Children’s Books to Gift this Holiday Season

There are some books that are so well done they practically beg to be read again and again. Here are some of favorites of the year that young book lovers will want you to read over and over and are good enough that you won’t mind doing so. It’s not too late for a little more holiday shopping, right?

Board Books











These are all very cute board books. I read Quantum Entanglement¬†and I still couldn’t tell you what it really is but what a great way of introducing science to babies! One of several titles in the Baby University series.

Picture Books


A beautifully illustrated story of what life is all about.

An outrageously silly story that you will enjoy reading as much as your child enjoys hearing it.

A new Olivia story that’s as sophisticated, clever and sassy as ever.

The story is thoughtful and interesting but this book is worth it for the illustrations alone.

A tribute to America and all Americans illustrated with Kadir Nelson’s gorgeous paintings.

New parents will appreciate the clever, sly humor and graphic style of this.

A riot of color and sound!


Chapter Books

Historical fiction with strong characters and a good plot. At times a little sad but handled delicately.

Feisty, larger-than-life characters (mostly Gertie) who get themselves into unbelievably embarrassing and hilarious situations. Would make a great family readaloud.

A thought-provoking coming-of-age story about family, mental health and dealing with the curveballs life throws your way.



Best Storytime Ever: All the Other Stuff

Yes, I know it’s been a while. I was conferencing, Christmas decorating and caroling. Now, for your reading pleasure, the final installment of this storytime series. We’ve talked about the basics, and music and books. Let’s talk about all the other stuff!

Storytime can be whatever you want it to be. You can keep it simple: just books and music. You can make it elaborate with lots of different stations, props, puppets, instruments, and fancy hand motions! We’re all doing books and music. It’s those extra elements that will set your storytime apart from the rest and may become ‘your thing’ that patrons come to know and love.

Activity Stations

We always have stations at our storytimes because we believe that play is an important part of the storytime experience. There are usually 3-5 stations set up and they vary depending on the theme and personal preference. We’re more concerned about providing good activities rather than the stations being on a theme, though. Activity stations you may find at storytime……

Art – open-ended process focused


Small Motor


Large Motor




Simple Science






Puppets – Either ones you’ve purchased or ones you’ve made yourself

Flannelboards – These can be pricey and you can easily DIY your own flannelboard sets

Objects related to the theme or story

Mystery box/bag/basket – A box or other container large enough to hold a few items. Have kids reach in and without looking feel the item. Have them guess what it is then reveal the items as you and the children talk about what the items are and how they relate to the theme.

Storytelling basket – Contains items representing a story that you can use when retelling a story. Then can be set out for children to play with and retell the story themselves.

Anything can be a prop!


A few instruments that you may want to have on hand to use whenever.

Ukulele – With just a few chords you can play a ton of children’s songs. You can get these pretty inexpensively, there are lots of YouTube videos to teach yourself and parents will be so impressed to have live music at storytime!

Rhythm Sticks – Set the rules for playing and you can have a good time with these. Jbrary has a few songs for rhythm sticks.


Shakers – bought or DIY’d

Scarves – Not an instrument but they seem to fit here

Ribbon Rings – Get one or two sets of shower curtain rings and tie ribbons or strips of inexpensve plastic tablecloths around them. Instant shower of color at storytime!

Slide whistle

Music wand




DIY instruments

Loved this idea of a bell made from an empty can, ribbon and a bead. It worked, too!

How fun would a washboard be?

Other things to consider…….

A storytime cheer – classes do this and I think it would be a fun way to end a storytime

Mindfulness moment – I bought this set and it’s super cute. Big, colorful cards each with an action to foster calmness or energy in kids. Social/emotional development is a big focus in early childhood right now and this would be a simple way to encourage that with kids and families at storytime.¬†


There’s no right or wrong as long as what you’re doing helps move the kids a little further down the road to literacy and you’re all having good fun.

Until next time!