105 Ways to Give a Book

Ways to Give a Book: 2011 Edition

For all of your holiday shopping needs, here are 150 Ways to Give a Book, grouped by (approximate) age. They are all MotherReader-approved titles — i.e., Good Books. There are a lot more choices for younger kids, as that’s the group we adult most fear disappointing with giving “only” a book. And picture books are my specialty. After the book and gift selections, I’ve also included ways to wrap a book, and book-themed gifts to include for a variety of ages. There are new 2012 titles mixed in with older ones — though there aren’t many classics, as I’ve tried to select books that kids would be less likely to have on their shelves. So no Harry Potter.

Sometimes I choose the hardback when the paperback is also available, so check if that is important to you. I’ve also linked to the fun extras through Amazon, for example, to save you shopping time, and because I get some small credit for your purchases through the Amazon Associates program. But know that you can find cheaper alternatives for some small things — paints, pens, journals, etc. — at a local discount store. On the other hand, doing all your purchases online and having them sent to your door is priceless.

  1. Give an experience like a trip to a zoo, aquarium, museum, aviary, arena, or city. Put the passes, tickets, or homemade gift certificate with a relevant book to make it feel more tangible.
  2. Take a road trip with Ask Me so you can use the driving time to ask each other the interesting questions from the book.
  3. Give a book with a movie theater gift card to see the upcoming film.
  4. Give a book with a gift card to rent the movie. Include a box of microwave popcorn.
  5. One Hen - How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference
  6. Give One Hen — How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference with a loan to Kiva or a donation to Heifer International to buy chicks. For more charity and book matches, look to this list from Abby the Librarian.
  7. Pair any book with another book from the bargain section, maybe something silly or crafty or gimmicky.
  8. Pair a detective book with a magnifying glass.
  9. Match poetry books with word beads or magnetic poetry.
  10. Pair a picture book with a related stuffed animal.
  11. Give an interesting, insightful book with a restaurant gift card and a date to discuss the book together over a meal.
  12. Honor the book enthusiast with necklace along with a new title.
  13. Celebrate writing too with special journals from Tara Books, an independent press based in India.
Picture Books
  1. Learn letters with ABC, Baby Me! board book or The Sleepy Little Alphabet and letter links.
  2. Or work with numbers (and colors) with 10 Hungry Rabbits and magnetic numbers.
  3. Give Jeremy Draws a Monster with a pack of fat crayons and a stack of copy paper from an office supply store.
  4. Blue Chicken
  5. Or go with Art and Max or Blue Chicken with a paint set.
  6. Pair The Curious Garden with gardening tools and seeds.
  7. It’s almost dessert when you give The Cow Loves Cookies with a cookie counting game.
  8. Get moving with Dancing Feet with Fisher Price: Disco Dance Party CD.
  9. Keep up the music giving Drum City with an old-time tin drum.
  10. What else can go with Extra Yarn but extra yarn? Well, and knitting needles and instructions.
  11. Pair Kite Flying and/or Kite Daywith a new kite.
  12. Give Bats at the Ballgame with a bat and ball. You can throw in a coupon book for practice sessions.
  13. Little Owl’s Night
  14. Take a bedtime book like Little Owl’s Night, A Bedtime for Bear or Sweet Dreams and add a night light.
  15. Or choose A Full Moon is Rising or Moonlight with glow-in-the-dark moon and stars — or go high tech with this Moon in my Room.
  16. Pair Bubble Trouble with touchable bubbles.
  17. Ballet dancers will love Brontorina or Bea at Ballet with a fancy tutu or two… two.
  18. Give little superheroes SuperHero ABC along with a superhero cape.
  19. Encourage a future Iron Chef by giving Oscar and the Very Hungry Dragon with a cooking set.
  20. Silliness ensues with Pigs to the Rescue and the Pass the Pigs game.
  21. Take it outside with Chalk with 3-D sidewalk chalk.
  22. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
  23. Pair Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site or Building with Dad with toy construction vehicles.
  24. Give Yuck! That’s Not a Monster! with the Moody Monsters Memory Game.
  25. Who can resist that match-up of Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek with Lincoln Logs?
  26. Give your little dragon-lover Hush Little Dragon or Guess What I Found in Dragon Wood with a cute dragon.
  27. Is there a doctor in the house? There will be with picture book Doctor Ted along with a doctor kit.
  28. Future firefighter instead? Give Fire! Fuego! along with Firefighters A to Z and firefighter gear.
  29. Pair picture book Crafty Chloe with a selection of craft supplies.
  30. What else can go with Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum other than lots of bubble gum.
  31. Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
  32. Cat lovers can enjoy picture books I Don’t Want a Cool Cat, Katie Loves the Kittens, and Won Ton with a cat card game.
  33. Or let the dogs out with Dogs, Charlie the Ranch Dog, and If You Give a Dog a Donut and dog themed dominoes.
  34. Inspire young builders with Iggy Peck, Architect and a building set.
  35. Nature lovers will enjoy Birdsongs along with a guidebook like Backyard Birds and some binoculars.
  36. For more nature, pair Butterfly Tree with a butterfly garden kit.
  37. Give your favorite girly-girl Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy with dress-up jewelry and/or a fancy poodle.
  38. Give your rough little boy Pirates Don’t Change Diapers along with genuine pirate gear.
  39. Take sweet picture book Lissy’s Friends and pair it with an origami kit.
  40. Make a perfect pairing with Elsie’s Bird and a singing bird music box.
