Holiday Gift Guide

Buffy’s Recommendations:

It’s Never Too Late:  A Kid’s Book for Adults by Dallas Clayton

I couldn’t not share this one with you, even though I already had the rest of my recommendations typed up below.  This picture book is hands down our best-seller here at Second Star.  It is so near and dear to our hearts that we were SO SAD when we found out a few months ago that it is going out of print!  We’ve managed to nab a couple of cartons of them, but we don’t know how long they will last.   I am convinced that if all world leaders read this book in the morning before they got out of bed, everything would run more smoothly.   It is not uncommon for a customer to purchase more than one copy of this book because they have more than one person they’d like to give it to.

Perfect for: anyone who needs a reminder that “…everyone’s sink gets all full of dishes, and everyone’s heart gets all full of wishes.  And everyone’s mind gets all full of mess, and we all read the signs, and we all try our best,” anyone who is making a new start in life.

Also check out: An Awesome Book of Love, Good People Everywhere, What Does It Mean to Be Kind?, Wherever You Go, The Heart & the Bottle

The Borrowers Collection by Mary Norton

This beautiful collection includes all five of the original books as well as a short story I didn’t know existed!  Mary Norton’s tale (originally published in 1952!) of a tiny family living inside a English house inhabited by “human beans” will enchant you.

Perfect for: anyone who wants to pick up a classic series, a family looking for a book to read aloud at night, or a Miyazaki fan who didn’t know it was a book first!

Also check out: Cricket in Times Square, Mary Poppins, Gone-Away Lake, Mouse and the Motorcycle

The Christmas Wish  by Lori Evert & Per Breiehagen

This Norwegian family has teamed up to make some beautiful books.  The mother writes the stories, the father takes the pictures, and their daughter, Anya, is the engaging model! This gentle story follows Anya on her quest to become one of Santa’s elves.

Perfect for:  lovers of photography, nature, winter, and Santa

Also check out: The Tiny Wish, The Brave Little Puppy (a board book), Naptime with Theo & Beau

Sacred Grove Happy Family Spray and Peppermint Clove Lip Balm

Perfect for:  Stocking stuffers!!!!  In Colorado, everyone needs extra moisture on their lips in the winter, and the peppermint-clove combination is perfect.  The Happy Family Room and Body Spray is uplifting and de-stressing — an easy way to refresh yourself during a busy day.

Also check out:  the rest of our amazing bath and body products from Sacred Grove Botanics, Boulder Baby Company, and Chick & Mum, local mama-owned companies.

Threads by Ami Polonsky

“. . .twelve-year-old Clara discovers a note and a photograph inside a purse in the mall, she can’t stop thinking about the girl — Yuming — who wrote the desperate message.  Yuming claims that she was kidnapped and is now being forced to work in a factory outside of Beijing.  Clara lives in Illinois, but she has visited China; her sister Lola was adopted from there.  Could it be that Clara wasmeant to find this note?”  Human trafficking is an unexpected topic for a book intended for upper elementary school readers, but Ami Polonsky pulls it off!

Perfect for:  Readers who have experienced the death of a loved one.  Readers who are interested in social issues.

Also check out:  Gracefully Grayson, It’s Our World, Rad Women Worldwide, I Will Always Write Back

Maddie’s Recommendations:

Olive the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh

Olive the Other Reindeer is the story of a little dog named Olive who makes her way onto Santa’s elite team of reindeer. This story of hope, humor, and perseverance is a fun twist on some Christmas classics.

Perfect for: Young readers who love the holidays and being unique!

Also check out: Hello, My Name is Octicorn

Katlyn’s Recommendations:

Lucy by Randy Cecil

Lucy is a captivating story about a young girl with a generous heart, her father who learns to overcome stage fright, and Lucy, a dog without a home who learns that sometimes dreams do come true.

Perfect for:  Picture book lovers who are just beginning to truly enjoy the story. Helps young readers keep track of multiple story lines, and learn to follow a narrative from beginning to end.

Also check out: The Fox and the Star

Doodle Adventures: The Search for the Slimy Space Slugs! by Mike Lowery

This book is a draw your own adventure tale about Carl the duck and YOU! Readers become artists and creators with this fun, exciting way to develop your own story. Draw in whatever silly ideas you might have and they come to life as you and Carl head to space and encounter the strange slug planet.

Perfect for: Kids with an interest in art who have a big imagination. Anybody who loves to tell tales can put their wacky ideas right into the story.

Also check out: Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate, Big Nate: Super Scribbler

ABC by Xavier Deneux

This board book brings the alphabet to life through tactile learning. Each letter of the alphabet is accompanied by a picture that young learners can touch and feel.

Perfect for: Babies who are interested in reading and learning to use all their senses. Helpful for establishing building blocks of general reading and learning.

