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2019 CLJ Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for Book Lovers

November 21, 2019

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We love to give five gifts to our girls for Christmas each year — something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read, and something to encourage their natural talents. To help check off the “something to read,” I invited my friend, Meagan (who I’ve known for 10 years!), to round up some of the best for all ages.

You can find Meagan on Instagram @meagansbookclub, where she hosts a daily online book club, reviewing books and encourages others to read by sparking conversation over new releases and backlist books. The online book community, dubbed “bookstagram” has become a place where readers have found their “book people,” including Meagan. Here are her book recs for every age, along with a fun gift to pair with the book!


BOOKS FOR CHILDREN1. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae: Entertaining rhymes and beautifully illustrated pages. Giraffes Can’t Dance will ignite power and inspiration in every child to explore his or her own individuality. $5

Pair with: Project Nursery Firefly Jar, $39


2. King Bidgood’s In The Bathtub by Audrey Wood: A classic and loved children’s book! King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub is endearingly charming and full of outstanding illustrations. $7

Pair with: Munchkin Bath Crayons, $10


3. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle: This charming children’s book is sure to bring giggles from all with a wonderful cast of animal characters and a lesson in friendship. Beep! Beep! Beep! $5

Pair with: Melissa and Doug Shape-Sorting Dump Truck, $19


4. Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty: In this phenomenally illustrated children’s book, you’ll follow determined Rosie as she faces challenges and overcomes self-doubt. $8

Pair with: Gathre mat, $78


5. Skippyjon Jones Cirque de Ole by Judy Schachner: Try this one on audiobook; the kids will get a kick out of the voices! Skippyjon Jones is cleverly written with eye-catching illustrations. $11

Pair with: Big Hugging Plush Kitten, $27


6. Indestructible Baby Book Set by Indestructibles: Chew-proof, rip-proof, and drool-proof. These 100% nontoxic baby books are the perfect companion for busy babies who love to explore. $28

Pair with: Teething Necklace Silicone Beads, $12



7. Owl Diaries: Eva’s Treetop Festival by Rebecca Elliott: Ready for the next step in reading level? The Owl Diaries is the perfect fit for any young reader who is looking to build confidence but still wants the fun of illustrations and fast-paced plots. $4

Pair with: Calming Weighted Blanket for Kids, $59


8. The Bad Guys in The Big Bad Wolf by Aaron Blabey: This New York Times bestselling series is bound to make the entire audience roll with laughter (even the adults!). Every story is full of fun, quick-witted banter, with maybe the occasional potty joke. $4

Pair with: Exploding Kittens Card Game, $19


9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling: You can never go wrong with Harry Potter! This edition of The Goblet of Fire will excite even the most experienced reader and its beautiful illustrations are sure to delight new and old fans alike. $22

Pair with: LEGO Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire Hungarian Horntail Triwizard Challenge, $24


10. Tale of Magic by Chris Colfer: From the same author who wrote The Land of Stories series, Chris Colfer (yes, Kurt from Glee!) brings us the prequel where more adventure awaits. $13

Pair with: SingHong Neck Book Light, $13


11. The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel by Rick Riordan: This graphic novel goes side by side with the original book and is perfect for readers who may struggle diving into a 300+ page book. You can’t go wrong with the Percy Jackson saga! $8

Pair with: Percy Jackson Mad Libs, $4



12. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins :Dubbed as one of the sweetest teen contemporary romances of this decade, you’ll fall in love with the charming characters and the magic of Paris. $9

Pair with: Bath Bombs, $26.80


13. The Lunar Chronicles by Melissa Meyer: The perfect mash up of fairy tales and science fiction, The Lunar Chronicles takes on classic childhood stories to a whole new level. $54

Pair with: Wall Tapestry, $39


14. Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: Absolutely strange and wonderful, this YA thriller sets the stage for a series that opens up a whole new world of characters, creatures, and of course, the peculiar. $4

Pair with: Kånken Water Resistant Backpack, $80


15. The Amber Project (The Variant Saga) by J N Chaney. A dystopian series that takes place 200 years after the world ends and their future begins. In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. $19

Pair with: Vans Sk8-Hi Sneaker, $64


16. The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton: While set in the 1960s, this classic book provides many teachable moments while discussing the evolution of gangs, social inequalities, and the capacity to make a better life for oneself. $5

Pair with: Neff Beanie, $16



17. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Pro-tip, pick up the audiobook of Daisy Jones. This fictional story of drugs, sex, and rock n’ roll reads like a VH1 documentary. It has the same grit and passion that Reid brings to every one of her novels. $20

Pair with: Cruiser Deluxe Turntable, $69


18. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: With millions of fans, Outlander interlaces history, adventure, and a love story that will be sure to keep you up all night! $6

