Reading Guides

Gift Guide for Young Readers 2020


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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.

Curious & creatives’

Older kids will love:

Courageous Creativity: Advice and Encouragement for the Creative Life by Sara Zarr (Beaming Books, 2020)

Have an artist on your hands? Besides buying paints or notebooks, toss in Sara Zarr’s awesome book. Full of practical advice and encouragement for creators of all types.

Others I can’t stop recommending:


Books like a fist-bump,
a hug, or a high five

Top Rec:

I am Every Good Thing by Derrick D. Barnes and Gordon C. James (illus.),  (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2020)

Black boys and their grown-ups need this book. And classmates, neighbors, friends, relatives, teachers, librarians — anyone who knows and loves a black boy — need to make sure the book ends up in their hands (after they’ve read it, too).

Other highlights:


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Erin Wasinger

Erin F. Wasinger is a writer, speaker, and an elementary school “library lady.” Erin’s also the cofounder of Spark Writers of Southern Michigan, blogger for, and author of The Year of Small Things: Radical Faith for the Rest of Us (Brazos, 2017). Find her online at:

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