Everyone who knows me knows that I am the lady who gives books. It's kind of a joke in my family. Hmm, I wonder what Auntie Jody will give us this year...
I read once (in a book) that we give the gifts we most like to receive. News flash: I like to receive books!!
Here are some of my favorites from the past year:
For a baby (or new parent): You can't go wrong with Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers. This was my go-to baby shower gift idea when I worked at the bookstore. Basically, a welcome to the planet earth written and illustrated by a new dad. This book is gorgeous with a kind message. And bonus points for being a fun read-aloud for kids nearer-to-age-three.
Pre-school: What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers. (The NY Times calls it "obligatory reading for future concerned citizens.") Also by the same author, my all-time favorite Her Right Foot, which tells the story of why the Statue of Liberty's foot is raised.
Early readers: Forget Dr. Seuss (okay, don't forget him, but if you are ready to branch out a little, try anything by Mo Willems in the Elephant & Piggie series. My favorite, of course, is We are in a Book.
Early chapter books: ready to move beyond Ramona or Junie B. Jones? Try Jasmine Toguchi. She's sassy and smart, and delicious bonus, in the first book there's a recipe for mochi balls.
Middle Grade (8-12): Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed. Eye-opening, thought-provoking and ultimately inspiring story about a girl living in a small village in Pakistan, sent to work (against her will) as a servant in the home of a powerful, corrupt family.
Upper middle grade (10-up): Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (and anything else written by this brilliant, beautiful human). This book is a gut punch-- one 60-second elevator ride down in the life of a boy intent on revenge.
Graphic novel: Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol. Russian immigrant kid in the suburbs, longing to fit in with her American friends, turns to summer camp as the solution. Unfortunately, this camp is not what she had envisioned. An absorbing mix of horrifying and hilarious.
Young Adult: Sadie by Courtney Summers. Riveting and viscerally moving story of Sadie, a girl on a quest to find her sister's killer, told in alternating segments with a podcast that's trying figure out why Sadie herself has gone missing.
Adult: Almost Everything: Notes on Hope by Anne Lamott. Like all of Lamott's books this one is a surprising blend of funny, religious, outraged, amused and painfully human.
Spoiler alert: I am buying it for every woman I love this year.