Growing Reader

Holiday Book Gifts: Ages 6 – 8

by Jennifer Garry

Photo credit: praetorianphoto, E+ Collection/Getty Images

One of my favorite parts about holiday gift giving is finding the perfect book for each of the kids on my list. It’s especially fun for the 6- to 8-year-old set. They’re reading on their own and straddling the cusp between picture books and chapter books. As I pick out titles, I know they have the power to open up a whole new world for these little readers.

Whether they’re into fantastical adventures, engaging biographies, or hilarious fiction, the perfect book is out there. Here are some of my favorite picks for holiday gift giving.

  • My Book with No Pictures

    by B.J. Novak

    That is not a typo. The hilarious illustration-free children’s book The Book With No Pictures is back, but this time there’s a super fun twist. The original made kids and parents alike laugh with all of its ridiculous nonsense words and silly phrases (a fan favorite: Boo Boo Butt). This version allows readers to take part in writing the story. The Mad Libs-like fill-in-the-blank formula includes plenty of gentle suggestions (plus a sheet of nonsense word stickers) to ensure little readers don’t get stuck or frustrated. The result is a living, breathing story that can change each and every time you read it.

  • Magic Tree House: Deluxe Holiday Edition: Christmas in Camelot

    by Mary Pope Osborne

    The Magic Tree House series is a huge hit with kids who are dipping their toes into chapter books. Following a brother and sister who discover a tree house in the woods that can take them to the places they read about in books, there is something for lovers of just about any genre in this series. The new, over-sized deluxe edition of Christmas in Camelot features brand new full-color illustrations. In this story, Jack and Annie get invited to spend Christmas Eve in Camelot — but what they don’t know is that they’ll end up on a quest to save it!

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  • Yay!

    by Wee Society

    For kids who love to celebrate (and who doesn’t?!), this fill-in journal features little-known holidays and creative, super fun ways to celebrate them. From National Popcorn Day to Measure Your Feet Day, Hug Your Cat Day and everything in between, the journal is bursting with ideas for crafts, experiments, adventures, and more to create new memories and family traditions. Kids can document these special celebrations in the journal, which is sure to become a family treasure.

  • The Gift Inside the Box

    by Adam Grant & Allison Sweet Grant, illustrated by Diana Schoenbrun

    At a time of year when kids are hopped up on gifts and making mile-long wish lists, The Gift Inside the Box is a sweet story that focuses on generosity. A mysterious box drops out of the sky and goes in search of someone to open him. Unwilling to settle for the grabby or the selfish, the box searches for someone who is giving — maybe it could even be the person reading the book. With a velcro cover that makes opening it feel like an unboxing, this book serves as a reminder of what the holiday season should really be about.

  • If I Built a School

    by Chris Van Dusen

    Fans of Van Dusen’s companion books If I Built a Car and If I Built a House will love the latest fantastical book starring his incredibly creative protagonist, Jack. Like many kids, Jack is a dreamer. In this book, Jack fantasizes about his dream school and what exactly it would be like. In rhyming couplets, Jack tells readers all about the hovering desks, trampoline basketball court, robo-chef, and field trips to Mars. Sure to get some giggles, this book will also get imaginations revved up as kids think about what their dream schools would be like.

  • I am Walt Disney

    by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

    From the Ordinary People Change the World series, I am Walt Disney tells the story of the man behind Mickey Mouse. Like all of the biographies in this picture book series, the story is told in a lively, conversational way that draws in young readers and makes a larger-than-life figure feel a little bit more accessible. It touches on things like Disney’s childhood influences and includes a timeline and photos that help bring his story to life.

  • Just Ask!

    by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Rafael López

    A great gift for all kids — especially those who feel different — Just Ask! by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the differences people of all ages have and how they contribute to a vibrant community, much like flowers in a garden. Sotomayor, who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age seven, starts off the book with a letter to readers explaining her disease, how it made her different, and how she grew to realize that lots of people are different. The story itself centers around a group of friends who are planting a garden together. All of the plants are unique and need different things to thrive, just like people. Throughout the story, Sotomayor encourages readers to ask questions when curious about kids who might be different.

