By Bianca Smith • December 01, 2017
While the holidays are a glorious time to eat, drink, and be merry with your friends and family, gift shopping can be not as glorious. Let's make it easy with books for everyone. After all, books make the perfect gifts. What else is affordable, has unlimited topics and stories, travels well (T.S.A. will approve), and easy to wrap? See, books it is. Plus, if you buy them something you like, you can always read it after they have.
Your favorite foodie will love The Cooking Gene. Culinary historian, Michael W. Twitty weaves Southern recipes through the stories of the recipes coming from Africa to America. He shows how the recipes evolved through slavery to modern times. They'll be drawn in by the storytelling and entranced by the photography. If you're lucky, your favorite foodie may even cook you dinner.
A science geek or even just anyone curious about the world above our heads will Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Bite-sized chapters and Neil deGrasse Tyson's sparkling wit explains black holes, the Big Bang, and more succinctly and enjoyably.
Facebook C.O.O. and ultimate girl boss, Sheryl Sandberg, discovered with the sudden loss of her husband that life doesn't always follow option A. In her latest book, Sheryl teams with Adam Grant, friend and Wharton psychologist, to mix her experiences with research to advise on overcoming extreme adversity. Many of the lessons can be applied to everyday situations. Gift your friend who needs a little more than a hug.
Sing, Unburied, Sing is Jesmyn Ward's second National Book Award-winning novel. It's a Southern gothic story set on the Mississippi Gulf coast. We meet Leonie, a drug-addicted mom of two. Thirteen-year-old Jojo and his toddler sister live with Leonie's parents with Leonie flitting in and out of their lives. Jesmyn weaves a realistically harsh story of poverty, race, injustice, family, and addiction. Not a pleasant read, but one beautifully crafted and deserving of the National Book Award prize.
The fangirl or boy in the house will instantly relate to this geeky, modern fairy tale. It's Cinderella, but the gown is cosplay, and the ball is at a con. (That's fandom convention for the non-geeks out there.) Will Elle beat her stepsisters in the cosplay contest and win the celebrity meet and greet? YA readers have been praising the first fairytale about them.
A young British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend, who he also has a crush on. However, Henry "Monty" Montague's reckless hurrah abroad turns into a harrowing manhunt and calls into question everything he knows.
Perhaps check with your teen in case they already have the number one young adult book of the year. It topped the bestseller lists before it was released in October and has been described as a modern classic. With a surprising lack of turtles, Turtles All The Way Down is 16-year-old Aza. Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there's a $100,000 reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate.
Did you know Glee's Chris Colfer is also a New York Times bestselling author? His The Land of the Stories series starts with twins, Alex and Conner magicked into a foreign land of wonder and fairy tale characters, both good and evil.
The Middle Readers on your list will devour the mystery and action of The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. It's the first in The Heroes of Olympus series (so now their birthdays are covered too). Jason wakes on the bus traveling to Camp Half-Blood. Except Jason can't remember anything before that moment. Not the school he attends for "bad kids," his best friend, or the girlfriend whose hand he's holding. Something's not right.
Is that a mistake or the start of something beautiful? Corinna Luyken takes children (and their grownups) through her creative process. Inky smudges become leaves in the sky. A weird frog-cat-cow thing inspires a bush. With more illustrations than words children will love discovering mistakes aren't bad; they're creative starting points.
We can all right wrongs in the world. In 1963, nine-year-old Audrey Faye Hendricks was the youngest known person arrested for a civil rights protest in Birmingham, Alabama. This story describes how she heard the adults discussing the protest and deciding how she had to participate, even if it meant going to jail. While we hope the youngest people on your Christmas list don't need to do anything so drastic, The Youngest Marcher teaches that we can always do something to make the world better.