Last Minute Book Gift Ideas, as suggested by Smithton PLD Staff Members

Scroll down for suggestions for the following ages.  The links will jump you to that section of the blog post.

Ages Birth to 5 years old

Sneezy the Snowman | Maureen Wright

Summary: A snowman who finds it dreadfully cold keeps doing things that cause him to melt, while the children who rebuild him each time offer clothing to keep him warm.

Jingle Bugs: A Merry Pop-Up Book with Lights and Music |
David A. Carter

Summary: With the help of the reader this pop-up and movable book reveals different bugs hidden under various Christmas items with a nice surprise at the end.

The Christmas Baby | Marion Dane Bauer

Summary: A simple retelling of the Nativity story that celebrates the timeless joy of welcoming a new baby into the world.

Don’t let the Pigeon drive the Bus! | Mo Willems

Summary: No matter how hard he pleads and begs, the pigeon is not supposed to drive the bus while the driver is away, but pigeon tries every persuasive trick a young child knows to get you to say, “Yes.”

I’m Sticking with You | Smriti Prasadan-Halls

Summary: Wherever Squirrel goes, Bear follows. Bear vows to stick with Squirrel no matter what. Squirrel has had enough and tells Bear he needs space — only to realize he has much more fun with his best friend around.

Clifford, the Big Red Dog | Norman Bridwell

Summary: Emily Elizabeth loves her huge dog Clifford even though he is far from perfect.

Poke-a-Dot: Old MacDonald’s Farm

Summary: Once you start popping, there’s just no stopping These fun, tactile books help kids learn to count without losing count! Raised buttons pop in on every page so kids can press them as they count. With ten spreads and 30 poke-able buttons How many animals does Old McDonald have on his farm? Count them all with this one-of-a-kind ‘pop-a-tronic’ book. This poke-able popping dots book lets kids track of how many animals are on each page. It’s a great way to learn to count to 10!

(Description from, linked here)

Ages 6-12

Magic Tree House Deluxe Holiday Edition: Christmas in Camelot| Mary Pope Osborne

Summary: Includes brand-new full color illustrations! Celebrate Christmas with Jack, Annie, and the Magic Tree House with this oversized, gorgeously illustrated deluxe holiday edition from the #1 bestselling chapter book series. When Jack and Annie receive an invitation to spend Christmas Eve in Camelot–a magical place that exists only in myth and fantasy–they know they are in for their biggest adventure yet. What they don’t know is that the invitation will send them on a quest to save Camelot. Can they succeed even though Camelot’s greatest knights have failed?

Wind in the Willows | Kenneth Grahame

Summary: The escapades of four animal friends who live along a river in the English countryside–Toad, Mole, Rat, and Badger. Includes illustrator’s note.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! | Dr. Seuss

Summary: The Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small, hates Who-ville’s holiday celebrations, and plans to steal all the presents to prevent Christmas from coming. To his amazement, Christmas comes anyway, and the Grinch discovers the true meaning of the holiday.

Big Shot (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #16)| Jeff Kinney

Summary: After a disastrous field day competition at school, Greg decides that when it comes to his athletic career, he’s officially retired. But after his mom urges him to give sports one more chance, he reluctantly agrees to sign up for basketball. Tryouts are a mess, and Greg is sure he won’t make the cut. But he unexpectedly lands a spot on the worst team. As Greg and his new teammates start the season, their chances of winning even a single game look slim. But in sports, anything can happen. When everything is on the line and the ball is in Greg’s hands, will he rise to the occasion? Or will he blow his big shot?

James and the Giant Peach | Roald Dahl

Summary: Wonderful adventures abound after James escapes from his fearful aunts by rolling away inside a giant peach.

Grumpy Monkey Freshly Squeezed | Suzanne Lang

Graphic Novel

Summary: Jim Panzee is out for his usual Wednesday walk when he accidentally squishes his stress orange into orange juice. He and his friends must cross the jungle before all of the fresh oranges are gone.

Teens, ages 13-18

The Selection | Kiera Cass

Summary: America Singer is chosen to compete in the Selection–a contest to see which girl can win the heart of Illea’s prince–but all she really wants is a chance for a future with her secret love, Aspen, who is a caste below her.