  41. Picture books A Sick Day for Amos McGee or Pssst! would be perfect with a zoo animal collection or game.
  42. Or head down to the Farm, adding a Lace and Trace Farm Set.
  43. Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy is a book that deserves its own bathrobe and/or bubble bath.
  44. For a western theme, give A Night on the Range or Every Cowgirl Loves a Rodeowith a cowboy hat.
  45. Another nighttime choice is Goodnight, Little Monster with an Ugly Doll.
  46. Give picture book The Moon with a special flashlight and a promise for a nighttime walk or two.
  47. Blackout
  48. Or for a different angle with that flashlight, pair with Blackout and prepare for indoor fun with the lights out.
  49. Take a special book, like Wow! It Sure is Good to Be You (which is about an aunt loving her far-away niece), and make a CD recording of you reading it.
  50. Pair Duck and Goose with a bright spotted ball.
  51. The funny wordless book Once Upon a Banana is a perfect fit with a stuffed monkey — but show your sense of humor by throwing a banana into the gift bag.
  52. Another wordless book choice is the visually stunning The Tree House, which works surprisingly well with Littlest Pet Shop brown bear and polar bear.
  53. Give The Snow Globe Family with a snow globe.
  54. Pair Lilly’s Big Day with dress-up clothes.
  55. Or another dress-up option is the Ladybug Girl books with wings and antennae.
  56. Pair Bubble Bath Pirates with a cool rubber duck.
  57. Give the wonderful The Day the Babies Crawled Away with a baby doll.
  58. Everyone needs Mo Willems’ book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, maybe adding a toy bus and a cargo truck.
  59. Pair classic A Bargain For Frances with a tea set.
Early Elementary
    Boy! Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs
  1. Pair a nonfiction book about dinosaurs, like Boy! Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs, with a bunch of plastic ones.
  2. Give Instructions with a book of classic fairy tales, and make time to read them together.
  3. Expand the idea of giving with The One and Only Ivan with an adopt-an-animal program at your local zoo.
  4. Or give Goal! with a soccer ball and a donation to Project Play.
  5. Introduce a folktale with Maneki Neko: the Tale of the Beckoning Cat and giving lucky cat bank.
  6. Pair silly beginning reader book The Monster in the Backpack with a cute backpack (monster additional).
  7. Give beginning reader books Amazing Sharks! and National Geographic Readers: Sharks! and throw in a shark on a stick.
  8. Take to the ice with book choices Katie Kazoo, On Thin Ice and passes to the local ice-skating rink.
  9. Toys Go Out
  10. Pair Toys Go Out with a red bouncy ball, or a stuffed stingray or buffalo.
  11. Pair Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs with a kazoo.
  12. Give early chapter book series books Ella the Rose Fairy (Rainbow Faires series) or Rose’s Special Secret (Flower Fairies series) with a lovely little fairies.
  13. Blooming fashionistas will appreciate Paper Fashions (Klutz) (all thirty-five Amazon reviews gave five stars!) along with Fashion Kitty and the Unlikely Hero.
  14. Combine sweet Jenny and the Cat Club with a red scarf (don’t worry if it’s too long — so is Jenny’s) and a black cat.
  1. Pair Operation YES! with green army men.
  2. Percy Jackson
  3. Be a hero and give Percy Jackson and the Olympians Boxed Set with Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths.
  4. Pair fantasy book Savvy with with an assortment of temporary or henna tattoos.
  5. Give What the World Eats with a promise for an international dinner out or in.
  6. Pair Every Soul a Star with The Kids Book of the Night Sky and plan a date to look at the stars together.
  7. You can’t go wrong with the funny poems and outstanding art in Frankenstein Takes the Cake along with a cake-baking session, followed by reading the book together. As a matter of fact, throw in Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and make a whole day — and a meal — of it.
  8. Speaking of the amazing Adam Rex, give the hilarious book The True Meaning of Smekday with a the related T-shirt Regarding Stickyfish Teams, I Favor the Bigfield Fighting Koobish.
  9. For business-minded kids, pair The Lemonade War with a coin counter bank.
  10. All the elementary school kids will love The Invention of Hugo Cabret, but you can pair it with tin wind-up toys for extra flair.
  11. Give Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little with um, Stuart Little.
  12. Give Kimchi & Calamari with a promise for a dinner out Korean style, or Italian style, or both.
  13. Wrap up A Crooked Kind of Perfect with excellent toe socks.
  14. Perhaps Fabulous Hair with a collection of hair accessories will make someone smile.
  15. Pair a diary-format book like Lucy Rose: Big on Plans (3rd/4th grade), Amelia’s Notebook (4th/5th grade), or The Princess Diaries (6th/7th grade) with a journal and fun pens.
  16. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6
  17. For a boy, how about the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Third Wheel with the Do It Yourself Journal?
  18. Or maybe Here Be Monsters! with a Nightmare Snatcher Journal.
  19. Have fun with Clarice Bean Spells Trouble and a game of Scrabble.
  20. Pair Phineas MacGuire... Erupts! with a science kit, or the next book in the series, Phineas MacGuire... Gets Slimed! with the slime science kit.
  21. Look to fantastic nonfiction, giving Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon with a homemade coupon for a visit to the Air and Space Museum (okay, this might only work around Washington, D.C.) or astronaut ice cream.
  22. Give a drawing book like Draw 50 Aliens or Draw 50 Animals with a couple of nice sketch pads.
  23. Pair a spy-themed book like Harriet the Spy (chapter book) or The Real Spy’s Guide to Becoming a Spy (nonfiction) with rear-view sunglasses and/or a fingerprint kit.
  24. World According to Humphrey
