The BIG 2017 Gift List (Part II: Tots, Big Kids, and Teens!)

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Nieces and nephews coming to visit for the holidays? New baby joining the family just in time for all the festivity? Voracious book-eating teenager in the house? Keep everyone happy with a book to unwrap! Our booksellers name their go-to gift suggestions for all ages, from classic favorites to new releases:

 Holiday Traditions


Emily Arrow Winter Singalong CD

The holidays are a time for traditions. Here at Parnassus, we end the year with a special holiday storytime. Everyone wears pajamas, and we share our favorite seasonal songs and read Chris Van Allsburg’s beloved book, The Polar Express. This year, our tradition will continue to grow, as Emily Arrow hosts our holiday storytime and shares songs from her new album, Winter Singalong. If you’re in Nashville, join us Saturday, December 9, at 9 a.m. Wherever you live, make sure to pick up Emily’s new record; her spare and enchanting melodies are sure to become your favorite new tradition.

Recommended by Stephanie

The Little Reindeer Cover ImageThe Little Reindeer 

It’s the night before Christmas, and Ollie can’t sleep. She’s staring out her window when she hears a soft jingle from down below. What could it be? I love Nicola Killen’s restrained color palette, and I adore the perfectly placed silver foil and die-cuts. Just published this fall, The Little Reindeer is perfect for families looking to add a new classic to their collection of holiday read-alouds.

Recommended by Jackie

The Twelve Days of Christmas Cover ImageThe Twelve Days of Christmas 

The classic song in a brand-new book edition with lovely illustrations. Perfect gift for a young child!

Recommended by Ginger

The Jolly Christmas Postman Cover ImageThe Jolly Christmas Postman 

I love reading this book with my kids every Christmas. They have a great time with the letters and puzzles included. Consider it a classic must-have.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Refuge Cover ImageRefuge 

A beautiful retelling of the first Christmas through the lens of a refugee family as they escape to Egypt after the birth of Jesus.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Chanukah Lights Pop-Up Cover ImageChanukah Lights Pop-Up 

This beautiful pop-up book follows the Festival of Lights through time.

Recommended by Stephanie

Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa Cover ImageLi’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa

This sweet story about Li’l Rabbit, who wants to find a special treat for Granna Rabbit to celebrate the Karamu feast, is full of warmth, family, and community. It’s the perfect book to share during Kwanzaa, or to introduce the Nguzo Saba (the seven principles of Kwanzaa) for the first time.

Recommended by Stephanie

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story about Knitting and Love Cover ImageA Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story about Knitting and Love 

Sophia makes the pom-poms for the hats her neighbor, Mrs. Goldman, knits. “Keeping keppies warm is our mitzvah,” says Mrs. Goldman. But when Mrs. Goldman gives her own hat to someone who needs it, Sophia worries that Mrs. Goldman’s keppie will be cold. Can Sophia knit Mrs. Goldman a new hat all by herself? Every last detail of this book is charming, touching, and perfect.

Recommended by Stephanie

A Child's Book of Prayers and Blessings: From Faiths and Cultures Around the World Cover ImageA Child’s Book of Prayers and Blessings: From Faiths and Cultures Around the World 

This is lovely collection is exactly what the title promises: A diverse selection of poems, prayers, songs, and blessings for children regardless of their faith tradition. Shadra Strickland’s wonderfully textured cut-paper-esque illustrations make this stand apart from other books with similar content. Fun fact: Author Deloris Jordan has a very tall, very famous son named Michael.

Recommended by Stephanie

Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein Cover ImageDear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein 

Rachel Rosenstein REALLY wants her family to celebrate Christmas this year, but she can’t seem to get anyone from her Jewish family on board with the idea, so she decides to appeal to a higher power: Santa. I love how both Rachel’s desires and her family’s faith are given equal weight in this funny holiday story. (After all, as Rachel reminds Santa, Jesus, too, was Jewish on his mother’s side.)

Recommended by Keltie

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Cover ImageThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever 

You can keep your Dickens — to me, this classic is the best Christmas Story ever. Meet the Herdmans, the worst kids in the history of the world. It still makes me laugh out loud. And cry a little.

Recommended by Devin

Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale Cover ImageTru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale 

Inspired by Truman Capote and Harper Lee’s early friendship in Monroeville, AL, this sequel to Tru & Nelle is great for the middle-grade independent reader who enjoys historical fiction.