Pair with: J.Crew Flannel Pajamas, $98


19. Beartown by Fredrik Backman: Don’t assume this book is only about hockey. The depth of characters, heartbreak, hope, and redemption are the shining stars in this book. Backman is a storyteller for the ages and will pull at all the heart strings. $16

Pair with: Saranoni blanket, $99


20. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty: Are you having a destination holiday this year and need to bring a beach book? Look no further. Moriarty’s thought-provoking writing prompts the reader to place themselves in Alice’s shoes and ask some serious questions. $16

Pair with: Birdling Everyday Tote, $68


21. American Royals by Katharine McGee: A royal family set in America? Yes please! This fast-paced and downright charming novel will check all the boxes for you: non-stop glamour, delicious secrets, and forbidden love! $8

Pair with: Origins Charcoal Face Mask, $27


22. Becoming by Michelle Obama: Fascinating and beautifully written, Becoming is one of those timeless memoirs that needs to be included in your collection. Obama gives the reader insights into the nitty gritty from her childhood and some of the obstacles she has encountered throughout her life. $11

Pair with: Stoneware  Monogrammed Mug, $5



23. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson: A true comedian, Bryson narrates his experience hiking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail stretching from Georgia to Maine. $9

Pair with: Suunto Military Outdoor Watch, $130


24. The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game by Steven Rinella: Star of the popular Netflix show Meat Eater, Steven Rinella uses his decades of experience to guide his readers in the hunting process, beginning with harvesting an animal all the way to the dinner table. $21

Pair with: Firebox Stainless Steel Stove, $49


25. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: Where are my ’80s babies at? Ready Player One is the ultimate nostalgic experience. Cline builds an entirely new dystopian world set in 2044, where you’ll still find yourself guessing until the very last page. $12

Pair with: Back to the Future shirt, $8


26. The Guardians by John Grisham: Going back to his roots, Grisham delivers an old-school legal thriller, where the killer has left no clues and no evidence of a motive. The main character, who never takes on innocent cases, proceeds to represent the man who was convicted and sent to prison for life. $14

Pair with: Better Call Saul “Jimmy McGill” Bobblehead, $24


27. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou: Elizabeth Holmes fooled almost everyone into believing her “invention” of the Theranos blood-testing machine would revolutionize the biotech industry. There was just one problem: It was all a lie. $15

Pair with: Apple Airpods Pro, $229



Would love to hear if there are any books you’re excited about gifting this year!



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What do you think?

  1. Jen says:

    For young adults I would suggest The keeper of the Lost Cities series!

  2. Kaitlin says:

    Great suggestions! I loved Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl and Small Fry by Lisa Jobs this year, in addition to the ones you’ve suggested. If you have a graphic novel enthusiast among your girls she might like one of the books by Raina Telgemeier. And for the feminists in your life, Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister is phenomenal!

  3. Amanda says:

    I love the 5 gift idea, all with different themes. What a wonderful idea!

    I love the way these books are organized. While, most women will read basically anything, men in the other hand, will not necessarily (though I know some will!) read what women will. Great selection, I can’t wait to pick and choose what to read next year.

  4. Ella says:

    If you like the Percy Jackson series, you should check out the books from the new Rick Riordan Presents series. He is publishing more adventure books for kids, but these books are by under-represented authors. Same concept as the Percy Jackson books but with different cultural influences, like Maya, Navajo, Hindu, and West African stories instead of Ancient Greek gods. (I swear I don’t work for the publisher or anything, I just like the books and want to support these authors!)

  5. Rachael says:

    Books are always the presents I am most excited to buy! (I have six kids and I’m an English professor, guess it goes with the territory.) ???? I really gravitate towards classic picture books with gorgeous illustrations (my favorite thing to do with my kids is read to them, so it has to be fun for me too!). I’ve got a giant list on my blog if you’d like more recommendations (by genre, season, age, etc.) at My number-one pick would be Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney.

    LOVE the idea of pairing the book with another gift—thank you for introducing that concept to me!

  6. Jeanna says:

    Loved her suggestions!

  7. Katie says:

    I was also wondering why these books are ‘gender assigned’… books are books! Which ones have you read and can personally recommend? Thanks!

  8. Chelsea says:

    I’ve read nine of the 10 adult books (all except The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game…not my thing) and highly agree with the recommendations. Great job Meagan! The “pairings” are really creative too.

  9. Alex says:

    Tried to subscribe for your love letter, but it didn’t work. Tried twice with different email adresses and checked the spam filter. Nothing. What a pity. Would really love to hear from you!!!

  10. Jana says:

    Super odd that the books are separated by gender lol. Also, which ones have you guys read? Bc the descriptions sound suuuper generic, esp for the ones I’ve read!

  11. Lauren says:

    Idk why the adult books are gendered… I’m a woman and Bad Blood was the most interesting book I’ve read all year. I read in a couple days because I couldn’t put it down!

  12. Samantha says:

    Serious lack of representation and diversity… um

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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