of. My children first read this at ages 8 and 10. We read one of the 24 stories each night during Advent. We are reading it again this year. If your children are crafty, they could make a Jesse Tree of their own to go with the book.