Recommended by Ella

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories Cover ImageMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories 

OK, this one came out last year, but it’s so seasonal! Give this collection of Christmas-themed short stories written by big-name YA authors to any teens who love fiction.

 Recommended by Ella

Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances Cover ImageLet It Snow: Three Holiday Romances 

Three winter-themed interconnected stories for anyone who enjoys fictional love stories.

 Tried and True: Favorite Board Books for the Littlest Book-Lovers
Recommended by Katherine

Everywhere Babies (Padded Board Book) Cover ImageEverywhere Babies (Padded Board Book) 

Baby’s first holiday season? This sweet book celebrating babies all over the world makes a great gift, and the padded cover gives it a little oomph.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Indestructibles: Love You, Baby Cover ImageIndestructibles: The Baby-Proof, Drool-Proof First Books (Series)

“Chew-proof” and “rip-proof,” too. There are lots of books in this series, and they’re perfect for tiny tots who can’t help but sink their teeth into a good story!

Recommended by Rae Ann

Rhymoceros Cover ImageRhymoceros 

Perfect for your very young readers and anyone who might enjoy a board book about a rhyming rhino.

Recommended by Rae Ann
The Watermelon Seed Cover Image

The Watermelon Seed 

The funny story that makes little audiences laugh out loud, in a sturdy board book edition.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Going to Bed Book Cover ImageThe Going to Bed Book 

After daily readings, I memorized this one many years ago. I still love it! What a joy to see each new generation discover this timeless treasure. Sandra Boynton’s books are a must for any new-baby library! Speaking of which . . .

Hog Wild!: A Frenzy of Dance Music Cover ImageHog Wild! A Frenzy of Dance Music 

OK, this one’s not a board book, but check it out! Parnassus Books is thrilled to announce that Sandra Boynton will be signing copies of her NEW songbook-and-CD set, Hog Wild, exclusively for Parnassus customers. Order your signed copy here!

 More Picture Books!
Recommended by Ella
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth Cover Image

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth 

This ADORABLE new picture book is a great gift for any young readers who might enjoy vibrant pictures of the Earth and their surroundings.

Recommended by Rae Ann

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) Cover ImageAfter the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) 

This is Humpty Dumpty’s story . . . after the fall. A beautiful new picture book on the journey to getting back up after challenges knock us down.

Recommended by Stephanie

Franklin’s Flying Bookshop Franklin's Flying Bookshop Cover Image

For book-lovers of all ages, this beautifully illustrated book hits all the right notes. Franklin the dragon loves to read, but whenever he tries to share his enthusiasm, all the townspeople are frightened — until he meets Luna, and they hatch a plan to open a very unique bookstore.

Recommended by Stephanie
City Moon Cover Image

City Moon 

A little boy and his mother go on a walk through the city before bedtime to look for the moon. This picture book, with its deep, rich color palette, simple forms, and almost meditative dialogue between mother and child, is perfect for the quiet hush of bedtime.

Recommended by Stephanie

I'm Afraid Your Teddy Is in Trouble Today Cover ImageI’m Afraid Your Teddy Is in Trouble Today 

After you went to school, it seems your teddy got a hold of your phone and invited all his friends over to your house. What happened next has to be seen to be believed. This charming story is perfect for anyone who’s ever found themselves in a bit of trouble … or anyone who’s had to clean up after someone else’s bit of trouble.

Recommended by Stephanie

Claudia & Moth Cover ImageClaudia & Moth 

Claudia is a little girl with a big imagination who loves to paint butterflies. But when winter comes, the butterflies fly south. What will Claudia paint now? Jennifer Hansen Rolli’s oil illustrations brim with life, color, and creativity. I wish I could hang one of Claudia’s beautiful butterfly paintings on my wall!

Recommended by Stephanie

Blue Ethel Cover ImageBlue Ethel

Ethel the cat is old, fat, black, white, and VERY set in her ways, until one day, while going about her daily routine, she unwittingly rolls in some blue sidewalk chalk. Poor Ethel! She feels very blue until her friend Fluffy helps her realize that sometimes a change in routine can be a good thing. Jennifer Black Reinhardt’s ink and pen illustrations exude charm, color, and personality. Blue Ethel is a sweet ode to friendship and the joy of trying new things.

