15 Holiday Gift Ideas for
Book-Loving 3- to 5-Year-Olds

by Janssen Bradshaw

Illustration: Penelope Dullaghan

The preschool years are some of my favorite holidays with children. They’re old enough to be enthusiastic and excited, but still young enough to find everything completely magical and be awed by every gift, big or small. Those years of being wholeheartedly delighted by a lollipop in your stocking don’t last forever.

As my own children grow, I’ve been surprised by how clearly they can identify the things they received as gifts, even years earlier. They’ll comment on a tiny stuffed dog and how it was a gift from their older sister on their first Christmas. Or every time we read a certain book they say, “This is the book Grandma gave me for my birthday!” I love that those strong associations are formed with certain gifts, and I especially love when they’re made with books.

Our gift ideas for 3- to 5-year-olds are books we hope will be loved for years to come, bringing up memories of those early holidays and the family and friends who gifted them. And because we love a good book-related gift around here, we’ve added fun items from our friends at Out of Print too.


Looking for Brightly’s 2018 Gift Guide?
Check out our list of The Best Holiday Gifts for Kids Ages 0 – 6!


  • For children who crave adventure and magic:

  • Journey

    by Aaron Becker

    Available from:

    I can’t think of any book published in the last few years that is better than Journey. This wordless book follows a little girl and her adventure with a magical crayon that lets her enter an enchanted world full of danger and excitement. I have read this book hundreds of times with my children and every time we find something new!

    Also available from:
  • Uni the Unicorn

    by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Brigette Barrager

    Available from:

    Uni is a regular unicorn but one thing sets her apart from her friends — she believes with all her heart that little girls are real. This is the sweetest and most magical story of friendship and this board book edition is perfect for the littlest unicorn lovers. For a second helping of magic, check out the sequel.

    Listen to a clip from the charming audiobook:

    Also available from:
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt: Snow Globe Edition

    by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

    This is the classic adventure story for little readers in my mind — what could be more exciting than going out with your family to find a bear? This edition has a snow globe built right in for an extra dose of seasonal delight.

  • La Princesa and the Pea

    by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

    Available from:

    This high-energy bilingual retelling of la princesa, her prince, his mother, and the pesky little guisante is as beautiful as it is delightful. With clever rhymes that will enchant both little ones and those reading to them, soft, vibrant illustrations (evocative of illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal’s native Peru), and Spanish words playfully peppered throughout, expect requests for repeat readings.

    Also available from:
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Tote Bag

    The ultimate magical adventure is a trip to the library or bookstore, and this Wizard of Oz tote is perfect for bringing all your treasures home with you.

  • For the child who knows the name of every animal in the zoo:

  • “The Spider and the Fly” T-Shirt

    What little child doesn’t want some spooky bugs on their shirts? Based on the classic poem, this is the perfect way to add a little literary life to your child’s wardrobe!

  • Wonder Pouch

    I never met a child who didn’t love a little place of their own to collect things — from rocks and leaves to pencils and beads. This Wonder-inspired pouch is perfect!

For more great holiday gift ideas, head on over to Out of Print!