97 Affordable Gifts for Readers
In his famous memoir, On Writing, Stephen King said: “Books are a uniquely portable magic,” and he was right. A powerful novel has the ability to transport and transform—but every reader has his or her own preferred genre or author. So, instead of giving your friend a gift card to a local bookstore, opt for something a little more personal and exciting for the holidays—and don’t run the risk of buying him a book he already has on his shelves. In our gift guide, you won’t find specific titles for the reader on your list (with a few notable exceptions—because who doesn’t like Jane Austen or Anne of Green Gables?). Instead, we selected a variety of unique, thoughtful items that complete any reading experience, and we’re sure that these novel products will delight all of the book-lovers and avid readers in your life.
From whimsical bookshelf accents, to collectible items featuring classic characters, to a Catcher in the Rye phone cover (for the rebel), to a chic case for her reading glasses, there’s something for every bookworm’s taste and style. Now that colder, cozier weather is settling in, this guide includes everything a bibliophile needs for a quiet night at home, curled up with her latest novel and a cup of tea (or a glass of wine)—minus the crackling fireplace. And yes, we even picked out special gift options for those who prefer e-Readers over paperbacks. Want additional inspiration? Find more unique gifts for the book-lovers on your list.
Know a fan of Mark Twain or John Steinbeck? The brand curated ten collections of fragrances inspired by these literary greats’ works.
To buy: From $8; paddywax.com.
Fingerprint Bookmark Band
She’ll never lose her spot again. This flexible bookmark has a pointer to mark the exact word she last landed on.
To buy: $7; momastore.org.
Stone Bookend in Alabaster
A hefty book collection calls for a sturdy support. Give their books the boost they need with one or a pair of these pretty alabaster bookends with brass inlay. A decorative addition to the book lover’s bookshelf.
To buy: From $39; westelm.com.
The Storymatic Game
If he’s running into roadblocks while writing his novel or just looking for a creative outlet, these story-starter cards are just what he needs. Gold cards provide the characters while the copper ones give the impetus for the tale’s events. Select your cards and get creative.
To buy: $30; uncommongoods.com.
Leather Weighted Bookmark
If the bookworm on your list likes to read outdoors, this leather paperweight will keep the pages from flapping in the breeze.
To buy: $15; amazon.com.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Toddler Socks
Four super sweet sock sets designed after everyone’s favorite children’s book. Non-skid soles keep your tot from tumbling.
To buy: $12; outofprintclothing.com.
Just One More Chapter Mug
Some people wake up wanting “just five more minutes.” Bookworms ask for just one more chapter. And this mug says that for them so they won’t even have to lift their eyes from the page.
To buy: $17; TinyZenCo.etsy.com.
Where the Wild Things Are Pin
Max for her bag, Carol for her coat. Or use them as friendship pins for the book lovers on your list. Whatever you choose, these classic storybook characters will instantly transport them back to their mischievous childhood antics.
To buy: $20; urbanoutfitters.com.
I Cannot Live Without Books: Literary Tattoos for Book Lovers
If you had to talk a friend out of nearly getting inked with a Harry Potter quote, this book is for them. Filled with six pages of literary-themed temporary tattoos, your friend will be able to show off that they’re a bibliophile, without any of the long-term regret.
To buy: $9; amazon.com.
Great Shakespearean Deaths Card Game
While there is something new to discover in each of Shakespeare’s many plays and stories, one common theme is the dramatic death scenes in each. In this funny and morbid game, Shakespeare fans will compete with each other, using characters’ death characteristics such as goriness, dramatic quality, and last words.
To buy: $13; amazon.com.
Escape by Gray Malin
To buy: $45; abramsbooks.com.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Buy the reader in your life this novel, a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction. Jojo is 13 years old, living in Mississippi, caring for his young sister, sick grandmother, and drug-addicted mother. As the family road-trips to reunite with Jojo’s incarcerated father, Ward touches on racial injustices and growing up in an unforgiving America.
To buy: $15; amazon.com.
Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng
This sophomore novel from Ng (Everything I Never Told You), was one of the most anticipated novels of 2017. It follows the dramatic events that unfold in a picture-perfect Cleveland suburb in the late 1990s following a custody battle over a Chinese-American baby.
To buy: $17; amazon.com.
Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
For historical fiction lovers, gift them this book from Jennifer Egan (a Pulitzer Prize winner for A Visit from the Goon Squad) that immerses readers in 20th century Brooklyn. With striking detail, Egan follows Anna Kerrigan as she grows up during the Depression, becomes the naval yard’s first female diver, and untangles her father’s disappearance.
To buy: $17; amazon.com.
Marlena, by Julie Buntin
Gift your favorite reader this novel released earlier this year, which explores the life of Cat, the title character’s best friend. In this moving story set after Marlena’s death, Cat, now in her 30s, recalls a year in their adolescence that impacted them in ways they could never imagine.
To buy: $18; amazon.com.
Sour Heart, by Jenny Zhang
Gift a book lover this moving collection of stories. In it, Zhang tells the stories of seven different daughters of immigrants from Shanghai living in NYC during the 1990s and their parents’ experiences in 1960s China in this poignant collection of stories. With incredible honesty Zhang brings to life the disappointing experience many immigrants found when searching for their freedom.
To buy: $18; amazon.com.
What We Lose, by Zinzi Clemons
This debut novel from Zinzi Clemmons is a moving coming of age story. Thandi, raised in America, has never felt particularly close to her mother’s youth in Johannesburg. But when her mother is diagnosed with cancer, Thandi must learn to live her life without her. Through beautiful prose, Clemmons addresses the profound effect loss can have on our lives and the impact that our complex identities can have on our lives.
To buy: $17; amazon.com.
Goodbye, Vitamin, by Rachel Khong
Perfect for the reader that’s dealing with an elderly parent, this tender debut novel from Rachel Khong tells the story of Ruth, 30 years old and freshly disengaged from her fiancé. When Ruth moves home to take care of her father, a noted history professor recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she learns to find humor, and new life, while caring for her aging dad.
To buy: $16; amazon.com.
Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout
Gift the book lover in your life this moving novel from Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout. In Anything Is Possible, Strout introduces readers to two sisters at different junctures in their lives, and what unfolds as they are reunited after seventeen years.
To buy: $17; amazon.com.
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir, by Sherman Alexie
After his mother passed away, National Book Award-winning author Sherman Alexie was moved to write a memoir that reflected on their complex relationship. Through poetry, essays, and family photographs, Alexie brings the reader into his world, a young boy raised in a poor family by alcoholic parents on an Indian reservation.
To buy: $18; amazon.com.
Hunger, by Roxane Gay
Gift a reader this honest memoir, from Bad Feminist writer Roxane Gay. Between the pages, Gay tackles the complexity of nourishing oneself. No stranger to the topic, Gay has frequently written about her weight, her relationship with food as a means of self-care, and the trauma that changed her relationship with eating. Readers will connect with Gay’s vulnerability and her reflections on how society too often ties size to worth.
To buy: $15; amazon.com.
I’d Rather Be Reading, by Guinevere De La Mare
For your friend who can’t get enough of scrolling through shelfies (artfully-taken pictures of bookshelves on Instagram), there’s I’d Rather be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers. In addition to the gorgeous images on each page, readers will enjoy interwoven essays from Ann Patchett, Maura Kelly, and more.
To buy: $11; amazon.com.
Laugh, by Lisa Sturge
Not only is laughing fun, but it has a myriad of benefits—including reducing stress and releasing endorphins that allow you to naturally relax. In this fun book, readers will learn about all of the ways that laughter—what Sturge calls “mindfulness in motion”—improves our everyday lives, along with easy exercises to get you giggling.
To buy: $13; amazon.com.
Knife, by Tim Hayward
Foodie-types will love ode to the knife, an essential culinary tool. The book looks at over 40 different types of knives and tells their stories through their histories and gorgeous photographs. This collection is perfect for those interested in learning more about the kitchen tool they probably take for granted.
