By Terri Schlichenmeyer
The Truth Contributor
You knew this was coming … again!
You knew that you were going to have to finish your holiday shopping soon but it snuck up on you, didn’t it? And even if you’re close to being done, there are always those three or five people who are impossible to buy for, right? Remember this, though: books are easy to wrap and easy to give, and they last awhile, too. So why not head to the bookstore with your Christmas List and look for these gifts…
For the businessperson who wants to spend this winter making that business grow, wrap up The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, Regain It by Sandra J. Sucher & Shalene Gupta. Highly researched, this book explains why trust may be the most important advantage you have in your business, what you need to do to maintain your clients’ trust, and what to do if you lose it.
If you’ve got someone on your gift list who struggles at work for whatever reason, then Anxiety at Work by Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton with Anthony Gostick will show you care about what they’re going through. This book offers eight strategies to overcome the Sunday Night Dreads, the lack of self-confidence, and the building of new relationships at work. Pair it with The Rejection That Changed My Life by Jessica Bacal, a book of essays from powerful, sometimes famous people about the “no” that led them to a career’s worth of “yesses.”
No doubt, there’s a budding leader on your gift list, so wrap up Make It, Don’t Fake It by Sabrina Horn. It’s a book that will help your entrepreneur to strive for authenticity in business and, by extension, in life. Then let that authenticity lead to impact by giving Impact Players: How to Take the Lead, Play Bigger, and Multiply Your Impact by Liz Wiseman.
Business is a hard game these days but Rogue Waves by Jonathan Brill will help ensure that the storm doesn’t last forever. This is a book that looks at the future, helping businesspeople to get there intact, make money, and survive. Wrap it up with Flux: 8 Superpowers for Thriving in Constant Change by April Rinne, a book that’ll help your business person to stay resilient. Pair it with Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval by Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., a book on leading in times like ours.
And for the person on your gift list who desires to be The Best this coming year, wrap up Your Pocket Guide to Corporate America: A Roadmap to Achievement by John Dortch. In this book are 14 “rules” to live and do business by, and all of them are easier than you’d think to incorporate into day-to-day life. Wrap it up and watch what happens!
Pets and Animals
If there’s someone on your list who loves animals, wildlife, and working to save them, then The Wild World Handbook: Creatures by Andrea Debbink, illustrated by Asia Orlando, is a great book to wrap up. This isn’t just about the animals or conservation efforts; it also includes easy-to-do projects to help creatures in the wild, mini-biographies of people who fought for conservation and preservation, and short chapters on animals and why we should care about them. This book is perfect for readers 12-to-17, but an adult who wants something light might likewise enjoy it. Pair it with Wild Life! by Re:wild and Syd Robinson, a book about weird and unique animals around the world, and what conservation efforts are doing to keep them there. Bonus: PICTURES!
The dog lover on your list will really like The Forever Dog by Rodney Habib & Dr. Karen Shaw Becker with Kristin Loberg. It’s a book filled with ideas and science that’ll help that puppy parent keep their fur-kid around a whole lot longer.
Beware of this as a gift: Why is My Child in Charge? by Claire Lerner is a book to help end frustration, power struggles, bratty kids, and upset parents. It’s helpful, kind, and clear-headed; just be careful, give it to the parent who expressly wants a book like this.
The parent or caregiver who was home with the family last Christmas might be fresh out of ideas about now, so wrap up The Ultimate At-Home Activity Guide by Mike Lowery. It’s chock-full of more than 100 activities for little kids, big kids, and grown-up kids, and some of them are quiet lesson-teachers. Bonus: give it to your favorite baby-sitter, too!
Health and Wellness
For the past months, it seems like we’ve heard a lot from doctors and nurses. So why not wrap up a book by a psychiatrist? In Committed: Dispatches from a Psychiatrist in Training, author Adam Stern, M.D. writes about what it’s like to be accepted for a prestigious program in which he and his colleagues learn to help patients on a psychiatric ward. Wrap it up with Being You: A New Science of Consciousness by Anil Seth, a book to help you tap into an inner self and get to know you.
Give this one carefully: Everything I Have Is Yours: A Marriage by Eleanor Henderson is a book about boy-meets-girl and love blossoms. It’s about two children and a Happily-Almost-Ever-After, until chronic illness steps in. It’s a hard book to absorb but for the right giftee, it may be the best gift to give. Also look for The Problem of Alzheimer’s by Jason Karlawish, a sort of history of the “crisis” and where science is taking its treatment.
If your giftee is determined to live life to the fullest this coming year, then Heartwood: The Art of Living with the End in Mind by Barbara Becker may be what you need to wrap. Yes, it’s the story of death but it’s also about the way that grief can lead to growth. Wrap it up with Crossing the River: Seven Stories That Saved My Life by Carol Smith, a book about loss and healing; or Little Matches: A Memoir of Grief and Light by Maryanne O’Hara, the story of a mother’s loss and a daughter’s gift.
