The Best Books for Every Child on Your Holiday Gift List

By Christina Lorey
November 7, 2022

Still searching for the perfect holiday gift? Books are affordable, personal, AND memorable. We asked the “experts” for their favorites to give kids of ANY age!

“Books shouldn’t be daunting. They should be funny, exciting, and wonderful,” award-winning children’s author Roald Dahl once said. 

We asked the “experts,” the minds behind the Madison Reading Project, to share their favorites for every age group!

For New Parents & Babies…

A Girl Like You and A Boy Like You
Frank Murphy
These companion books poke holes in traditional gender stereotypes while being hopeful about who a child can grow up to be!

I’ll Build You A Bookcase
Jean Ciborowski Fahey
This bilingual book shows babies and their parents working together to build at-home libraries that help them discover the joy of reading.

Love You Head to Toe
Ashley Barron
This sweet book compares human babies to animal babies, showing just how similar they are!

Patricia Hegarty
 Perfect for anyone with a bedtime, this book is all about the contagiousness of a yawn and includes fun, cut-out pages and a cast of characters that are all different places, like on a ship, farm, or in outer space.

For Beginning Readers…

Astrid and Apollo
V.T. Bidania
A great series featuring a pair of Hmong-American twins that enjoy exploring and adventuring together

Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us
Lauren Castillo
Children who just started reading chapter books will love this stand-alone book that feels like a modern magical version of Winnie the Pooh.

Zapato Power
Jacqueline Jules
This series tells the story of Freddie Ramos, just an ordinary neighborhood kid who discovers new powers and finds ways to use them for good.

For Middle Grade Readers…

The First Rule of Punk
Celia C. Perez
A story of a Mexican American girl embracing her identity through the lens of punk music is a great pick for kids who are uniquely themselves!

The Track Series
Jason Reynolds
An instant-favorite among sports-loving young adults, the series tackles life lessons and personal hardships over the backdrop of a competitive middle school track team.

For Young Adults…

A Pho Love Story
Loan Le
A heartwarming novel about Bao and Lihn, two high school students struggling to figure out who they are while trapped in the middle of their families’ restaurant feud.

The Poet X
Elizabeth Acevedo
Written in verse, this novel follows a young girl who discovers slam poetry as a way to cope with the world around her.

Tristan Strong Destroys the World
Kwame Mbalia
This fantasy novel bridges the real world and the mystical one as Tristan leaves his life in Chicago for Alke, a land of folk heroes and African gods.

Click here for more book recommendations from Wisconsin authors!


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

CATEGORIES: Uncategorized


Local News

Related Stories
Share This