Also check out: Vehicles, Dinoblock and Alphablock, and Twisters Touch and Feel Books Colors, Shapes, Opposites, etc.)

Ryan’s Recommendations:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas 50th Anniversary by Dr. Seuss

An American classic about the mysterious creature known as The Grinch. He hates Christmas, the whole season, (for reasons unknown to anyone else). He decides to steal it from his obnoxious and cheery neighbors, the Whos! However, despite the lack of presents and general Christmas splendor, the Whos turn out to be the unexpected heroes of the tale, by revealing to the Grinch that Christmas is so much more than its superficial exterior.

Perfect for: Children and adults alike! With 32 extra pages of commentary by Charles D. Cohen on the history of The Grinch book (and movie) a lover of this well known children’s book would undoubtedly find interest in its extra pages!

Beauty & the Beast  illustrated by Kinuko Y. Craft

This exquisitely illustrated book extravagantly captures the well known tale of a young woman who wins the heart of a tempestuous beast.

Perfect for: Children who are fond of fairy tales, as well as those who find inspiration from the most imaginative of illustrations.

Also check out: Classic Fairy Tales illustrated by Scott Gustafson and Grimms’ Fairy Talesillustrated by Don Daily.

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!  by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow

A colorful tale of an artistically stifled boy who just wants to paint everything in sight! When his mother puts her foot down and declares that he “ain’t gonna paint no more,” the questions remains…will he listen?

Perfect for: Children who love to be creative as well as parents who love reading books with a rhythm.

Also check out: Let’s Paint! by Gabriel Alborozo and Swatch: the Girl Who Loved Color by Julia Denos

Bowen’s Recommendations:

Kids of Appetite by David Arnold

Victor Bennuci’s father is dead and Victor ran away with his ashes.  Inside the urn he finds his dad’s last request to his wife, a list of inside jokes and references to their life and love.  Now in police custody, Vic and his new friend Madeline are suspected of murder. The story of what happened between Vic running away and he and Mad being brought in for questioning is a wonderfully written story of love, loss, and finding the people who shape your life.

Perfect for:Those who love language and inside jokes, anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one, teen readers looking for something more substantial and inspiring than a dystopian future.

Also check out: Mosquitoland, by David Arnold,All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

I first read this book–and its sequels, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglassin 5th grade, and have continued to re-read them every two years or so since.  Pullman is an unparalleled storyteller, and Lyra Bellaqua is perhaps my favorite protagonist of all time.  Set in a world where your soul takes the form of a dæmon–a talking animal companion–Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, must travel from the streets of Oxford to the frozen tundra of the North in search of her kidnapped friend. Trust me, it’s amazing.

Perfect for: Everyone

Also check out: The graphic novel adaptation (but read the books first, don’t spoil the experience)

Never check out:The movie, forget that it was ever made.

Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty

This is a perfect stocking stuffer for kids (and grown ups) of all ages. We’ve got about a million different colors and varieties, from glow-in-the-dark to magnetic, so you’re sure to find one that tickles your fancy.

Perfect for: Those of us with fidgety fingers

Also check out: Coloradough, Kiddough

Pancakes Illustrated by Lotta Nieminen

This is possibly the coolest book to come through the store in the past several months.  An “interactive recipe book,” Pancakes teaches little ones the process of cooking the titular meal through a clever use of pull tabs and other “lift the flap” standbys.  It’s cute, it’s clever, and it’s educational.  What more could you want? An actual pancake recipe? It has that too!

Perfect for: Little chefs, pancake enthusiasts

Also check out: Cooking Class, Baby’s Very First Slide and See Farm

Dea’s Recommendations:

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara — Board book or picture book!

I personally love this book because of its advocacy for equality and kindness in your community. The book includes sections on standing up for each other and living a life of support and love. The illustrations speak boldly for themselves.

Perfect for: All ages. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, acceptance and compassion are qualities everyone should learn about and strive for.

Also check out: Counting on Community Innosanto Nagara and What Does It Mean to Be Kind? by Rana DiOrio and lastly, Can You Say Peace? By Karen Katz

Firefly Hollow by Alison McGhee

Firefly Hollow is a gentle,charming story about friendship! Firefly and Cricket are not content to just stay in the Hollow. Firefly wants to fly to the moon, and Cricket wants to learn more about the world. They have become friends and want to explore! This is also the story of Vole who wants to be a riverboat captain like his grandpa was. They come upon a lonely child named Peter, and are intrigued watching him and his family.

Perfect for: A read aloud night time story for ages 5-8, or a sweet read for a 3rd or 4th grader.

Also check out: The Poppy Stories by Avi, The Cats of Tanglewood Forest,and all of Alison McGhee’s picture books!