  25. Bigger girls like stuffed animals, too. How about Hoot with an owl or The World According to Humphrey with a hamster?
  26. Select a magic book and fun magic tricks.
  27. Pair D.I.Y.: Kids with a gift card to a local craft store, and maybe some shopping and crafting time together.
  28. Match the book and the movie, like The Spiderwick Chronicles with the DVD.
  29. Pair a theme book like Katie and the Mustang with a horse charm and a satin cord from a craft store.
  30. Or maybe Fairy Realm with a charm bracelet.
  31. Give the first books of The Series of Unfortunate Events with a brass telescope.
  32. Pair The Art Book for Children with watercolor paints or an art set.
  33. Give Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart or Poetry Speaks to Children with hot chocolate, a mug, and a gift certificate for time to read it together.
  1. Give the companion books Goth Girl Rising and The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl , and throw in How to Draw Comic Book Heroes and Villains.
  2. Pair a book that you and a teen can enjoy with a gift card to Starbucks and a promise to talk about the book over coffee. Some suggestions? Liar, Candor, or The Adoration of Jenna Fox have interesting issues.
  3. Beauty Queens
  4. Give Beauty Queens with a small makeup kit, and a healthy dose of irony.
  5. Rock out with Beige along with a mix CD of the songs in the chapter titles (or an iTunes gift card).
  6. Buy a teen Dramarama along with tickets to a show.
  7. Pair House of Dance with ballroom dance lessons.
  8. Give delicious book A La Carte with personal cooking lessons.
  9. Match casino gambling themed Drop with a deck of cards and a family game of penny poker or blackjack.
  10. Pair King Dork with a CD of The Mr. T Experience.
  11. Treat a tween to Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf along with pink nail polish, lipstick, post-it notes, and special bubble bath, as mentioned in the book.
  12. Pair The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting and/or the completely unrelated YA fiction Chicks with Sticks with yarn, knitting needles, and a promise for some lessons.
  13. Give Ductigami: The Art of Tape with... well, rolls of duct tape.
  1. Give nonfiction book Fruitless Fall with real honey from a whole foods store.
  2. Geography of Bliss
  3. Buy two copies of The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World  — one for you, one for a friend — and make a lunch date to talk about the book and one’s personal quest for happiness.
  4. Pair Life is Sweet with chocolate, any kind.
  5. Give This I Believe II with the first book This I Believe and a journal to capture great revelations of inner truth.
  6. Recapture that one exciting election year when we had hope with Dreams From My Father and Life’s The American Journey of Barack Obama.
  7. Match travel memoir-themed books with the... um, drink of the region. Like In a Sunburned County with Yellow Tail wine from Australia or The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific with coconut rum. (Adults only for this gift, obviously.)
  8. Colbert fans and soon-to-be converts need the new book, America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't along with the greatest gift of all, the DVD A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All.
  9. Give The Devil Wears Prada, Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, or Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office, and This Little Piggy Went to Prada in a Prada bag (from eBay! C’mon, a girl can dream...)
Wrap a Book
  1. Wrap your book up in solid paper and tie a cool scarf around it. I love this red and white striped one, which would look great with red or green paper.
  2. For just a little something extra, make these headbands the ribbons around your wrapped package.
  3. Strawberry bags
  4. Try reusable shopping bags — wrap in one, attach another in its pouch as a gift. These bags fold up into little strawberries. Cute!
  5. Or tuck a book or two in an Aeropostale tote.
  6. Wrap a cookbook in photocopies of your favorite recipes. A knitting book with your own favorite patterns. Or hey, wrap a book about finances in real money.
  7. Wrap your book up in a clever Threadless t-shirt. Want a literary theme? They’ve got that covered. But my favorite shirt has to be the Harry Potter inspired Tee Which Shall Not be Named.
  8. If you’re going the book gift card route, give it in a recycled newspaper change purse.
  9. Maybe you just want to attach a little something to the gift for fun. I suggest a keychain, bookmarks, an ornament, bangle-bracelets, locker magnets, or lip gloss. You can find these online, but personally, I go to the very back of Claire’s stores where they often have incredible discounts on such little things.
  10. Okay, I listed keychains, but here are some reading-themed ones like this one.
  11. And yes I mentioned bookmarks, but not a Reading Ninja bookmark.
  12. Don’t have the time or energy to deal with the mall? Find a little booklight to tie on the package. I like the look of this one
Add a Book-Themed, Handmade Gift
    Recycled Book Notecards
  1. Give recycled book postcards like these Armful of Books.
  2. Everyone isn’t on GoodReads, so here’s a little reading journal.
  3. For home, locker or cubicle cabinets, some reading-themed Bottle Cap Magnets.
  4. Bibliophiles don’t need to hide their love of the page with a Bookish necklace.
  5. Or proclaim a love of words on your ears with Shakespeare earrings.
  6. A sweet art print for people who love to read.
  7. Or for another take, a print of a favorite animal on vintage book pages. I’m a fan of this peacock, but you can pick from many kinds — like this artistic fantasy tree.
  8. Maybe give a tote to carry those tomes, but one with attitude — like My book club can beat up your book club. Book Fiend has many other gift ideas for literary folk
  9. Maybe give a book loving coffee mugs filled with chocolates for a special treat.
  10. Send out some love to the readers with a special cover of words.