Recommended by Stephanie

Pup and Bear Cover ImagePup and Bear 

One of the most beautiful books of the year, Pup and Bear is the story of a wolf pup who gets separated from his pack and is adopted by a polar bear. “I am not your mother,” she tells him, “but I can cuddle you and keep you safe.” Naoko Stoop’s gentle washes of color evoke the wintry arctic landscape, and every word of Kate Banks’ spare yet lyrical text is perfect.

Recommended by Stephanie

Emma and the Whale Cover ImageEmma and the Whale

Emma and her dog, Nemo, live by the sea. One day, while walking along the beach, they come upon a young beached whale. This quiet story of kindness and bravery, illustrated with wistful watercolors, is delicate and lovely.

Recommended by Stephanie

Baabwaa and Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship Cover ImageBaabwaa and Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship 

Do me a favor. Say the title of this book out loud. Go on. Do it. I’ll wait. Wasn’t that . . . kind of fun? If you thought that was fun, wait till you get to the story inside this book, a story about two unusually literate sheep and one unexpected wolf. Charming, witty, and a bit oddball, Baabwaa & Wooliam is perfect for sharing with picture book readers who can hang with a longer story.

Recommended by Stephanie

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse Cover ImageThe Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse 

Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen are geniuses. If you want to try to disagree with me, first you have to read this book out loud to at least one child without either of you giggling, chortling, guffawing, or cackling. Go on. I dare you. Yeah, I didn’t think so. Now get a copy of this book for every kid — and kid at heart — on your list.

Recommended by Stephanie

Pandora Cover ImagePandora 

“Pandora lived alone, in a land of broken things.” So begins this tale of unexpected friendship and hope. I love the contrast between Victoria Turnbull’s spare, restrained text and her lush, detailed illustrations. For anyone looking for a story about the power of something small to transform the world, Pandora is the book for you.

Recommended by Stephanie

Someday, Narwhal Cover ImageSomeday, Narwhal 

If you have ever wanted a tiny narwhal small enough to live in a fishbowl, boy do I have the book for you! If you have not ever wanted a tiny narwhal small enough to live in a fishbowl, I mean, why wouldn’t you want a tiny narwhal small enough to live in a fishbowl?

Recommended by Jackie

Come with Me Cover ImageCome with Me 

Sometimes news of the world can be scary and overwhelming, but even something as simple going for a walk in your neighborhood can diminish fear and spread love. Great for concerned young children.

Recommended by Stephanie

Triangle Cover ImageTriangle 

Who knew that a story about triangles and squares could be so entertaining and hilarious? Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, that’s who. I heard a rumor that they were going to write another story about Square and a third about Circle. We should be so lucky.

Recommended by Stephanie

Pax and Blue Cover ImagePax and Blue 

This sweet, simple story about a boy named Pax and his friend Blue, a pigeon, touches on themes of empathy, kindness, and friendship. I loved every page.

Recommended by Stephanie

Giraffes Ruin Everything Giraffes Ruin Everything Cover Image

Heidi Schulz presents several convincing arguments about the ruin that can befall a birthday party, a trip to the movies, and a day at the park when giraffes get involved, in this sly and witty picture book. When sharing with young readers, ask them to describe how they think the giraffe feels on each page, and give your empathy muscles a workout.

Recommended by Stephanie

Super Manny Stands Up! Cover ImageSuper Manny Stands Up!

Grown-ups will probably not be able to get through this without wiping away a tear, but young readers will see themselves in Super Manny, a young raccoon who finds the strength and courage in himself to help someone in need stand up to a bully. I’d like to see a copy of this on the shelf of every bedroom, classroom, and library.

Recommended by Stephanie

Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List Cover ImageStay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List 

Words do not exist to capture the perfection of this book, which is — in every carefully chosen word, every delicate stroke of the paintbrush, and in the marriage of those two things to tell a beautiful story of the love between a girl and her dog — an absolute masterpiece. So instead, I’ll paraphrase its dedication: This is a book for anyone who’s ever loved a dog, and for any dog who’s ever loved a person.

Recommended by Stephanie

Someone Like Me Cover ImageSomeone Like Me 

You know the kid: They love nestling into your side for hours as you turn the pages together. They beg for one more story, not as a bedtime delaying tactic, but because they can’t get enough of “once upon a time” and “happily ever after.” They can’t wait to unlock the secrets inside the covers for themselves. This is the book for them.

