Reading Guides

Gift Guide for Young Readers 2020


Curated by Erin Wasinger, 
ERB Contributing Editor
Specializing in Books for Young Readers

I want to give a child at Christmas the kind of book that’ll have dog-eared pages and a spine that lays flat by New Years. It’s a bonus if the title makes appearances again and again, in March, September; in conversations: “Hey, this reminds me of that one book ..!”

And to give a child that perfect book takes some insight. I’m here today to provide a guide to some great reads for kids up to middle-grade chapter books or so. If none of these sound just right, a gift card to a local indie bookstore is always a great option, too.

Starting something new

Top rec:

The Vanderbeekers series, including the latest: The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found (Book 4), by Karina Yan Glaser (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2020)

I wish I were a Vanderbeeker: this family’s children are empathetic without being saccharine, helping to solve realistic problems in their community.

Other faves:

For younger readers:


For animal fans

Top rec:

Beastly Puzzles: A Brain-Boggling Animal Guessing Game, by Rachel Poliquin (Kids Can Press, 2019)

Each page starts with listing common items: great. Now, what animal could you make using these items? It’s more challenging than you think! 

Other faves:




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