There is a four-year-old girl who comes to the library every week with her mother and older sister. When they came in last week, her mother mentioned to me that she and her girls had just sat down to make their Christmas wish lists together. The four-year-old had asked for many of the expected things: Shopkins, an American Girl doll, and a few other popular toys. To her mother’s surprise and pleasure, the four-year-old also mentioned another wish: For Christmas she wants to learn to read.

When you think about it, reading really is a gift. It provides hours and hours of entertainment, it enriches the mind, and it opens up so many possibilities.

This holiday season, don’t forget about the books! They may not be on your little one’s wish list, but they’re a wonderful addition to the stack of presents under your tree. I bought my fair share of Shopkins, LEGOs, and a couple of Barbie dolls this year, but I always do my best to complement a toy with a related book. Know a kid who’s interested in science? Pair a science experiment kit with Andrea Beaty’s newest picture book Ada Twist, Scientist [CLiF Note: This book was also recently recommended by CLiF Advisor/Bear Pond Books‘ Jane Knight, so you know it’s good!] This year, my five-year-old niece requested LEGO Friends. I paired a LEGO Friends ice cream cart kit with Eric Litwin’s Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs. One of my other nieces loves Barbies, and she will be taking a plane to celebrate Christmas with our family. I paired Pilot Barbie with The Airport Book by Lisa Brown. The possibilities are endless!

There are many helpful sites with lists of suggested books to buy this holiday season, and many publications have released their Best Books of the Year lists:

School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2016

New York Times Notable Children’s Books of 2016

Publisher’s Weekly Holiday Gift Guide

One of the greatest resources of all, however, may be your local children’s librarian. One of the best and most rewarding parts of my job is matching a young reader to the perfect book. Ask us for recommendations. Tell us what’s on your child’s wish list, and we’ll work our magic to match your child with the right book. Children’s librarians know books and best of all, we love to share the gift of reading.

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