Here’s a book that any reader can identify with: Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine by Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley. Learn what quarantine meant almost 400 years ago during The Black Death, what it means in a world with COVID-19, what we can expect during the next pandemic, and how this all meshes with the entire idea of freedom.
What to give to the person who loves the world of scent? Easy: Revelations in Air: A Guidebook to Smell by Jude Stewart. Yes, it’s about things that smell good (and bad) but it’s also informative, with lessons on how to practice to gain a discerning nose. Wrap it up with a scented candle or a bottle of perfume, of course.
For Picture Book Fans (kids ages 2-7)
The child who’s a budding ecologist will want to see All of Us by Kathryn Erskine, pictures by Alexandra Boiger. It’s a book that shows small kids that we live on a big ol’ world and we can take care of it together. Wrap it up with The Universe and You by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman, a book that’ll make your little stargazer very, very happy.
Small children who are ready for big ideas will love Begin with a Bee by Liza Ketchum, Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Phyllis Root, illustrated by Claudie McGehee. It’s the story of bees, and why we should help them. Also look for Except Antarctica! by Todd Sturgell, a very cute book about creatures on our southernmost continent; or Where’s My Cow? by Susan Blackaby, illustrated by Scott Brundage, a book about friendships.
For the kid who needs a dose of self-appreciation, you can’t go wrong with Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor, illustrated by Nabi H. Ali. It’s a book about an adorable Bangaladeshi-American girl who’s bullied. At first, it hurts her feelings, but she learns how to deal with kids who tease.
Sometimes, it’s hard to learn to make friends, so A Friend Like You by Frank Murphy and Charnaie Gordon, illustrated by Kayla Harren is perfect to give your little one this Christmas. It’s a book about getting along and being open to making pals with kids who don’t look like you. Wrap it up with Meesha Makes Friends by Tom Percival, a book about a girl who literally makes friends, or Sharing a Smile by Nicki Kramar, illustrations by Ashley Evans, a book about making friends when you’re both masked.
For the child who’s new to this country, or the kid with a new classmate who’s new will love The Color Collector by Nicholas Solis, illustrated by Renia Metallinou, the story of a small immigrant, the colors she sees around her and the ones she misses from her former home. Wrap it up with If Dominican Were a Color by Sili Recio, illustrated by Brianna McCarthy, for a great and wonderfully colorful gift.
If you want to wrap up pure silliness for your picture-book fan, then look for Monday by Lucy Branam, illustrated by Kevin M. Barry. Monday is the worst, right? Who needs it? Find out in this hilarious book, then pair it with A CAPE! by Marty Kelly, for the best kind of Christmas fun.
Quieter kids who love to create will love paging through Nerdycorn by Andrew Root, illustrated by Erin Kraan. It’s the super-colorful tale of Fern, who is not your “usual” unicorn; she prefers being in her laboratory, coding software, and creating with her chemistry set. The other unicorns make fun of her but when Unicorn Tragedy happens, who do you think saves the day? Wrap it up with Rock and Vole by Jennifer Sattler, a book about a little vole who loves her routine, and what happens when change arrives.
For Young Readers (kids ages 6-9)
The very young reader who shows an interest in history will love I Am Anne Frank by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. Based on Frank’s famous diaries, it’s a great entry to this subject and perfect for this age group.
Kids who drift more toward nonfiction books will love Jungle Animals: A Spotter’s Guide by Jane Wilsher. This book has the look of an encyclopedia, but it reads much easier and offers a ton of information for curious youngsters.
For the kid who loves to travel, you can’t go wrong with Little Kid, Big City! New York by Beth Beckman, illustrated by Holly Maher. It’s a book about all the fun things a kid can do in The Big Apple. Wrap it up with Keeping the City Going by Brian Floca, a book about transportation and movement in a big metropolis. Bonus: This book will be a treat for your truck-van-taxi-vehicle lover, too.
For Preteen Readers (kids ages 7-12)
The young jokester on your list will love unwrapping The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter. It’s the story of Billy Plimpton, who wants to be a comedian someday. Great idea, except for one little problem: Billy stutters.
Kids who love history will enjoy Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History by Schele Williams, a beautiful, colorful book that honors Black History year ’round.
Your young social justice activist will love seeing Racial Justice in America: Topics for Change by hedreich Nichols, Leigh Ann Erickson, and Kelisa Wing beneath the tree. It’s a book that explains racial issues of today, and gives kids things to think about. Wrap it up with Marching for Change: Movements Across America by Joyce Markovics, a book about some of the important marches that have been held in America over the past sixty years. Also look for Across the Tracks by Alverne Ball and Stacey Robinson a graphic novel that looks at the Tulsa Race Massacre in a way that’s very accessible for young readers to absorb.
Here’s a gift for the kid who dreams of being someone influential: Kid Innovators: True Tales of Childhood From Inventors and Trailblazers by Robin Steveenson, illustrated by Allison Steinfeld. It’s a book full of tales of young kids just like your giftee… who grew up to make a big difference. Wrap it up with a different kind of science book: Who Gives a Poop? by Heather L. Montgomery, illustrated by Iris Gottlieg is a fun book that shows kids how waste isn’t just icky.
