Books make great last-minute holiday gifts

These titles are sure to please kids, grandchildren, or nieces and nephews on your Christmas list.

For babies and toddlers, board books like “Number Work 1-2-3” and “Letter Work O-B-J” by Bobby and June George are great concept books to help your little ones learn to count up to 10 and recognize letters of the alphabet. The texture on the numbers and letters will appeal to 1 and 2 year olds. Tracing the numerals and letters is a great way for little ones to learn pre-literacy skills. I love the larger format board book “Everywhere Babies” by Susan Meyers, illustrated by Marla Frazee. It is a loving and realistic portrayal of all kinds of human babies sleeping, eating, playing, making noises, crawling and walking.

For 3 to 6 year olds, some favorite new picture books are: “Bear Has a Story to Tell” by Philip C. Snead, illustrated by his wife, Erin E. Snead, who won the Caldecott Award for her pictures in their book, “A Sick Day for Amos McGee.” This is a beautiful book about a helpful bear who wants to share a story with his animal friends before winter sets in.

For children practicing their beginning reading skills, consider the zany “There’s a Fly Guy in My Soup” by Tedd Arnold and the endearing “Penny and Her Doll” by Kevin Henkes, both highly recommended for the kindergarten through second grade crowd.

A new book of seasonal nature poetry, “Outside Your Window” by children’s author and biologist Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld, makes a great gift. Kids who love to build with LEGO will devour the new “LEGO Book” by Daniel Lipkowitz.

Two chapter books in a series’ that girls will enjoy are “Piper Reed Forever Friend” by Kimberly Willis Holt, which is about friendship and moving. The newest Amber Brown story deals with her mom’s remarriage in “Amber Brown is Tickled Pink” by Paula Danziger’s close friends, Bruce Coville and Elizabeth Levy, written seamlessly after the original author’s death.

A chapter book that will especially appeal to boys is the newest in the Jeff Kinney series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel.” Another great gift for boys is Mike Lupica’s “True Legend,” for older sports readers. Consider giving any of these books to children on your gift list.

Katherine Habley is a librarian in the Iowa City Public Library’s children’s services department.

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