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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Shhh! Kid and Teen Book Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Which books are you gifting this holiday season?

This is my fourth book gift list of the season, and I hope the ideas on the site will help you with ideas for beautiful book gifts for anyone on your list! The gift idea lists I've already posted this year can be found here:

And for even more ideas, check out my past book gift guides on the site!


01 Games of Deception by Andrew Maraniss

In Maraniss's nonfiction Games of Deception, published earlier this year, the author explores the story of the first-ever United States Olympic basketball team, which played at the 1936 Olympics--in Hitler's Germany.

The athletes and their fellow competitors were greeted by a carefully constructed façade of peace and prosperity in Berlin, but cracks were evident to many who were alert to hints of the horrifying truth.

Maraniss shares details of the time, explains the complicated economic, political, and social forces at work, and offers an intriguing account of this fraught moment in time, using carefully researched information to bring to life the story as seen through the lens of our US men's team experience.


02 Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott

In this young adult novel (ages 12 to 16) that's one of my current reads--and published by my favorite publisher for young people, Peachtree Publishing--Rebecca Elliott offers an irresistible heroine in Haylah Swinton.

Haylah is an excellent friend, she's patient with her incredibly frustrating four-year-old brother, and she's learned to make light of everything from cracks about her plus-sized figure to her mother's new boyfriend.

She also has a big secret: she's going to be a stand-up comedian when she grows up. When cool Leo at school reveals that he's into comedy too, Haylah jumps at the chance to write material for his sets--and, against her friends' advice, she sets her sights on him romantically too. The situation may lead to personal and career frustration--and maybe heartbreak.

The next book in this series is Pretty Rude for a Girl. Elliott is also the author of the Owl Diaries series and over twenty picture books.


03 Subpar Parks: America's Most Extraordinary National Parks and Their Least Impressed Visitors by Amber Share

If you've missed the hilarious Subpar Parks phenomenon, it may be time to get on board. In this book, Amber Share offers illustrations of scenes from our nation's majestic national parks, accompanied by the text of real-life one-star reviews left by disappointed or disgruntled visitors who frequently miss the parks' glorious beauty--and the point of immersing yourself in nature--altogether.

You can also buy posters and postcards of your favorites--in our laundry room we have a poster of a grumpy Yosemite review that always makes me laugh ("Trees block view and there are too many rocks") .


04 The Complete Cookbook for Young Scientists by America's Test Kitchen

I've mentioned cookbooks for kids in prior gift lists, but this book combines a couple of things I love for a young person: America Test Kitchen's tested recipes and sciiiiiience!

Why does popcorn pop? What is umami and how does it work? What's the difference between cooking with egg whites and egg yolks? Why do some cheeses melt better than others? This cookbook offers doable and fun science experiments and interesting facts to train a budding young chef in the "why" of cooking--as well as kid-friendly recipes to deliciously illustrate key points.


05 Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

Are any kids on your gift list at the age where "the new Rick Riordan book" is a slam-dunk idea? If so, this fall's Daughter of the Deep from this prolific author may need to go on the shopping list.

Riordan's modern take on Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea offers up his signature fast-paced adventure and formidable young protagonists, plus tragedy, self-reflection, looming danger, and teamwork that's sure to overwhelm the bad guys.


06 Do Your Laundry or You'll Die Alone by Becky Blades

I'll admit I'm a sucker for a practical book couched in terms that increase the likelihood of its being read. And this ominous title might just be the impetus a teen needs to learn how-to tips about living life. Blades presents her mainly simple, straightforward, lighthearted ideas with humor and heart.

This is a version of the "book" Blades made for her daughter upon her departure for college, making it a great gift to consider for graduation as well.


A Bossy book-buying suggestion: If you're buying books this holiday season, please support your local independent bookstore. They need and appreciate our business now more than ever! My local favorite is Park Road Books, and their smarty staff can get you the books you want--or recommend many wonderful books you might not have considered!

Clicking on the book covers beside each Bossy Bookworm blurb will link you to Bookshop, a site that supports the beloved indies that keep readers swimming in thoughtful book recommendations and excellent customer service all year round.


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