To buy: $20; amazon.com.
The Authentiques, by Melanie Acevedo and Dara Caponigro
For the style devotee in your life, gift them this gorgeous book from renowned photographer Melanie Acevedo and founding editor of domino magazine Dara Caponigro. Readers will find stunning photographs from the gorgeous homes of famous creators in art, design, and fashion.
To buy: $44; amazon.com.
Signs of Hope, by Matthew “Levee” Chavez
Following the intense political divide of the 2016 election, individuals in many cities across the country united by posting positive messages of hope and unity on post-it notes in the subway. Most of these gatherings were prompted by Matthew Chavez, who showed up with stacks of sticky notes and asked strangers to express themselves. This book is a tribute to the messages people wrote during the experience.
To buy: $16; amazon.com.
SHE, by kate spade new york
The fourth book in this series from fashion brand kate spade highlights and celebrates both modern heroines and amazing historical women. Tucked between the pages, readers will find the stories of women like Gloria Steinem and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
To buy: $25; amazon.com.
Cinemaps, by Andrew DeGraff and A.D. Jameson
Perfect for the movie buff in your life is this collection of beautifully illustrated maps from popular films. Alongside written commentary from film critic A.D. Jameson, readers will find gorgeous images highlighting important details and places from classics like King Kong, The Shining, and Back to the Future.
To buy: $24; amazon.com.
Annie Leibovitz: Portraits 2005-2016
This book memorializes the incredible body of portraiture work that Annie Leibovitz created over 11 years. Each of the images in this provocative and compelling collection tells a unique story about both the face in the photo and the brilliant photographer behind the camera.
To buy: $55; amazon.com.
My Life With Bob, by Pamela Paul
Pamela Paul has kept a record of every book she’s ever read over the past twenty-eight years, a collection she calls Bob: her Book Of Books. In this collection of stories, Paul reflects not only on the books that have shaped her life, but on the special relationship between book and reader.
To buy: $18; amazon.com.
Letters of Note, by Shaun Usher
This unique collection of letters gives readers a glimpse into the minds of some of the most important people in history, through a single letter of correspondence. Including names like Andy Warhol and Emily Dickenson, readers will delight in learning about these notable people in a new way.
To buy: $18; amazon.com.
642 Lists to Write, by San Francisco Writers’ Grotto
From the writer’s group that brought you 642 Things To Write About comes another book of prompts to get your loved one’s creative juices flowing. From topics including quirky thought starters (like things that will never go out of style to fads that would never catch on), they’re sure to find inspiration on every page.
To buy: $12; amazon.com.
Typewriters: Iconic Machines from the Golden Age of Mechanical Writing, by Anthony Casillo
This hilarious book examines one of the most important tools in the history of literature—the typewriter. Starting with their invention, to featuring different makes and models, to each one’s quirks and details, readers will find both fascinating history and pretty photographs.
To buy: $30; amazon.com.
It’s not what you think—these won’t make your home smell like a library (though, that would be amazing). Instead, candle-maker and English major Callie Meaney has created soy candles that mimic the scents and scenes from some of the most famous classic novels, including Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Alice in Wonderland, and Sherlock Holmes. Wondering what Sherlock Holmes’ 221B Baker Street apartment would smell like? Meaney thinks a combination of black currant tea and leather books would make Sherlock feel at home. Any bibliophile can light one on a rainy afternoon for a quiet day at home with her favorite novel.
To buy: $16, uncommongoods.com.
Personalized Leather Eyeglass Case
Don’t let her haphazardly throw her reading glasses into her purse, or stretch them out by resting them on her head—give her this stylish, yet simple, case for her reading glasses. Each leather case is handmade in Germany, and the monogram can be customized to her initials, last name, first name, or any identifier you think she’ll appreciate. You can even choose between brown and black leather (bonus points if you can match the case to her purse or wallet). This isn’t a last-minute gift, however, because it does take up to three weeks to ship.
To buy: $33, aobusinessessentials.etsy.com.