Recommended by Stephanie

How It Feels to Be a Boat Cover ImageHow It Feels to Be a Boat 

There are plenty of picture books about boats, but there are not many picture books about boats in which the boat is an extended metaphor for the self. But for anyone who’s run against the rocks this year, How It Feels to Be a Boat has a reminder so beautifully expressed, it took my breath away the first time I read it: “Remember, you are strong, and piece by crooked piece you are made.”

Recommended by Stephanie

I Love You Like a Pig Cover ImageI Love You Like a Pig 

There are lots of ways to say I love you. Flowers, chocolates, gifts, a kiss on the cheek, a hug right when a hug is needed. Might I suggest an alternative? Mac Barnett’s sweet, no-nonsense picture book, illustrated with Greg Pizzoli’s signature style. Don’t forget to oink on the oinking pages. I love this book like a pig.

Recommended by Stephanie

Yo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His Daughter Cover ImageYo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter 

The text of this picture book is as beautiful as the most beautiful poem you have ever read, and when combined with Mehrdokht Amini’s stunning illustrations, well, this is a picture book to take your breath away. “Our prayers were here before any borders were,” speaks the voice of the narrator to his child. Incredible.

Recommended by Stephanie

Town Is by the Sea Cover ImageTown Is by the Sea 

You’re going to be hearing a lot about this book in the coming months, I think. It’s already been named to several year-end best-of lists, and I hear murmerings from my librarian friends about the potential for a certain picture book award. All of the buzz is well-deserved: This glimpse into an ordinary day seen through the eyes of a child is exquisitely narrated and illustrated, with not a hint of sentimentality.

Recommended by Stephanie

Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure Cover Image

I cannot read this story about a chicken who gets swept up into a rather grand adventure but never gets swept away by fear of the unknown without smiling. The perfect gift for anyone who needs a little bit of Peggy in their life.

 Chapter Books for Beginning Independent Readers
Recommended by Katherine 

Wallace and Grace Take the Case Cover ImageWallace and Grace (multiple books)

For chapter book readers who can’t get enough of Mercy Watson and the Princess in Black, meet detective owls Wallace and Grace — and get ready to solve some mysteries! (Click the title above to see the whole series.)

Recommended by Stephanie

Princess Cora and the Crocodile Cover ImagePrincess Cora and the Crocodile 

Laura Amy Schlitz is a Newbery Medalist. Brian Floca won the Caldecott. Together, they have created the perfect book for beginning readers, the story of an over-scheduled princess and a wickedly hilarious crocodile.

Recommended by Stephanie

Charlie & Mouse Cover ImageCharlie & Mouse 

Every word of this book (and its follow-up, Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy) is warm, funny, and wonderful. This is the perfect book for readers transitioning to chapter books — and their parents, who will find much to smile about in Snyder’s sly humor.

For Older Independent Readers / Middle-Grade Book-Lovers
Recommended by Stephanie

The Losers Club Cover ImageThe Losers Club 

Andrew Clements has a lot of fans around these parts, judging by how many young readers have picked up a copy of Frindle here. They’ll be delighted to know his new book is a funny, heartwarming story about the power of reading and friendship.

Recommended by Grace

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow Cover ImageNevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow 

For the child or adult waiting on their Hogwarts letter and exploring the back of wardrobes: I’m adding my voice to the chorus of praise for this incredible book. Nevermoor was my favorite read of the year across the board. It has a uniquely delightful, magical quality and is sure to become beloved for generations.

Recommended by Grace

Newsprints Cover ImageNewsprints (Graphic Novel)

A delightful graphic novel for the young reader in your life. Newsprints is a fantastic combination of thrilling, darling, and heart-filling. Howl’s Moving Castle meets the Newsies!

Recommended by Stephanie

The Wonderling Cover ImageThe Wonderling 

Imaginative and lyrically written, The Wonderling is a fabulous fantasy adventure full of memorable characters, surprising twists, and gorgeous illustrative flourishes. The best fantasies have hearts of truth, and the truths of The Wonderling — that kindness is never wasted, that friends are always nearby if we know where to look, and that hope is never truly lost — feel both revelatory and timeless. Perfect for fans of Kate DiCamillo, Natalie Lloyd, and Brian Jacques.