If there’s a kid who loves art or who’s a museum fanatic, then The Ultimate Art Museum by Ferren Gipson is what you’ll want to give this year. It’s like having a permanent pass to visit paintings, sculptures, antiquities, and more. Bonus: your adult art fan will love it, too.
For the kid who’s fascinated by biographies, wrap up Signs of Survival by Renee Hartman with Joshua M. Greene. It’s the story of two sisters and their true story of the holocaust. Wrap it up with I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 by Lauren Tarshis, artwork by Alvaro Sarraseca, a book written in graphic-novel format, for a doubly great gift.
Kids who love a good biography might enjoy unwrapping Dr. Fauci by Kate Messner, illustrated by Alexandra Bye. It’s the story of Dr. Fauci, told in a wonderful kid-friendly form, and a quick tale of vaccines.Wrap it up with Jump at the Sun by Alicia D. Williams, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara, a picture biography of Zora Neale Hurston.
And speaking of history, another book young historians will want this holiday is The Who Was? History of the World, Deluxe Edition by Paula K. Manzanero. It’s full of quick-to-read but highly informative chapters on all sorts of historical figures you want your kid to know.
For Young Adults (kids 12 and up)
Check first, to be sure your giftee hasn’t already read this one: The Desolations of Devil’s Acre: the Sixth Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Ask, because this very popular series has many very rabid fans who may not have been able to wait to find out what happens next.
For the reader of romance with a twist, wrap up You & Me at the End of the World by Brianna Bourne. It’s a story of Armageddon, stuck with a boy who thinks he’s all that (or a girl who’s a bit of a nerd, depending on your point of view). Can they figure out what happened, and why they’re alone on the planet together?
Young readers who love history will want to unwrap When I Grow Up by Ken Krimstein. Written in graphic novel format, this book is a compilation of six stories of Yiddish teenagers and their lives on the edge of World War II.
Of LGBTQ Interest
If there’s about to be a new addition to your family, wrapping up Queer Stepfamilies: The path to Social and Legal Recognition by Katie L. Acosta would be a good thing. In this book, the author followed forty LGBTQ families to understand the joys, pitfalls, and legalities of forming a new union together. It can’t replace a lawyer, but it’s a good overview.
For the parent who wants to ensure that their child grows up with a lack of bias, Raising LGBTQ Allies by Chris Tompkins is a great book to give. It’s filled with methods to stop bullying in its tracks, to be proactive in having That Conversation, and how to be sure that the next generation you’re responsible for becomes responsible in turn. Wrap it up with The Healing Otherness Handbook by Stacee L. Reicherzer, PhD, a book that helps readers to deal with bullying by finding confidence and empowerment.
If there’s someone on your gift list who’s determined to get “fit” in the coming year, then give The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel this holiday. Told in graphic-novel format (comics, basically), it’s the story of searching for self-improvement and finding it in a surprising place.
So why not give a little nostalgia this year by wrapping up A Night at the Sweet Gum Head by Martin Padgett? It’s the tale of disco, drag, and drugs in the 1970s (of course!) in Atlanta, with appearances by activists, politics, and people who were there at that fabulous time. Wrap it up with After Francesco by Brian Malloy, a novel set a little later – in the mid-1980s in New York City and Minneapolis at the beginning of the AIDS crisis.
The LGBTQ activist on your gift list will want to read The Case for Gay Reparations by Omar G. Encarnacion. It’s a book about acknowledgment, obligation on the part of cis citizens, and fixing the pain that homophobia and violence has caused. Wrap it up with Trans Medicine: The Emergence and Practice of Treating Gender by Stef M. Shuster, a look at trans history that may also make your giftee growl.
Young readers who have recently transitioned with enjoy reading Both Sides Now by Peyton Thomas. It’s a novel about a high school boy with gigantic dreams and the means to accomplish them all. Can he overcome the barriers that life gives him? It’s debatable… Pair it with Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore, a book about two nonbinary students and the troubles they face as they fall in love.
The thriller fan on your list will be overjoyed to unwrap Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage. It’s the story of a young man with dying dreams of fame and fortune, who schemes to meet an older, more accomplished man with the hopes of sparking his failing career. But the older man isn’t who the younger thinks he is, and that’s not good. Wrap it up with Lies with Man by Michael Nava, a book about a lawyer who agrees to be counsel for a group of activists. Good so far, right? Until one of them is accused of being involved in a deadly bombing….
For the fan of Southern fiction, you can’t go wrong when you wrap up The Tender Grave by Sheri Reynolds. It’s the tale of two sisters, one homophobic, the other lesbian, and how they learn to forgive and re-connect.
And now for the housekeeping:
Keep in mind that, with the supply chain issues and all, publication dates may change and move. Books get canceled or they might be short-stocked, so be patient. If you have any questions, if you’re desperate for ideas, or if you need a good substitute, ask your favorite bookseller. Seriously, booksellers have special powers and they’ll know exactly what you need Trust the pros.