Jane Austen Boxed Postcards
For the aspiring writer (and avid reader), these illustrated postcards will provide plenty of literary inspiration. Each patterned postcard features a line from one of Austen’s works or published letters. A true Austen fan will know that the author was a famous and well-versed letter writer—her best correspondences are now compiled into an anthology. For the fan that hopes to embody Austen’s habits and prose, these postcards will provide the perfect inspiration. Plus, the 100 notes are enclosed in an embossed keepsake box, where the lucky recipient can store jewelry, notes, and more.
To buy: $20 for 100, papersource.com.
Harry Potter Library Quote Poster Print
If he can’t get through an email or conversation without quoting or referencing Harry Potter, then he needs this print in his office (or home). Featuring a line from the series’ famous, lovable bookworm, this handmade poster ships from Britain—the home country of Hermione herself! Note: The sizes are based on the British paper sizing system (A1, A2, A3, and A4), so visit this handy chart to make sure you’re ordering the correct dimensions—although the seller notes he can customize the print to whatever size you need. Additionally, the frame is not included, so you’ll have to have it framed before the holidays!
To buy: From $13, bokaprintetsy.com.
The Book Lover’s Journal
Readers know the stress of seeing another list of the best books to read this month, this season, or this year. It’s hard to keep track of a reading wish list when there are so many genres and authors to tackle! This journal helps organize any reader’s inventory—the notebook includes spaces to record books you want to read, books you’ve loaned to or borrowed from friends, and the contact information for your book club. The main attraction: Pages and pages to record details from the books you’ve read, making it easy to reference and recommend your favorite novels in the future.
To buy: $12, amazon.com.
NUACAshop Felt and Leather Kindle Case
Even if she prefers actual books, chances are she still carries some kind of e-reader to make enjoying a book while commuting a little more convenient (an 800-page novel is not easy to store in your purse). Or maybe she’s a traveler, and the Kindle is the easiest way to load up her suitcase with her favorite books before she boards the plane. This handmade felt sleeve is a chic, minimalist way to protect her tablet. If she doesn’t have a Paperwhite Kindle, shop the Etsy seller’s other sizes and fabrics for the ideal dimensions and material for her device. The case comes in gray and black felt, as well as red and white leathers for a more polished vibe.
To buy: $29, NUACAshop.etsy.com.
West Elm Metal + Pastel Glass Candleholders
The dedicated bookworm knows that when shopping for furniture, a bookshelf is an extremely important purchase. If her bookshelf is carefully curated with her favorite titles, travel keepsakes, and other artfully chosen accessories, these candles will add a modern accent to her display. Ranging from small, three-inch votives to 10-inch candles, they come in several shades of colored glass with either silver or copper plating on the bottom. She can keep them on her bookshelf or add them to a dining table for a festive centerpiece—they’re simple enough to go with almost any décor in her home.
To buy: From $10, westelm.com.
Anne of Green Gables Book Set
The new Anne of Green Gables movie premiering this fall on PBS and the miniseries soon to follow on Netflix are both proof that this treasured children’s story is finding new life in the 21st century. For a friend who has been a fan of Anne Shirley since her debut in 1908, this beautiful set of books is great to reread before watching the new films, and includes the first six unabridged stories from L.M. Montgomery. Readers will recognize Anne’s famous hat on the bindings of the books. She can curl up and read her favorite stories all winter while she waiting for the Netflix premiere.
To buy: $165, domino.com.
Chronicle Books Typewriter Paper Notes
For the friend who still chooses handwritten lists over the Notes app in his phone, this playful container of note paper will be a welcome addition to his workspace. The miniature box mimics an actual Royal typewriter and each perforated piece of paper has a vintage watermark—including “From the Desk Of” and “Memo”—just like an actual typewriter sheet. The 55 unique pages pull out of the top of the box (like a typewriter—sensing a theme here?) and are ideal for jotting down little reminders. Keep in mind: These aren’t full-sized pieces of paper—each is slightly larger than a Post-It note.
To buy: $13, chroniclebooks.com.
