Last Minute Gift Guide: KidLit Edition

I know I’m not the only one who still has some last minute shopping to do this holiday season. Thankfully, the ladies of WWAC are here to help you with your shopping needs. The first edition of these last minute gift guides will focus on any of the younger crowd you may have on your list.

The Princess and the PonyThe Princess and the Pony Kate Beaton Arthur A. Levine Books 2015
Kate Beaton
Arthur A. Levine Books

All Princess Pinecone wants is a horse so she can be a brave, strong warrior like everyone else in her family and realm. Instead, she gets a pony that is smaller, rounder, and a lot gassier than she would like! This book would make a great gift for young kids whether they like princesses or despise them. Pinecone is funny and sassy and her world is full of warriors in diverse colors, shapes, and sizes. Plus, it’s got fart jokes and everyone knows the way to a kid’s heart is through fart jokes.


Leonardo the Terrible MonsterLeonardo the Terrible Monster Mo Willems Disney-Hyperion 2005
Mo Willems

This is an older picture book, but still amazing; one of my go-to books for kid Christmas gifts or baby showers. Mo Willems’ books are always great, but Leonardo, a hidden hit, has a special place in my heart. He’s a terrible monster, but in the sense that he’s just not very good at being a monster. He can’t scare anyone! Will he complete his quest to “scare the tuna salad” out of someone? It’s surprisingly heartfelt and yet hilarious. Other Willems’ books are great as well, especially the Knuffle Bunny series and Elephant and Piggie.


The Misadventures of the Family FletcherThe Misadventures of the Family Fletcher Dana Alison Levy Delacorte Books for Young Readers 2014
Dana Alison Levy
Delacorte Books for Young Readers

A sweet middle grade title about the madcap Fletcher family: Dad, Papa, and their four sons. Pets go wild, balls fly over fences, neighbors are charmed, and of course, some important lessons are learned. This is a fun and hilarious portrait of a modern family, perfect for any kids who feel loved but sometimes out-of-place or f0r anyone needing their cold grownup hearts warmed.


I Am Princess XI am Princess X, Cherie Priest, Scholastic, 2015
Cherie Priest
Arthur A. Levine Books

Best friends Libby and May create the character Princess X while sitting out from gym one day in fifth grade. They continue to write stories for the character until Libby and her mother are killed in a car crash. Three years after the accident, Princess X surfaces as the heroine of her own webcomic. May begins reading the webcomic and finds it peppered with clues that her friend may still be alive. The mystery unfolds with characters that are both wonderfully and terrifyingly eccentric. Told partially in prose and part in comic strip, the novel keeps the reader gripped tightly in the throes of mystery and intrigue. The novel sits at the younger end of YA spectrum. There are no romantic subplots or graphic violence, making it suitable for slightly younger readers as well early high school readers.

—Anne Price

The Boy who Crashed to Earth (Hilo Book 1)The Boy Who Crashed to Earth (Hilo Book 1) Judd Winick Random House Books for Young Readers, 2015
Judd Winick
Random House Books for Young Readers

D.J. is a totally normal kid. Everyone else in his family has something they’re good at, but D.J. is just D.J., at least until he meets Hilo. Hilo crashed to Earth and has no memory of who he is or how ended up on Earth, but D.J. takes him in and takes care of him as he gradually starts to regain his memories. Together they discover Hilo’s purpose was to save Earth from destruction. The first in a series, the graphic novel is a silly, heartfelt look at friendship and compassion. The dialogue is written at a mostly middle grade level, but truly the book is enjoyable for all ages.

—Anne Price

Museum Mysteries seriesThe Case of the Missing Museum Mysteries, Steve Brezenoff (Illustrations by Lisa K. Weber) Stone Arch Books/Capstone, 2015
Steve Brezenoff (Illustrations by Lisa K. Weber)
Stone Arch Books/Capstone

This series follows four friends who all have parents working in museums that fit their particular interests (Space, Art, Dinosaurs, and History), and they solve a mystery that occurs in each. It’s a four book series, with each character headlining their own book. In each one, they act as a museum guide (and lead detective) to the others. The last two books came out this past fall, so you can grab the whole set in one go. What I love about it is the diversity of characters that Brezenoff included, especially Amal who is a Somali girl (such a nice surprise for me!). It’s a great kids series for those in Grades 2-5, and Lisa K. Weber’s illustrations are fantastic. The little human you know will learn quite a lot from it.


Gracefully GraysonGracefully Grayson Ami Polonsky Disney-Hyperion 2014
Ami Polonsky

I was a pretty bookish kid who grew into a bookish adult, so when thinking about books to give as gifts, I try to think about what stories would make good companions for the specific recipient. Gracefully Grayson is about a transgender girl who begins to live authentically as herself during a pretty scary time: sixth grade. Grayson has not yet taken steps to present as female, and when she auditions for a female role in the school play her life begins to change dramatically. What makes this book a friendly companion is Grayson’s voice; rather than the frantic, emotionally overwrought internal monologue that YA novels often contain, Grayson expresses her feelings and experiences through the image of a bird taking flight the contrast of light and dark. Reading Grayson’s emotions through these symbols is a powerful and fulfilling experience, and I can see creative kids who struggle to express themselves through traditional means really seeing themselves in this gorgeous novel.


Sidewalk FlowersSidewalk Flowers JonArno Lawson Groundwood Books 2015
JonArno Lawson
Groundwood Books

Sidewalk Flowers wordlessly follows a little girl and her distracted father as they walk around the city. As they walk, the little girl picks flowers from the cracks in the sidewalks and gifts them to the people (and animals) they meet along their way. The book starts in black and white, all except the bright red coat of the little girl. But as the story continues, and the girl takes the time to notice the world the colour bleeds back into it. It’s a thoughtful, meditative book that encourages kids (and adults) to take the time to appreciate the world around them.


Christa Seeley

Christa Seeley

Books Editor. Maple Flavoured Darth Vader Fangirl.