Season’s Readings: Gift Guide No. 2

Welcome back, bookish holiday shoppers! For Part 2 of our Gift Guide, we turned our attention to readers who are young and/or young at heart. If you don’t read children’s or young adult literature, those sections of a bookstore can feel rather daunting. There are SO many choices, but which books are right for the young readers on your list? Fear not, for our expert children’s and young adult booksellers have put together a list of gift-worthy titles for you! Some are brand new and some are favorites from earlier this year, but take our word for it; they’re all certified winners.

Recommended by Chelsea

Knight Owl By Christopher Denise Cover ImageKnight Owl

Owl has always wanted to be a knight. When he is assigned to the Knight Night Watch, he encounters more than the bargained for! This richly illustrated story reads like an instant classic with a perfect balance of whimsy and bravery.

Recommended by Aly

I Want to Be a Vase By Julio Torres, Julian Glander (Illustrator) Cover ImageI Want to Be a Vase

By Julio TorresJulian Glander (Illustrator)

This plunger wants to be a vase. Soon everyone in the house is figuring out what they truly want to be! Hilarious and heartwarming, I love this beautiful book

Recommended by Katie

So Much Snow By Hyunmin Park Cover ImageSo Much Snow

This book blew me away as I turned the page. What I thought I was looking at became so different. Perspective is everything and this lovely book is a joy for you and the small person in your life. You’ll be dreaming of your own epic snowfall

Recommended by Chelsea

Don't Worry, Murray By David Ezra Stein, David Ezra Stein (Illustrator) Cover ImageDon’t Worry, Murray

Murray is scared of much of the world, but he learns that a little step can make him brave. Murray is an adorable, relatable character that will inspire readers to take a look at their own fears and the small actions we can take against them.

Recommended by Katie

Cozy in Love By Jan Brett, Jan Brett (Illustrator) Cover ImageCozy in Love

By Jan Brett

I think it’s safe to say that we are all cozy in love with Jan Brett. Her newest picture is a lovely addition to any kiddo’s book shelf this year. Cozy, the musk ox might just be my favorite reluctant hero.

Recommended by Sarah

Sylvie By Jean Reidy, Lucy Ruth Cummins (Illustrator) Cover ImageSylvie

By Jean ReidyLucy Ruth Cummins (Illustrator)

From the creators of Truman comes another delightful book about taking risks and stepping into the spotlight to bring joy to those around you.

Recommended by Rae Ann

The Marvellers (Marvellerverse #1) By Dhonielle Clayton, Khadijah Khatib (Illustrator) Cover ImageThe Marvellers (Marvellerverse #1)

By Dhonielle ClaytonKhadijah Khatib (Illustrator)

This unique story of a magic school in the sky is sure to delight middle grade fantasy readers. The fun details of the world, the characters, and their gifts spring to life on the page.

Recommended by Katie

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Interactive (MinaLima Edition): (Illustrated with Interactive Elements) By L. Frank Baum Cover ImageThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz Interactive (MinaLima Edition)

This book makes the perfect first chapter book to read with your child or grandchild. MinaLima has beautiful unabridged versions of many childhood favorites that are lavishly illustrated and also include pop-up features. This book will stay on their shelf for a long time.

Recommended by Chelsea

The Vanquishers By Kalynn Bayron Cover ImageThe Vanquishers

Boog loves to hear the stories of the Vanquishers, a group of vampire hunters who wiped out the last coven in San Antonio years ago. When the new kid Aaron goes missing, Boog and her crew realize that vampires may not be a relic of the past. An adventure story with just enough eerie details, Bayron’s middle grade debut explores friendship, family, and the cost of protecting those we love. A spooky and sweet read.

Recommended by Aly

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor By Xiran Jay Zhao Cover ImageZachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor

It’s hard enough being different when you’re 12 years old, but even harder when your ancestor who happens to be the first emperor of China takes over your videogame headset. Zack Ying is thrust into the history lesson of his life he never expected and takes off on a grand journey to save his mom and, maybe, the world.

Recommended by Sissy

Billion Dollar Girl By Megan Shull Cover ImageBillion Dollar Girl

The Swap by Shull is my favorite middle grade rec, and this book is SO different BUT – I could not put it down. A terrible day in a suburban middle school leads to a wild adventure on the coast in the Pacific Northwest. I did not want to leave Great Bear Island. Girl-power vibes.

Recommended by Katie

My Aunt Is a Monster: (A Graphic Novel) By Reimena Yee Cover ImageMy Aunt Is a Monster: (A Graphic Novel)

Safia might not be able to see the world but that doesn’t mean she can’t have an epic adventure. This is a deliciously weird contemporary fantasy graphic novel. I read it in one sitting and am totally obsessed.

Recommended by Chelsea

A Scatter of Light By Malinda Lo Cover ImageA Scatter of Light

The summer of 2013 is a big one for both the United States (with California legalizing gay marriage) and Aria, though it is not going according to her plan. Instead of spending it with friends, she is sent to live with her artist grandmother. The friends Aria makes that summer change her life’s trajectory. This is a beautiful, heartbreaking novel that perfectly captures the exploratory growth that is adolescence.

