The 2012 Holiday Book Guide for the Kid on Your List

File Gift Wrapping.

When you give a child or a teen a book, you are creating a memory that will last a lifetime. What’s more, reading offers so many options.

Are you trying to find a book for an early reader? Choose a picture book or a Great Beginner Read from the list below. Does your grandchild love nonfiction? Take a look at the Great Family Reads section. Has your niece read every book known to man? There are some brand new books on this list that she may not have seen yet. Do you struggle to find just the right book to entice your child to read? These selections are sure kid-pleasers that will meet any interest.

The ReadKiddoRead holiday gift list has something for everyone: realistic fiction, science fiction, and nonfiction; animal stories, mythology and adventures; sad stories and stories that will make your kids laugh out loud. 

So browse our list. We promise that each book is one that children and teens will want to read and then share with their friends. And then read again. These are keepers!                                                                  

Great Family Reads

“National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry”

200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!

Compiled by J. Patrick Lewis

Stunning photographs combine with wonderful poems to create a family treasure for all to share. Travel around the world and learn about all kinds of animals in the process.

“100 People Who Made History”

Meet the People Who Shaped the Modern World

By Ben Gilliland

Take a look at scientists, athletes and artists, among others whose actions shaped the world we know. From Aristotle to Pele. From Elvis to Einstein, these brief biographies entertain and inform at the same time. Fun to use as a reference or to pick up and browse.

“Treasury of Greek Mythology”

Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters

By Donna Jo Napoli

The past five years have brought us a variety of stories based on mythology, from “Percy Jackson and The Olympians” to “The Cronus Chronicles.” This gorgeous volume retells the classic stories that have inspired these tales. 

Picture Books

“Dragons Love Tacos”

By Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

For ages 3-5

Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love parties, too. A dragon’s absolute favorite thing is a taco party. But don’t include any spicy salsa, or the fireworks will begin! Full of deadpan illustrations and lots of humor, this is a book parents will be happy to read over and over again.

“This is Not My Hat”

By Jon Klassen

For ages 4 – 8

“This hat is not mine. I just stole it,” proclaims the minnow as he swims away with a charming grey bowler hat. He’s certain the large, sluggish fish who owns the hat will not miss it. Boy, is he mistaken! The large fish notices and speedily pursues his hat, with entertainingly predictable results. Children will enjoy reading this independently or with an adult and picking out their favorite characters along the way.


Great Beginner Reads

“Bink & Gollie: Two for One”

By Kate DiCamillo & Alison McGhee; illustrated by Tony Fucile

For ages 6-8

Bink and Gollie are headed to the state fair. Bink would love to win the World’s Largest Donut at the Whack-a-Duck game and Gollie tries her hand at the talent show. Not all goes well, but readers are sure to agree that sometimes, a friend is all you need.

Jack Stalwart series

By Elizabeth Singer Hunt

For ages 7-9

Meet Jack Stalwart. He’s your average 9-year-old boy, except he’s also a secret agent, trying to find his missing brother. In each book, he travels to a different country, protecting a different national treasure. Kids will love the action-packed adventures and, without even noticing, they’ll pick up the facts and foreign languages cleverly slipped into each book.

Great Pageturners

“The One and Only Ivan”

By Katherine Applegate

For ages 8-12

This is the story of Ivan, a silverback gorilla who lives in a tiny zoo in a strip mall.  One day a baby elephant, Ruby, arrives, and Ivan promises to take care of her. He gradually realizes that life in this cramped, dirty zoo is no place for Ruby, and he schemes for her release. 

“Joshua Dread”

By Lee Bacon

For ages 8-12

Joshua Dread is having a rough year in middle school. Bullies pick on him, and he seems to be causing pencils to explode, leaving burning handprints in his wake.  To top it off? The supervillians – The Dread Duo – are his parents, and they’re trying to destroy the world. Fast-paced action and a very clever storyline will appeal to both boys and girls.

“Big Nate All Work and No Play: A Collection of Sundays”

By Lincoln Peirce

For ages 8 and up

Big Nate had his start in newspaper comic strips. Fans of the Big Nate graphic novels will love seeing another side of their favorite character in this collection of more than two years of Sunday comics—all in full color.

“Three Times Lucky”

By Sheila Turnage

For ages 9 and up

Mo (short for Moses) LeBeau washed into town during a hurricane, and for the past 11 years. One day, a detective comes to town, trying to solve a mysterious murder. Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, try to solve the mystery themselves, leading to hilarious situations and some tough realizations as well.  

“One for the Murphys”

By Lynda Mullaly Hunt

For ages 10 and up

When she and her mother are severely beaten by her stepfather, Carley Connors is put into foster care. She resents her foster family for their seemingly perfect life, but slowly finds a connection with them, making plenty of mistakes along the way, but truly wanting to fit in. It’s a simply lovely story.


Great Advanced Reads

“The Mark of Athena”

Heroes of Olympus, Book Three

By Rick Riordan

For ages 10 and up

The third book in the bestselling series continues the story as the demigods try to determine who will be The Prophecy of Seven.

“Colin Fischer”

By Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz

For ages 12 and up

The authors of the screenplays for “Thor” and “X-Men: First Class” tell the story of Colin Fischer, a high school freshman with Asperger’s. When a gun goes off in the school cafeteria, Wayne Connelly, the school thug, is the prime suspect. Colin knows that Wayne is not to blame and sets out to prove his case. 


By James Patterson

For ages 12 and up

The Maximum Ride series that began with The Angel Experiment reaches its conclusion. Max, Fang and Dylan unite one last time in an explosive adventure.

“Eve and Adam”

By Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

For ages 13 and up

When a horrible accident severs her leg, Eve wakes up in the hospital to find her mom, the head of a biotech firm, checking her out and taking her back to the lab. There her leg heals suspiciously fast. Solo, an orderly at the lab who seems to know far more than someone in his position should, forces Eve to realize that all is not as it seems. A fast-moving thriller, told in the alternating voices of Eve and Solo. 


By S.J. Kincaid

For ages 13 and up

Tom Raines spends his days in a futuristic Las Vegas, conning people out of money at reality video games. His skill in video gaming leads to his recruitment to Pentagonal Spire, where he trains to defend the U.S. in space-based battles. The descriptions of Tom’s training are completely engrossing, as is this riveting look into the future.

What are your book suggestions?