Books

Favorite gift books for kids this year

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As both an aunt and librarian, I’m constantly on the lookout for the best books to give to my nieces and nephew. Spring and summer birthdays, returning from my travels, Christmastime; all are occasions for another book or two from Aunt Morgan. I especially love giving new books, as I can guarantee it will be a story unheard by them — until I give in to the insistent requests for story time as soon as the wrapping paper is off.

I hope the little and not-so-little ones in your life enjoy these favorites of mine from this past year.

For the youngest bookworms, pick up any one of the lift the flap offerings from Ingela P. Arrhenius and Nosy Crow. I like “Where’s the Zebra?” in particular, for the contrasting colors. “Opposites” books by Erica Donner include real photos as well as simple concept text, both of which aid in early literacy.

For those read-aloud picture book aficionados, pick up one of these titles. “A Big Mooncake for Little Star” by Grace Lin is one of my favorites for the Caldecott Medal. The true to life difficulty of waiting to eat a treat is beautifully brought to life on the night black pages. “Stop that Yawn!” by Caron Levis walks the line between silly and cozy bedtime story perfectly.

Newly independent readers will devour “Peanut Butter and Jelly” the newest title in Ben Clanton’s very funny Narwhal & Jelly series. The new Princess Pulverizer series by Nancy Krulik starts off with “Grilled Cheese and Dragons,” which is sure to whet the appetites of new readers.

Tweens reading longer novels will find relatable friendship quandaries in “The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl” by Stacy McAnulty as a genius with numbers tries to figure out people. Puzzle fans and history buffs alike will love my current favorite for the Newbery Medal, “The Parker Inheritance” by Varian Johnson.

Check out all of the gift book ideas and more out at the Iowa City Public Library.

l Morgan Reeves is the children’s librarian at the Iowa City Public Library.

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