Recommended by Rae Ann

Violet Made of Thorns By Gina Chen Cover ImageViolet Made of Thorns

By Gina Chen

Violet Lune is brought to the kingdom and anointed as a Seer. She lives by her wits presiding in her tower, even if that means lying to the royals and their subjects. There is a thin line between love and deception in this dark fantasy.

Recommended by Chelsea

Whiteout: A Novel By Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, Nicola Yoon Cover ImageWhiteout: A Novel

Another collab among some of my favorite authors writing on Black love, joy, and queerness. Set against a sudden snowfall in Atlanta, these interconnected stories focus around one grand gesture to win back a first love. I dare you to read these sweet tales full of the best romance tropes and not feel your heart grow two sizes.

Recommended by Katie

The Dragon's Promise (Six Crimson Cranes #2) By Elizabeth Lim Cover ImageThe Dragon’s Promise (Six Crimson Cranes #2)

In a world that constantly wants to make us wait for a many-booked series to be complete, I cannot overstate how much I appreciate a duology. I loved reconnecting with Princess Shiori and her sweet paper bird best friend as they attempt to honor her step-mother’s dying wish and return the dragon’s pearl to it’s rightful place. Grab this duology for the dragon obsessed young person in your life.

Recommended by Aly

Flip the Script By Lyla Lee Cover ImageFlip the Script

By Lyla Lee

Up-and-coming KDrama star, Hana, finds more than she bargains for when she agrees to a staged romance with her co-lead. However, it’s not the incredibly famous boy band member who catches her eye…

Still not sure what to get? Let us choose!

With a subscription box membership, our expert booksellers pick one fantastic book each month and ship it to your doorstep. Scroll down to learn more about Sprout, Spark, and ParnassusNext! (And perhaps keep an eye on our social media for a special offer for new signups coming soon…)

Sprout Book Club: December Selection

Snow Horses: A First Night Story By Patricia MacLachlan, Micha Archer (Illustrator) Cover ImageSnow Horses: A First Night Story

By Patricia MacLachlanMicha Archer (Illustrator)

The December 2022 Sprout Book Club selection is Snow Horses: A First Night Story by Patricia MacLachlan and Micha Archer.

Tim and Tom are snow horses. When Jenny harnesses them to a festive sleigh on New Year’s Eve, they celebrate with the town as they prepare to enter a new year. The text paired with beautiful paper cut collage illustrations is a wondrous celebration of the season.

Early praise for the book:

“A quiet, deeply satisfying celebration of the turn of the year and the joy of community.” – Kirkus starred review

Sprout Book Club is the book subscription box for picture book lovers. Every month members will receive a first edition picture book. Set up a subscription for yourself or buy a gift membership for your favorite picture book lover for 3, 6, or 12 months. 

Spark Book Club: December Selection

Futureland: Battle for the Park By H.D. Hunter, Khadijah Khatib (Illustrator) Cover ImageFutureland: Battle for the Park

By H.D. HunterKhadijah Khatib (Illustrator)

The December 2022 Spark Book Club selection is Futureland: Battle for the Park by H. D. Hunter, with illustrations by Khadijah Khatib.

Cam Walker has always lived in Futureland, the flying theme park his parents invented. When the park arrives in Atlanta, things begin to go wrong. Attractions are glitching, including his robot best friend, and kids are missing from the park. Cam teams up with his new friends to find the missing kids and stop the villains who are trying to take over the park in this fun adventure novel.

Early Sparks for the novel:

“An imaginative and ambitious not-so-distant future tale with a lot to say about the present.” –Kirkus

“Hunter’s debut foregrounds futuristic tech and themes about the value of charting one’s own path, creating an exhilarating mystery.” —Publishers Weekly

Spark Book Club is the first editions club for middle grade readersEvery month members will receive a first edition middle grade novel — plus a letter written by the author especially for club members. Makes a great gift for the independent reader! Sign ups are available for 3, 6, or 12 months.

ParnassusNext: December Selection

A Wilderness of Stars By Shea Ernshaw Cover ImageA Wilderness of Stars

By Shea Ernshaw

The December 2022 ParnassusNext selection is A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw.

Vega has always lived in the valley, warned by her mother of the dangers beyond its borders. After her mother’s death, Vega becomes the Last Astronomer, the only person with the true knowledge of the stars. When she encounters a dangerous illness spreading among the people, she must keep her identity secret. New friends help her on a journey where Vega is targeted as either the cause or cure of the illness. This atmospheric fantasy with a slow burn romance is a captivating read.

Early praise for the novel:

“Mystery and romance unfurl at an unhurried clip, and Vega’s absorbing first-person narration lends immediacy to this existential tale, which evokes an old western feel and hints at a larger potential world.” – Publisher’s Weekly

ParnassusNext is the book subscription box for YA lovers. Every member of ParnassusNext receives a first edition hardcover of each month’s selected book, signed by the author. There is no membership fee to join — and no line to stand in for the autograph. Not only will you have one of the best YA books of the month when it comes out, you’ll have it straight from the author’s hands, with an original, authentic signature! Set up a subscription for yourself or buy a gift membership for your favorite YA reader for 3, 6, or 12 months.