Out of Print Banned Books Matchbox Set
These clever collectible matchboxes are miniature replicas of some of the most famous banned novels in history—the matches, of course, being a nod to book burnings that used to occur around the world as a form of censorship. From Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 to Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, each box features the original cover illustration for the novel and on the back, a line about why the book was banned from shelves. Fun fact: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was banned from the Brooklyn Public Library in 1876 because the protagonist was of “questionable character.” Each box contains 20 matches.
To buy: $20, amazon.com.
Terrain Geometric Porcelain Vase
Terrain, the inspiring garden-centric sister brand to Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, specializes in chic gardening supplies, interesting plants for your yard, beautiful outdoor dÃ©cor, and unique, vintage home goods. This sleek, modern porcelain bud vase is stylish enough for any surface—especially a well-curated shelf—and certainly won’t clash with an eclectic collection of novels. It sets the environment for a quiet night of reading (especially with a fresh bloom from the garden), but we would understand if the bookworm in your life wanted to use it to hold her favorite pen. The multi-faceted vase is also available in a shorter, more spherical shape.
To buy: $20, shopterrain.com.
Joss & Main ‘The End’ Book Ends
This whimsical wooden bookend is a fun way to keep his favorite titles stacked and organized, while also adding dimension and character to his bookshelf or desk. The neutral color matches any shelf and provides a nice contrast to a row of colorful bindings. To help fill up his shelf, pair the bookend with a membership to a seasonal literature subscription box (we love Quarterlane Books), so he’s always on top of the newest, most talked-about titles. Now, if only it came with a companion that said, “The Beginning”—then it would really bring the bookshelf full circle.
To buy: $25, jossandmain.com.
Kate Spade New York Glasses Pencil Pouch
Whether she wears cat-eye, round, square, or browline frames, she can show off her signature style with this chic leatherette pouch. Dappled with black frames, this graphic pouch holds all of her favorite reading accessories, from highlighters to bookmarks. It even comes with a handful of stylish office supplies to get her started: two pencils (etched with “so well composed” in gold), a sharpener, an eraser, and a ruler—so she’s able to jot down any clever notes that come to mind while reading. And don’t worry—at 8½-inches by 5½-inches, it’s small enough to slip into her favorite book bag.
To buy: $30, papersource.com.
Back Me Up! Mobile Charger
Imagine the horror of being in the middle of a page-turner and having your iPad suddenly lose power. Keep her reading through that long train ride with this glitzy, gold speckled portable charger. It connects directly to her tablet—no cords required—to keep her bag neat and organized. Looking for a gift for someone who wouldn’t dare touch an e-book? There’s nothing worse for a bookworm than ducking into the bookstore with a dead phone (How are you supposed to check Goodreads, after all?). Be a good friend and help keep her devices charged as she powers through her to-read list.
To buy: $23, saksoff5th.com.
NeenaCreates Book-Lover Pullover
You know her favorite activity is snuggling up with a book and a cup of tea on a chilly Saturday afternoon. Keep her cozy while reading with this slouchy raglan pullover. Adorned with fanciful script lettering that reads: “I have always imagined paradise to be a kind of library,” a quote from Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges, the sweater comes in eight colors, and the quote can be printed in either white or black ink. Since the seller makes each sweatshirt by hand, using a homemade silkscreen, please allow one to two weeks for creation and shipping.
To buy: $38, neenacreates.com.
Literature Rocks Glasses
This gift is great for people who like their spirits the same way they like their literature: classic. Have him pour his nightly Old Fashioned into a rocks glass that’s etched with the first edition inside cover and opening lines of Pride and Prejudice (“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”) Not an Austen fan? Etsy seller theUncommonGreen also sells the 11-ounce glass decorated with opening pages from more than 15 other great works, like H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and James Joyce’s Ulysses.
To buy: $13, theuncommongreen.etsy.com.
‘Readers Gonna Read’ Mug
If there are two things no one can have enough of, it’s books and coffee cups. And this classic mug is perfect for the bookworm who loves coffee just as much as she loves novels. The cup says “readers gonna read” (a playful departure from “haters gonna hate”) in beautiful black script on both sides. It’s available in two sizes—11-ounce and 15-ounce—so she’ll have enough joe to fuel her session, whether she’s tearing through a short story or just cracking open that lengthy novel. The best part? It’s dishwasher safe, so that means less time cleaning dishes and more time reading.