 Nonfiction Favorites
Recommended by Jackie

The Big Earth Book Cover ImageThe Big Earth Book 

A fantastic book from Lonely Planet about all things related to our planet. Divided into chapters based on earth, air, fire, and water, this book is full of interesting facts, drawings, maps, and diagrams.

Recommended by Jackie

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World Cover ImageWomen in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World 

One-page biographies on 50 interesting and important scientists. I wish I could have read this book when I was in elementary school!

 Young Adult
Recommended by Halley

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) Cover ImageThe Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) 

A new classic for readers of any age with a love for all things magical.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Salt to the Sea Cover ImageSalt to the Sea 

This WWII story of four refugees whose paths converge on a doomed ship is perfect for teens and adults. Now out in paperback. We have signed copies!

Recommended by Stephanie

An Enchantment of Ravens Cover ImageAn Enchantment of Ravens 

Hands-down one of the most satisfying fantasy novels I’ve read all year. If you love tricky fair folk, witty banter, and the smell of autumn leaves crunching beneath your feet, this is the book for you.

Recommended by Stephanie

All the Crooked Saints Cover ImageAll the Crooked Saints 

Maggie Stiefvater is a master storyteller, and her newest book is breathtakingly gorgeous. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a new reader, this lyrical tale of love and darkness, signed by the author, is a must-have.

Recommended by Stephanie

American Street Cover ImageAmerican Street 

One of the great joys of 2017 has been seeing the rest of the reading world discover Ibi Zoboi’s incredible novel. It’s now a National Book Award Finalist, a Publisher’s Weekly and School Library Best Book of 2017, and the recipient of five starred reviews. When we selected it for ParnassusNext, our YA subscription box, we told readers that it was YA at its very best. Looks like everyone agreed with us.


ParnassusNext: Because Teens Want Autographed Books, Not Itchy Sweaters

This special delivery is for the teen or YA fan who loves to read, who knows exactly how many days left until the next book in their favorite series comes out, and who follows authors like rock stars on social media. It’s our monthly subscription box, curated by our YA experts. Always a first-edition hardcover new release. Always signed, straight from the author’s hands to the reader’s. Select the subscription of your choice — $75 for 3 months; $150 for 6 months; $300 for a full year of books; or choose to be billed monthly — then let us know who it’s going to, and we’ll take care of the rest. Shipping’s included when you sign up!

Three Sides of a Heart: Stories about Love Triangles Cover ImageThree Sides of a Heart: Stories about Love Triangles 

Purchasing a subscription this holiday season? Our December selection, the fabulous Three Sides of a Heart, will ship in time to arrive by December 23, making it perfect for gift-giving. Each story in this collection offers a different take on the concept of the much-maligned love triangle, by a who’s who of YA writers.

Games / Puzzles / Bookish Gifts
Recommended by Rae Ann

Sudoku Puzzles for Recess Cover ImageSudoku Puzzles for Recess 

I enjoy a daily Sudoku puzzle. Grab a book for a car trip or downtime during school holidays. (Word search and crossword puzzles available too!)

Come check out our selection of book-character plush toys, too!
Icon_Audiobook-1b7d4e38cf3b6fdb187ab41d2546577def18c4a7b5f879ed9cea13e38f120922.pngDo you read with your ears?

Give your family the gift of — the audiobook app that supports indie bookstores! Find our audiobook store online at and download the app. Even better: spring for the membership. Your first month is 99 cents, and after that you get an audiobook every month for $14.99 — with additional audiobooks 30% off! Choose from 70,000 audiobooks including indie picks and bestsellers. You’ll have oodles of awesome stories ready for roadtrips!

Come visit and let us help you find the perfect books for everyone on your list. Or if you’re not in Nashville, let us ship to you or your loved ones! Here’s how:

  • Just click any title above to read more about it and toss it into your online cart.
  • If you’d like us to gift-wrap it for FREE, write “wrapped” in the notes section on the checkout screen.
  • If you want to make sure your packages get to you or your recipients before Christmas, select PRIORITY MAIL and place your order as soon as possible, or at least BEFORE WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at or give us a buzz by phone at (615) 953-2243.

PS: Looking for the best gifts for grownups? Check out part one of our big gift list — fiction and nonfiction favorites for adults!