  • There’s No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System

    by Tish Rabe, illustrated by Aristides Ruiz

    Fans of Dr. Seuss will adore this fun and informative story all about space. Follow the Cat in the Hat as he takes young space explorers on a journey across our solar system. Featuring delightful illustrations and the same sing-song rhyming style for which Seuss is famous, this book is a great introduction to astronomy for beginner readers.

  • Red Riding Hood

    by Beatrix Potter, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

    Fairy tale lovers will enjoy this darker take on the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood. Written over 100 years ago, Beatrix Potter’s version of the tale is illustrated for the first time by Helen Oxenbury. The beautiful illustrations add both tension and humor to the story, which will be a big hit with fans of Potter’s original works.

  • Hi, Jack!

    by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli

    A great way to get beginning readers on the path to chapter books, Hi Jack! is part of the A Jack Book series, and is sure to win over fans of the Elephant & Piggie books. Barnett takes readers on a wild and hilarious adventure that involves a mischievous rabbit named Jack, petty theft, and lipstick graffiti. It’s silly and engaging and perfect for reading aloud.

  • The Fate of Fausto

    by Oliver Jeffers

    Bestselling picture book author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers is back with a gorgeously illustrated fable. Made with traditional lithographic printmaking techniques, this book is a cautionary tale that follows “a man who believed he owned everything” who stumbles down a path of selfishness and greed. Beautiful to look at and timely, kids and adults alike will adore it.

  • The Never Girls Collection #1

    by Kiki Thorpe

    When four best friends are magically whisked off to Never Land, home to Tinker Bell and her fairy friends, it's an adventure of a lifetime! The only question is, how will they get home? Fans of fairies will love this must-read series for early readers.

  • I am Marie Curie

    by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

    Another book from the Ordinary People Change the World series, this one is a great pick for the budding scientist in your life. It tells the story of physicist and chemist Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Full of girl power and moments of resilience, this engaging, adorably illustrated story gives kids the history of a scientist everyone should know more about.

  • All Are Welcome

    by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

    This bright and cheerfully illustrated book is a celebration of diversity and inclusion. Everyone is welcome at the school depicted in this story. Children of all races, religions, and abilities play and study side-by-side. They learn from each other’s traditions and celebrate with one another. Incredibly timely and displaying a powerful message of safety and acceptance, this story is a must-have for any bookshelf.

  • The Christmas Wish

    by Lori Evert, illustrated by Per Breiehagen

    Sure to become a holiday favorite, The Christmas Wish is a Nordic tale centering around a brave girl named Anja who wants to be one of Santa’s elves. After leaving a note for her family and helping her elderly neighbor prepare for Christmas, Anja heads out into the snow where she encounters different animals who help her find her way to Santa. Brought to life with stunning photographs, this book is a good choice for fans of Jan Brett.

  • How to Babysit a Grandma

    by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Lee Wildish

    Written in the form of an instructional manual for kids who are looking after their grandma, this bestselling picture book is a hilarious must-read. Little ones will crack up as the babysitting duties are flipped from grandparent to child.

  • Last Stop on the Reindeer Express

    by Maudie Powell-Tuck, illustrated by Karl James Mountford

    This book is great for little readers who are missing someone this holiday season. Grandpa lives far away and time has run out for Mia to send him a card for Christmas — or so she thought! She finds a magical mailbox that takes her inside the Reindeer Express where she is whisked away and taken to Grandpa just in time. An interactive adventure, this book is filled with peek-through holes, lift-the-flap doors, and even the card Mia made.

  • Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum

    by Dr. Seuss, illustrated by Andrew Joyner

    A great book for your favorite pint-sized artist, Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum is a never-before-published Dr. Seuss book about creating and looking at art. Not your typical Dr. Seuss story, this book (which doesn’t rhyme!) takes readers through an imaginary museum with a horse as their guide. The book explores how different artists have seen and depicted horses, including full-color photographic reproductions of pieces by famous artists. Thought provoking and engaging, it will encourage readers to study art more closely — and may even inspire them in their own creations.

  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

    by Dr. Seuss

    An absolute classic, no children’s library is complete without How the Grinch Stole Christmas! With multiple adaptations retelling this classic story, children will be intrigued to hear the original and see how it compares. A story about getting to the heart of what the holiday season means, this book is one they will turn to year after year and even read with their own children one day.