Here are some of our favorite books this year. We still love our books from the 1st and 2nd edition lists too, so please take a look at those for more ideas. I tried to include a wide age range of books. This list is always impossible to keep small. I tried my best, it could have been three times as big.
Thirsty, by M.T. Anderson: I got this YA book from the library for vacation reading and Sadie got a hold of it before I did. I couldn't find it for a long time and then had to return it, so I haven't read it, but she has multiple times and has since bought her own copy. She said it's funny, scary, sad, very well written, and best for kids 12 and older.
Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder : This beautiful book was given to us by a dear friend and we all adore it. In it, the life of ballerina Anna Pavlova is illustrated by Julie Morstad, a favorite illustrator of ours. It's so lovely to read and look at, it's a real treasure.
Finish This Book, by Keri Smith: I don't think I can write a book list without including a book by Keri Smith. This is part journal, part activity book, and part writing/action-prompt book. Sadie has this one, loves it, and it's perfect for age 12 and up, we think. What is so special about her books is that they guide while being open-ended. I actually don't know what Sadie writes in hers, it's her private book, but I remember what it looked like blank, and I want one for myself.
The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt: This is the second book in a delightful and wry series that we love. We bought it as soon as we saw it. It's a picture book, perfect for younger kids, but we all read it repeatedly.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be, by Emily Winfield Martin: This book, beautifully written and illustrated book by our dear friend Emily Martin is adored in this house. All her books are amazing—so carefully composed and drawn. And who doesn't love small pants for squirrels? This would make a very special gift for a baby's library.
Lone Wolf (Wolves of the Beyond, Book 1), by Kathryn Lasky : My 8-year-old is in love with this series we are reading to her. She is obsessed with the woods, animals, and nature-based magic and lore. She is our little survivalist. These are told from the point of view of the wolf, who in the first book is raised by a bear. These aren't humorous, and can be a bit harsh, and she loves them. There is an owl series, too, that we will most likely read.
How to Draw Fantasy Art and RPG Maps: Step by Step Cartography for Gamers and Fans, by Jared Blando: I found this book when we were learning about cartography and sort of freaked out. It's very well organized and full of ideas, not just for landscapes, but for structures (Dragon's Lair! Ancient Portal!) towns, cities, and forests and even heraldry and shield design. I love Jared's drawing style, it's friendly but also exact, and we were all able to easily draw detailed maps using this book. Drawing maps from scratch can be really paralyzing, and this book makes it very easy to start.
I hope this helps your gift giving! I know many small indie book shops carry these titles. Support them! Or maybe today you need to shop in your pajamas. I have linked these to amazon, where I am an associate, so if you use my links (while in your pajamas) I thank you!