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Michelle said...

I discovered another fabulous recycled book craft recently. Check out Rebound Designs on etsy.com. She takes old books and turns them into purses!

She assured me that "No first editions were harmed in the making of these bags."

Coleen Patrick said...

This is great!! Books are by far my favorite gift to give, but this makes it so much more special. Thanks :)

Doret said...

I know this took a long time to put together and it looks wonderful. The pairing selections are great.

Julie Hedlund said...

Wow, this post is nothing short of amazing! I'm bookmarking it so I can come back to it once I'm in the throes of shopping. Thank you for putting this together!

Anonymous said...

Awesome ideas! I hope to try a few.

Jackie Castle said...

This is such a great post, I shared it over at The Castle Library under Advent Ideas. I may pick a few of your ideas myself for gifts.
Thanks so much for posting this.

Sarah Stevenson said...

I'm going to be totally gauche and shamelessly self-promotional here, but you could give a copy of The Latte Rebellion along with one of the mugs or shirts from Zazzle and a gift card to Starbucks/etc.

And, if you have a lot of money (hey, somebody might) you could give a copy of Map of My Dead Pilots by Colleen Mondor along with an Alaskan cruise. :D (I was going to say flying lessons, but then it occurred to me that might be in bad taste...)

Thanks again, as always, for this awesome list. I posted a link on the blog today! Hugs.

Unknown said...

LOVE this! I am so impressed, some awesome ideas here for this year and future gift-giving occasions!

Ami said...

Wow, you really added to it this year! You've inspired a giveaway on my blog - http://amomssparetime.blogspot.com/2012/11/christmas-giveaway-day-1.html Looking forward to seeing more ideas to steal - er - borrow!