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15 Books for Kids This Holiday Season

Jess Tonn

Jess Tonn is TASC's Web Communications Manager.

Looking for a few good books to give kids this holiday season? Here are 15 recommendations from our staff members’ shopping lists:

For teens

Perks of Being a Wallflower cover
  • Literacy Manager Kate Craig is giving The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboski to one of her cousins. “It’s a compelling book for older teens that is heartbreaking and unique, but deals with difficult teenage struggles in an honest way.”
  • Rashida Ladner-Seward, Technical Assistance Manager, is buying Douglas Turner Ward's play Day of Absence for her teenage daughter. “The play depicts a fictitious southern town in which all people of African descent disappear. It is a seminal work in black literature/theater and my stepdaughter will be performing in the play during Black History month. I'd like to read the play with my daughter before we see it.”

For elementary school kids

cover of Roxaboxen
  • Chris Caruso, Senior Vice President of ExpandED Schools, will be purchasing The Mysterious Benedict Society Series by Trenton Lee Stewart, “a wonderful adventure about a group of outcast kids who use their unique physical or intellectual gifts to defeat the requisite ‘bad guy.’ A great next series if you’ve finished Harry Potter.”
  • He’s also buying multiple copies of Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, one of his favorite children’s books for younger kids. “It demonstrates the wonders of childrens’ imaginations and the intricacies of the ‘worlds’ that kids create as well as any book out there. Plus, the illustrations are beautiful.”
  • Rebecca Forbes, Research Program Assistant, bought several Dr. Seuss books, including The Cat in the Hat, as well as The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. “I always buy books for Toys for Tots, but I especially picked those because Dr. Seuss is awesome and The Velveteen Rabbit is a classic!” Hard to argue with that.
cover of The Neighborhood Mother Goose
  • President Lucy Friedman’s daughter Tanya, an educator, suggests The Neighborhood Mother Goose by Nina Crews—“traditional nursery rhymes with beautiful, vibrant photos of multi-ethnic kids acting out Mother Goose”—and Herschel and the Hanukah Goblins by Eric Kimmel—“a very funny book that encompasses some of the elements of Hanukah.”
  • And I’ll be giving copies of my friend Caron Levis’ new book Stuck With the Blooz to some of the younger members of my family. Who doesn’t need a good book about shaking the blues, especially when your blues come in the form of a drippy blue monster?

For preschoolers

  • From the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems, Director Jessica Donner recommends Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, “a poetic story that will transport your child to the woods on a cold, wintry night on a quest for a majestic owl.” Whoo whoo!
  • Katie Brohawn, Director of Research, just bought Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean for her 2 ½-year-old goddaughter. “I like that they go beyond simply being books—you can go to their website and download music associated with the books and related educational activities.”
cover of Little Blue Truck Leads the Way
  • Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle will be under the tree at Chief Development Officer Jama Toung’s house. “We LOVE the first Little Blue Truck for its bright colors and alliteration. This one takes Blue to the big city where there’s endless opportunities to work together and take turns.”
  • Director of Education Martine King is going to get Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox for her 8-month-old daughter this year. “Since she is obsessed with her own toes these days (they are constantly in her mouth), I thought she would enjoy it!”
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