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Gift Ideas: Giving Children's Books

Growing Readers: A Dose of Whimsy

During the holidays and other gift-giving occasions, the lure of electronic toys for young children can be strong. Children are naturally drawn to the flash, motion, sound, and color of some toys. Although there are many toys today that teach, children's books go deeper by engaging the mind and imagination.

By giving books for the holidays and other gift giving occasions, you can start building a library for your children. It gives kids their own collection of treasured books worth taking care of and maybe (unbeknownst to them), passing on to another generation. Similar to the library down the street, a good collection includes classic books as well as other favorite children's books. Establishing a tradition of giving books on holidays, birthdays, or other family celebrations can help to grow lifelong readers and build a library for your child that will be passed on to future generations.

Popular Books as Gifts for Children

Each quarter, Bright Horizons' early childhood educators review and select the best children's books and literature. These Books of Excellence winners make a wonderful gift for children and parents who love reading together. Here are a few favorite books you can give as gifts to children from our Growing Readers' 2015 Books of Excellence.

We invite you to shop our Amazon book store through these linked books, where a portion of every sale supports the Bright Horizons Foundation for Children.

Books for Babies & Toddlers

Animal Opposites | Children's BookAnimal Opposites, written and illustrated by Petr Horacek, Infant & Toddler: Animal Opposites takes the traditional and captivating concept of opposites and uses a new and interactive way to learn about them by adding another children's favorite - animals! Anticipation builds as each page offers a surprise. The extra-large fold-out pages use vivid colors and exciting pop-ups to help children learn some amusing and new opposites - smooth frog and spiky porcupine, quiet rabbit and loud lion, and slow snail and fast cheetah. The unique pairings of opposites give children the opportunity to use their imaginations - fueled by the extraordinary illustrations and the simple text. Teaching and learning have never been so much fun.

Fruit, Vegetable and At the Farm Wooden Books | Children's BookFruit -- Vegetables -- At the Farm, published and manufactured by Hape, Infant & Toddler: These three unique wooden books feature brightly colored illustrations of fruit, vegetables and farm animals, printed in soy ink. The illustrations are sure to capture the attention of the youngest readers who will delight in finding pictures of their favorites. The books are perfect for small hands, each with a handle to make the book easy to carry.

Some Babies are Wild | Children's BookSome Babies Are Wild, written by Marion Dane Bauer, photographed by Stan Tekiela, Infant & Toddler: A simple, rhyming text combined with exquisite photographs make this book a delight for young book lovers and those who read to them. The very youngest readers will enjoy the close-up shots of these wild babies and even some mamas at the end, and older readers will find fascinating facts in a section called Animal Extras. This book can be enjoyed on many levels and will be a family favorite for years.

Books for Preschoolers

Dreaming Up | Children's BookDreaming Up, written and illustrated by Christy Hale, Preschool: Dreaming Up is a picture book with life-like illustrations and photographs reflecting children's buildings and their similarities to famous works of architecture from around the world. It is a celebration of how simple childhood favorites like stacking and building, combined with imagination, can create beautiful things. Children and future architects will be inspired - if they can dream it, they can build it!

When You Just Have to Roar | Children's BookWhen You Just Have to Roar!, written by Rachel Robertson and illustrated by Priscilla Prentice, Preschool: Growing Readers Review celebrates our own Bright Horizons author, Rachel Robertson, Vice President of Learning and Development, and her newest work, When You Just Have to Roar! In this lively story, the children are jumping, running, drumming, and bouncing. And one child, Reese, "was roaring like a great big lion for no reason at all." Ms. Mya, a preschool teacher, brings order to her classroom by introducing the children to the concept of expectations - something we can rely on, something we know is going to happen." As parents, we too can bring order to chaos by engaging children in developing the expectations by which we play and live. Of course, while self-control is an important developmental skill, the story encourages us to "roar like a lion when there's simply no other way to say it!"

That is NOT a Good Idea | Children's BooksThat Is NOT a Good Idea, written and illustrated by Mo Willems, Preschool: That is NOT a Good Idea is the title of this book and also the signature refrain that begs to be called out by children as they read about the adventures of a little goose that continues to make bad decisions. Will the goose really go for an innocent stroll with the hungry-looking fox and accept his invitation to help him cook dinner? This book offers a nice spin on the traditional fairy tale and pays homage to the old silent movie era while encouraging participation.

I'm Adopted | Children's BookI'm Adopted, written by Shelly Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly, photography by Shelly Rotner, Preschool: Adopted children and families will find this book to be a great resource as they begin or continue discussing why they chose adoption for their family. With beautiful photographs of children and their families and easy-to-understand text, this book explores questions like "Why couldn't my birth mother keep me?" or "Why do I look different from you?" or "What is it like where I was born?" The focus throughout is on how loved and cared for the adopted children are.

Mama Built a Little Nest | Children's BookMama Built a Little Nest, written by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Steve Jenkins, Preschool: This beautifully illustrated book features interesting facts about a variety of birds and their unique nests - many of which are engineering feats. Did you know that an eagle’s nest can be 5 to 6 feet in diameter or that hummingbird nests stretch as the babies grow? Learn with your child as you peruse this fascinating book together.

A Teacher's Promise | Children's BookA Teacher's Promise, written by Rachel Robertson and illustrated by Priscilla Prentice, Preschool: For the second time this year, Growing Readers Review celebrates our own Bright Horizons author, Rachel Robertson, Vice President of Learning and Development, and her newest work, A Teacher’s Promise. Written from a teacher’s point of view, the book highlights all the fun and learning that will happen in a young child’s classroom.

Books for School-Age Children

Becoming Babe Ruth | Children's BookBecoming Babe Ruth, written and illustrated by Matt Tavares, School Age: George "Babe" Ruth was a young child skipping school and being an overall mischief maker. At the age of seven he was sent to St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys to help him make better choices. As much as he disliked the rules and the classes, George discovered something that he loved - baseball! Learning self-control and discipline at St. Mary's helped George grow into a responsible young man and an outstanding baseball player. At the peak of his career he read about a devastating fire at his alma mater. This time Babe Ruth stepped up to the plate, not to hit a homerun, but to help the school that helped make him a success.

The Day the Crayons Quit | Children's BookThe Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, School-Age: Duncan wants to do one of his favorite things -- he wants to color with his crayons, but the worst has happened -- his crayons have decided to quit! When he opens his crayon box, he finds a stack of letters. There is one from each color that explains exactly why it is quitting its coloring job. Each crayon has its own story to tell -- from humorous white who says "You color with me, but why?" to exhausted gray, "You're KILLING ME!" Yellow and orange get into the act as well. Duncan reads each spirited letter carefully and comes up with a creative solution that earns him an A+ from his teacher and satisfies every crayon in the box. 

Get Into Art PeopleGet into Art People, written by Susie Brooks, School Age: This fascinating book offers children a window into art appreciation unlike any other. It’s all about people and the many ways that famous artists have chosen to depict them. The book offers a unique historical perspective on some of the world’s greatest works from Pieter Bruegel to Leonardo da Vinci to Roy Lichtenstein – and many in between. A brief biography of each artist and a description of the artist’s chosen medium introduce the child to the work of art. 

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