‘Tis the Season: Gift Ideas for Young Readers

The young readers in your life – be they the students you work with or the little ones that are a part of your family – will soon be leaving the classroom for Winter Break. Nearly all of them will be participating in winter celebrations in one form or another, and you know what that means: gift exchanges between family and friends. What better gift than a new book?

New Releases Make Great Gifts

Children’s books are one of the most popular genres in the world. Tens of thousands of children’s books are published each year, and the numbers are growing. Childhood reading is becoming more and more popular. So, how do you find the newest releases? Lots of sources show releases for the year, but what if you want to know what’s coming out next month?

Publisher’s Weekly

This site has an “On-Sale Calendar” that is updated regularly, and they post separate lists for children’s books. These posts come months in advance so you can mark your own calendar, or sign up for their newsletter and news feed!


This online giant has some great things going for it. They have a large selection, and one can often find obscure titles that are out-of-print or difficult to get locally. Perhaps their best feature for finding new releases, however, is their filtering process for their “coming soon” results. It allows you to choose an age range, making the process easier for Education Connection volunteers, as you can also choose the exact age of your student. There are options for book format, genre, and series. You can even pick between beginning, picture, chapter books, and more. Exact release dates are listed below the title, so you know when the book will be available.

Local Bookstores

Remember your local booksellers! They get the latest information on books coming in, can make recommendations, and will often be able to save a copy for you at their front desk. These people are experts in their field. Best yet, you’re helping small businesses stay in business!

Gifts for Everyone

While there are plenty of Christmas-themed stories to choose from, there are also some amazing stories for Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and other winter festivities. Here is a diverse list to recommend to your students, or give as gifts to the children in your life.

  • Together at Christmas by Eileen Spinelli – Ten mice learn it’s worth braving the cold to be together in this rhyming, read-along charmer.
  • Too many Tamales by Gary Soto – Misadventure reveals the joy of cultural and generational togetherness when Maria loses her mother’s diamond ring…right in the tamales!
  • Zigazak: A Magical Hanukah Night by Eric Kimmel – A rabbi must outwit two mischievous devils to save Hanukah for his town. An imaginative tale.
  • Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna Washington – Li’l Rabbit shares stories about Kwanzaa for his sick grandmother, and learns he’s not too little to make an impact.
  • A Solstice Tree for Jenny by Karen I. Shragg – Jenny finds connection during the holidays as she learns about solstice and traditions celebrated around the world.

One Last Tip: The Gift of Connection

Another source of great gift-giving ideas is Biblionasium. Often called “Goodreads for Kids,” this site allows children to connect with each and share their own recommendations for great reads. Better yet, this provides positive peer support for your students and other children. Getting kids connected to this site gives them a sense of community…and that’s an amazing gift!

Thank you for all that you do to help children become lifelong readers. You are an inspiration. Happy Holidays and we’ll see you in the new year!

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