To buy: $18, smallglow.etsy.com.
Jane Austen Classic Novels
Designed by graphic artist Leanne Shapton, these beautiful book covers give Jane Austen’s timeless novels an artsy update. Offer your bookworm friend these colorful editions—she’ll love re-reading the classics over and over again, plus they’ll look so nice on her bookshelf. Choose from Pride & Prejudice, which comes in a red and black chevron pattern, Sense and Sensibility, which comes in a green and gold polka dot, or Emma, which comes in a peach-colored watercolor print. The books are sold individually, but the whole set would make for a generous (though not too pricey) gift.
To buy: $19 each, anthropologie.com.
Would you like a quote with your cup of English breakfast tea? Quotes from classic novels are paired with an equally classic black tea blend to create the perfect gift for your book-loving friend. This set includes 25 tea bags tagged with famous literary quotes (A few example: “Never judge a book by its movie,” “She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain,” and “Wear the old coat and buy the new book.”). The caffeinated black tea bags are perfect for serving up at the next book club meeting, too.
To buy: $15 for a set of 25, amazon.com.
Now your favorite book can be a part of your décor. A print of a book cover is set on a vintage encyclopedia page—you can choose from a variety of cover options, from classics like The Great Gatsby and The Little Prince to new favorites like The Goldfinch and Wild. No two pieces will be the same, and there may be some imperfections and yellowing. Although shown framed, the frame and matting are not included. Instead, the work of art comes carefully packaged in clear cellophane with a protective card backing to keep it from bending in transit.
To buy: $9, cartabancards.etsy.com.
Ideal Bookshelf Print
The book collections of artist Jane Mount never get dog-eared. Each archival-image print features the definitive group of titles on one subject, like Southern literature (which features titles like The Color Purple, All the King’s Men, and, of course, Gone With the Wind), Tweens (which features popular YA reads like Harriet the Spy, Matilda, and Harry Potter), or Girl Stars, shown here (which features admirable leading ladies from novels like The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, and Sense and Sensibility). Choose from three different sizes. The eight-by-10-inch print is also available in a white box frame with white mat and Plexiglass.
To buy: From $34, janemount.etsy.com.
Knock Knock Personal Library Kit
Share the latest and greatest must-read titles with friends, while knowing they’ll be returned (and on time!). This old-school kit is filled with all of the tools you’ll need, including 20 self-adhesive pockets and checkout cards, a date stamp and ink pad, and a pencil, to keep tabs on your precious paperbacks and hardcovers. The whole set comes packaged neatly in a box that can be used to house and keep all the supplies organized in perpetuity. When you’re all out of cards, a refill kit that comes with 15 self-adhesive pockets will keep your lending library open for business.
To buy: $11, amazon.com.
Letters of Note: Volume 2: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience, Compiled by Shaun Usher
Take a break from email and text messaging and dive into this impressive collection of letters instead. History lovers and bibliophiles alike will relish poring through 125 letters written by authors, scientists, celebrities, and ordinary people. Like it’s 2014 predecessor, each entry includes a replica of the letter in its original form, a transcription (if necessary), and background information to provide context. Highlights include a British professor’s cover letter to Albus Dumbledore, requesting to be considered for the position of Defense of the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (and the kind rejection from J.K. Rowling, in character as Professor Dumbledore), a moving letter from Abraham Lincoln to a young girl whose father was killed in the Civil War, and David Bowie’s response to his first piece of American fan mail. Relive history with your loved ones with this endlessly entertaining compilation.
To buy: $40, chroniclebooks.com.
Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story, by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus
Wrap up an important life lesson this holiday season. In this beautifully illustrated children’s book, Gandhi’s grandson shares how his grandfather taught him to be aware of how his actions affect others. As child growing up on an ashram, Arun Gandhi vows to live simply and non-violently. But there is one important rule he cannot wrap his head around: do not waste. How can tossing aside one worn-down pencil cause harm? How can violence stem from wastefulness? With the help of his grandfather he comes to see how our actions, even those that seem insignificant, affect others. We’re confident there will be plenty to discuss after this thought-provoking read.
To buy: $19, amazon.com.
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley
This picture book will give kids a great introduction to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and provide a vocabulary lesson along the way. Starting with her childhood in Brooklyn, Ginsburg disagrees, dissents, resists, disapproves, objects, and protests everything from being forced to write with her right hand in elementary school (Ginsburg is a lefty), to unequal pay for women. Kids will gain a better understanding of the world Ginsburg grew up in as well as the impact she has made on our country. As the book jacket says, “Disagreeing does not make a person disagreeable. In fact, it can change the world!”
To buy: $14, amazon.com.
Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World, by Ann Shen
As the introduction says, “This is a book about girls who had a ton of fear and personal flaws and faced insurmountable obstacles, but did amazing things anyway.” Revisit one hundred of history’s most impressive women in this exquisite illustrated collection from illustrator, letterer, and graphic designer Ann Shen. Featuring well-known ladies such as Marie Antoinette, Marie Curie, and Billie Holiday, Bad Girls Throughout History also sheds light on some lesser-known names. Get to know Maria Mitchell, America’s first professional female astronomer, and Anna May Wong, the first Asian-American movie star. Each woman is honored with a beautiful watercolor portrait as well as an essay celebrating her accomplishments.
To buy: $20, chroniclebooks.com.
Tell Me a Tattoo Story, by Alison McGhee
Know a parent with a bit of ink? This is the book for him or her. A love story between a father and his small son, Tell Me a Tattoo Story traces one family’s history through the lines of a father’s tattoos. One design is dedicated to his favorite children’s book, one reminds him of meeting his wife, and another memorializes his Army service in the Middle East. But the most important relic of all? A small heart honoring his son’s birthday. Parents with or without tattoos will be touched by the heartwarming tale about sharing your past with your children—it leaves a mark.
To buy: $17, chroniclebooks.com.
In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, by Grace Bonney
Give the gift of empowerment with this inspiring compilation of interviews with more than 100 female entrepreneurs. Grace Bonney, the founder of the tremendously popular site, Design*Sponge, created this important project, which brings together artists, chefs, hoteliers, stylists, and small business owners to share their hard-won wisdom and advice. Filled with stunning photography and insightful quotes (Interior designer Sheila Bridges advises, “Over the years, I’ve learned to trust my gut when it comes to people and situations. Don’t be afraid of your own intuitive power as a woman.”), this book will provide more than enough material for budding inspiration boards. Wrap this up for a recent grad, creative mind, or anyone looking for a healthy dose of girl power.
To buy: $22.50, amazon.com.
They All Saw a Cat, by Brendan Wenzel
Kids will learn to see the world from other points of view in this ingenious picture book from illustrator Brendan Wenzel. As the cat goes for a walk, different animals take note of the feline, and what they each see is wildly different: A child sees a friendly pet. A flea sees a sea of tall fur, ready to explore. A mouse sees a terrifying monster. Even a bat and a worm “see” the cat through vibrations and echolocation, but they all see a cat. Not only is each illustration its own piece of art, but there is a miniature science lesson on every spread as kids are asked to view the world from someone else’s eyes. A valuable gift, indeed.
To buy: $17, chroniclebooks.com.
I Like You, I Love You, by Carissa Potter
Share your true feelings this holiday season with this sweet stocking stuffer. At the start, artist Carissa Potter encourages the reader to “explore the subtle transitions of relationships from initial attraction through compromise, all the way to choosing to grow together.” In just under 100 pages, Potter traces a romance from the unpredictable alchemy that brings the right person to the right place at the right time, to accepting that one partner isn’t a morning person, to the conscious decision to keep both their love and their houseplants alive. If words tend to fail you, let this darling book do the talking.
To buy: $13, chroniclebooks.com.