Updated: Dec 29, 2022
I always give my kids books for holidays. I give Christmas themed books on Saint Nicholas Day, or as gifts from our elf. (Read here for more on why I love celebrating St. Nicholas Day.) On Christmas, I give them books that they can read throughout the year. I find my kids get particularly excited about books that are part of a series. Its the same for adults too, just like we like to watch the characters on long running tv shows right? But of course reading gives them so much more than television. (Please note, I am not anti- screen time.) Reading increases their vocabulary, exercises their imagination, immerses them in different characters perspectives developing empathy skills and of course each book helps them become a more fluent reader. (Just to name a few benefits!) If you are looking for a series to gift a child, I have compiled a list of some excellent choices.
This article contains affiliate links. DM may earn a small commission on purchases at no cost to the reader. All recommendations were chose by me and not influenced by anyone.
4-8 Years Old
Dr. Seuss beginner books are excellent for new readers. The rhyming structure, the repetition and the silly words than can be "sounded out" are beneficial for young readers, in addition to being interesting and fun. My three year old loves when I read him these books. My older boys really enjoyed reading these books in Kindergarten, but will stick pick one up for fun.
All my boys enjoy Pig the Pug, but my six year old is most interested in this series. He finds Pig's trials and tribulations hilarious, especially because they often include foul smells. These books also usually include a lesson where Pig learns how to act respectfully and responsibly, i.e. tell the the truth, clean up after himself etc. If the collection is out of your price range, I included the first book and one of our favorites!
These are great first chapter books. They start when Junie B Jones is almost six years old in Kindergarten, and later first grade. There are 28 books published between 1992 and 2013, but parents get ready; there is going to be renewed interest in these books because Nickelodeon will be making an adaptation of the books.
My oldest dragon started reading Mercy Watson in the middle of first grade. Mercy Watson is a lovable, cheerful pig who loves buttered toast who often gets into precarious situations.
In the first of the Magic Treehouse books, Jack and Annie, a brother and sister find a magic treehouse full of books. Through these magic treehouse books, the siblings travel through time on all types of adventures from encounters with prehistoric dinosaurs to crossing the Delaware with George Washing. There are 28 books for young chapter book readers probably around second grade on average. (The official age range is 6-10.) It is an extremely quick read if my third grader picks one up. The newer books called the Merlin Mission books for a little bit more advanced readers, like third and fourth graders. (Official age range 7-10.)
My son started reading this Stink series in first grade, but the main character is a second grader; so these books are very popular with second graders. Stink is a very interesting guy. He is smart and loves to learn. But, he does more than just read facts in the encyclopedia, he is an adventurous learner. Stink learns about all kinds of things that are interesting to second graders like spiders, slimey things, smelly things, space, pets, candy and more. I included links to the first set of 3, and a larger set of 10.
Ages 8 +
You probably read Roald Dahl as a kid, and if you not, I'm sure you've seen some movie adaptations of his books. My favorite is Matilda, but of course Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, BFG and James and Giant Peach are equally amazing. I don't know if I've ever seen so many classics in one collection!
I will never forget reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing at 9 years old. The main character, Peter is frustrated with his two and half year old brother, Fudge, which we can all relate to. Spoiler alert! Fudge eats Peter's pet turtle! Judy Blume's stories stand the test of time. Disney is about to turn Superfudge, originally published in 1980, into an animated film.
My 8 year old has a plethora of Goosebumps and has been collecting them since BEFORE he could read. At 4-5 years old he would have me read a few pages every night at bedtime. Now, he can read them flawlessly in third grade, although I think junior high is the target age because many characters are 12. If your kids like a little dose of creepy, without being gory or too realistically scary, these are the books for them.
We all know how enormously popular the Harry Potter Series is, but you may not know, it the best selling book series IN HISTORY. I am gifting my third grader this series for Christmas and I am so excited about it! He has only seen the first and second movie. I would love for him to engross himself in the rich words before he sees any more. And, how fun is it so see a movie after you have read the book and compare and contrast. (O.K it's less fun when the adaptation is not done well, but we know Rowlings' works are spectacular on screen.)
My sister, a high school counselor, bought my kids the Ninja Life Hacks Growth Mindset set, and I am so glad she did. They love all the characters shown on the back of the book and can't wait to read about each one, and the lessons are so very clear. The stories are very relevant to the current issues and technology as well. The books are great tools for parents or teachers to discuss various topics. I particularly enjoy Gritty ninja, Anxious Ninja and Perfect Ninja. Learning to never give up through failures and learning tools to deal with anxiety are HUGE for kids these days. There's also Unplugged Ninja who want to discuss screen time use with their kids. I'm hoping she gifts them another set this Christmas. (Hint, hint if you're reading this!)
The Magic of Me series is a personal growth series are designed to help kids with their confidence and making choices for their health and happiness.
Bonus Recommendation- If you are looking for a book for a reader who loves video games, check out the Trapped in a Video Game Series.
Christmas shopping season is one of my favorite times of year. Buying gifts of learning or sentimentality are my favorite. Books can be both!