Note: this is the first of a series. A fun, light read that will have the special teen in your life running to get book #2!

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever | Barbara Robinson

Summary:  The six horrible Herdmans, the worst children in the history of the world, take over the annual Christmas pageant.

The Lake| Natasha Preston

Summary: Seventeen-year-old best friends Esme and Kayla return to Camp Pine Lake as counselors in training, but the dark secret they have been hiding for nine years is back to haunt them. — Esme and Kayla were campers at Camp Pine Lake, and this year they are excited to be back as CITs (counselors in training). But the girls did something bad when they were campers, and have kept it a secret all these years. They’ve moved on, and this summer is going to be great. Two months of sun, s’mores, and flirting with the cute boy counselors. Until they get a note: The lake never forgets. It seems the secret they’ve kept buried for so many years is about to resurface. — adapted from back cover

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone | J, K. Rowling

First in a series. Best read in order.

Summary: Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

One of us is Lying | Karen M. McManus

First in a series.  Second book in series (One of Us is Next) is listed below.  It’s helpful to read this one first.

Summary: When the creator of a high school gossip app mysteriously dies in front of four high-profile students right before he was about to post juicy details about their lives, all four become suspects. If one of them didn’t do it to protect their secret, then that means a killer is on the loose.

One of Us is Next |Karen M. McManus

Second in a series.  Helpful to read “One of Us Is Lying” (see above) first.

Summary: A year after the Bayview four were cleared of Simon Kelleher’s death, a new mystery has cropped up–a game with dangerous consequences that’s targeting students at Bayview again. And if the creator isn’t found soon, dangerous could prove deadly.


The Boy, the Mole, The Fox, and the Horse | Charlie Mackesy 

Summary: This beloved fable, an instant classic, is the perfect graduation gift —from elementary school, high school, college, and beyond! “What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the mole.The Tao of Pooh, The Alchemist, and The Giving Tree, this charmingly designed keepsake will be treasured for generations to come.

The Land Remembers:  The Story of a Farm and Its People |
Ben Logan

Summary: “This classic American memoir is about a farm and its people, of a boyhood on a southwestern Wisconsin hilltop world in the 1930s. Ben Logan grew up on Seldom Seen Farm with his three brothers, father, mother, and hired hand Lyle- the fifth Logan boy. The boys discussed and argued and joked over the events around their farm, marked the seasons by the demands of the land, tested each other and themselves, and grew up learning timeless lessons. This paperback edition features Logan’s never-before-published afterword that traces the Logan land to an earlier time, bringing the story full circle to the farm and its people.” — Provided by publisher.

The Wish| Nicholas Sparks

Summary: 1996 was the year that changed everything for Maggie Dawes. Sent away at sixteen to live with an aunt she barely knew in Ocracoke, a remote village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she could think only of the friends and family she left behind, until she met Bryce Trickett, one of the few teenagers on the island. Bryce showed her how much there was to love about the wind-swept beach town—and introduced her to photography, a passion that would define the rest of her life. By 2019, Maggie is a renowned travel photographer. She splits her time between running a successful gallery in New York and photographing remote locations around the world. But this year she is unexpectedly grounded over Christmas, struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis.

Skipping Christmas | John Grisham

Summary: Imagine a year without Christmas. No crowded malls, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes, no unwanted presents.

Intimacies| Katie Kitamura

Summary: An interpreter has come to The Hague to escape New York and work at the International Court. Her lover, Adriaan, is separated from his wife but still entangled in his marriage. Her friend Jana witnesses a seemingly random act of violence, a crime the interpreter becomes increasingly obsessed with as she befriends the victim’s sister. And she’s pulled into explosive political fires: her work interpreting for a former president accused of war crimes becomes precarious as their relationship is unbound by shifting language and meaning. She is soon pushed to the precipice, where betrayal and heartbreak threaten to overwhelm her; it is her drive towards truth, and love, that throws into stark relief what she wants from her life.

The music of bees | Eileen Garvin

Summary: Following three lonely strangers in a rural Oregon town, each working through grief and life’s curveballs, who are brought together by happenstance on a local honeybee farm where they find surprising friendship, healing–and maybe even a second chance–just when they least expect it.

About the author

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