My favorite books for the littles | Gift guide

When your kids are little, it can be hard to control your urge to buy everything for them around the holidays. The season is just so magical, especially when you are looking at it through their eyes and you can imagine their surprise and delight. But in effort to keep things simple…Jim and I are going to try and stick to a plan of buying something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. (I’m not sure where I read this strategy along the way, but I love it.) We haven’t quite yet decided what we are gifting the girls this year, but I wanted to share a few of our favorite books, both to read and give. (Many of these were given to them as gifts over the last three years!)


Mama and Baby! (Indestructibles): A gift to Elliot on her first birthday from our dear family friends, this book is one of the indestructibles; water-proof and tear-resistant, absolutely perfect for babies (and toddlers who are super grabsy). There are no words in this book and the girls love to make up their own stories on each page. A year later, it’s still a quick bedtime favorite.

The Wheels on the Bus: Believe it or not, we have been through three copies of this timeless classic. Our college friend gave this special pop-up book to Harper on her first birthday. It was her son’s favorite and quickly after became our favorite as well. We named the bus driver, Earl. The girls think they illustrations of the crying babies are pretty funny!

Miroslav Sasek’s series of children’s travel guides are amazing. They were originally published from 1959-1974 and as such, they have a kind of “Dick and Jane” retro feel, but better. One of my best friends gave us This is Washington, D.C. and I have to keep it on the high “special book” shelf so the pages and cover can survive the toddler years. I could (and have) read these books on my own as the illustrations are just so lovely and some of the history, although taught in school is (unfortunately for me) not committed to memory. Any one of the 17 cities in this collection would make a wonderful gift, and there is a special dedication page as well.

Spoon: This is our first book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and I can’t wait to scoop up a few more. The “grass isn’t always greener” message is so sweetly delivered in a make believe world of flatware. (It would be cute to couple with the Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon in a family spoon-themed gift basket of some sort!)

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore: Fun fact: This book was also an Academy Award–winning animated short film. I associate this book with the likes of the movie, “Up”, where grown-ups can take away a message as well. Any lover of books would love this gentle coming of age story about how books take care of us, just as we take care of them.

It probably goes without saying, anything by Nancy Tillman is a winner. My mom got Harper the recordable version of On the night you were born and I love that we have a story that Harper can “read” with her Nana’s voice.

And in the spirit of giving back, check out 10 Awesome Book Charities that provide new books to children both in the U.S. and all over the world.


In addition to gifting books, it’s always fun to add a little gift topper, like a customized book stamp, some cute bookplates or even a fun bookmark. These could also make fantastic stocking stuffers, which will be the last theme in this series of gift guides, coming up this time next week.

Again, we are just getting our Christmas shopping started for the girls. If you have any favorite books that have been a hit with your family, I would love to hear!


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