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Unwrapping Imagination: A Kid’s Book Holiday Gift Guide 

‘Tis the season for gifting! 🎁 Delight all kinds of young readers in your life with these book recommendations.

For the reader who loves firefighters (& Richard Scarry!)

“Firefighters to the Rescue!” written and illustrated by R.W. Alley

Follow along as the officers of Breezy Valley answer the call to protect their beloved town. Ladders, axes, and water hoses take center stage as the firefighters rescue the tabby cat twins, put out blazes, and save not only lives—but also the town ice cream parlor! Kids will pour over equipment details, cross-section pictures and more. This book will keep young firefighter fans engaged for days and days!

For the kid who likes to ask “WHY??”

“Welcome to the Wonder House” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard, illustrated by Deborah Freedman

This collection of poems, creatively presented in the format of an allegorical house, will engage anyone who has ever wondered “why?” as it shows young readers that wonder is everywhere—in yourself and in the world around you. Each room is filled with poems and objects covering a wide variety of STEAM topics, including geology, paleontology, physics, astronomy, creative writing, and drawing, that will inspire curiosity in young readers.

For the young history and sports buff

“Tee Time on the Moon” by David R. Kelly, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

Astronaut Alan Shepard’s mission: Fly to the moon. Study it in more detail than ever before. Hit a golf ball in low gravity. But how far? This engaging STEM/STEAM picture book reveals the little-known but true story of an experiment that may have started as a stunt, but ended up making people think differently about the moon, ask questions, and look for answers.

For the young foodie

“Pizza, Pickles, and Apple Pie” written and illustrated by David Rickert

How did a pizza become a pizza? Is a pickle really a cucumber in disguise? Explore fascinating food history, nutrition, and American culture through this middle-grade graphic-format nonfiction book for kids that answers oft-asked questions about the foods we love, explaining how they came to be.

For the kid who binges baking and cooking shows

“Look and Cook Snacks” by Valorie Fisher

Featured in the 2023 New York Times Holiday Gift Guide! The first of its kind, Look and Cook Snacks is an entirely visual guide to cooking. Designed for children who can’t yet read, this is a must-have introduction to the joys of cooking for kids ages 4 to 7. From scrumptious fruit smoothies to easy-peasy pizzas, each recipe will let your kid will take charge of their discovery of the kitchen!

For the youngest (or youngest-at-heart!) comic reader

“Gotta Go!” by Frank Viva

Uh, oh… Owen should have listened but instead he’s now squirming. He’s just gotta go! Luckily for him, grampa knows exactly what to do; he’s had a lot of practice over the years. In this funny (and stylish) graphic easy reader, grampa teaches Owen the best way to hold the urge off for just long enough, with the help of some fun and funky dance moves. Before long, Owen’s jumping in with some moves of his own.

For the kid looking for laughs

“Papa’s Magical Water-Jug Clock” by Jesus Trejo, illustrated by Eliza Kinkz

Also available in Spanish!

In Mexican American comedian Jesús Trejo’s debut picture book, a little boy makes a big, funny mistake and learns the value of resources like time and water—both of which have a magic all their own. A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2023!

For the kid who likes their holidays with a dollop of dark

“Hansel and Gretel” by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti

The story of Hansel and Gretel has haunted Neil Gaiman since he was five. Now, he and acclaimed artist Lorenzo Mattotti present their own retelling of one of literature’s most enduring fairy tales. At a time when children face numerous stark realities, this powerful new interpretation is a timely reminder that ignorance is not protection and dark things can be beaten.

For the kid who just can’t stop exploring

“The Museum of Nothing” by Steven Guarnaccia

Join Oona and Otto on a tour of a museum that proudly displays every kind of, well, nothing. There’s the Hall of Holes—donut, button, black—the Zero Wing, the Nobody Room (where the Invisible Man is the star attraction) and more. With pages full of witty details to discover, this captivating book shows there’s so much more to nothing than you think!

For your raddest young reader

“One Cool Duck” by Mike Petrik

What’s cool, anyway? Skateboards, pizza, the latest slang (both the new and throwback kinds), arcade games—and being kind! Meet Duck and the gang in this new chapter book graphic novel series for emerging readers, where friendship is fun . . . and kindness rules.

For that next-generation Judy Blume fan

“Cross My Heart and Never Lie” by Nora Dåsnes

How do you become a teenager? Get a new look? Fall in love with a boy? And what if it’s a girl? Twelve-year old Tuva looks for the answers in the fresh diary-style graphic novel that Alice Oseman, author of the New York Times bestselling Heartstopper, calls “a warm hug.”

For families looking to learn about other holidays

“Dreams of Green” by Mariel Jungkunz, illustrated by Monica Paola Rodriguez

Also available in Spanish

After moving from Puerto Rico, a girl and her family discover new ways to celebrate Dia de los Reyes, or Three Kings Day, in snowy and cold Ohio. This warm holiday picture book is a celebration of Puerto Rican culture, a heartwarming family tradition, and a reminder that we all carry a piece of home with us wherever life may take us.