The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

5 great books (and gifts) for kids

(Lauren Knight)
Placeholder while article actions load

With the holidays right around the corner, I thought I would share five amazing books for kids that would make great gifts. These run the gamut from architecture to science, geography, history, culture, exploration, and even to the feel-good message “always be yourself.” There’s something for everyone in this collection.

Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air by Stewart Ross, Illustrated by Stephen Biesty

A true adventure which delves into history and exploration, Into the Unknown starts in 340 BC with Pytheas the Greek, sailing to the Arctic Circle without even a compass, and ends in 1969 with Apollo 11 landing on the moon. This book is full of pull-out maps and diagrams showing the journeys as well as the vessels used to forge them. A true lesson in bravery and perseverance, this book will make your little one marvel at man’s constant quest for exploration.

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinska

A beautifully-illustrated, fascinating, and oftentimes funny celebration of the world and many of its cultures, Maps highlights countries in each continent, including details of culture, local people, places of interest, native plants and animals, and geographical interests. One of the main appeals of this book is its size — it is nice and large, perfect for children to lie belly-down on the floor to enjoy. Vibrant colors and illustrations hold interest while written information is kept short, sweet, and to the point.

Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Gaston is a sweet book about a mix-up between two dog families. Their resulting decision may surprise you, ultimately showing that to be happy, you should always follow your heart. The flowery wording and beautiful pictures would be perfect for any 4 to 8-year-old who appreciates an upbeat colorful tale.

Architecture According to Pigeons by Speck Lee Tailfeather

If you didn’t guess from the Author’s name, this book is a tribute to architecture all around the world with a twist… it is told from the view of a pigeon named Speck! Follow him as he chronicles his journey around the world to discover the beauty of the Basilica, Sydney Opera House, Great Wall of China, and many more. With each stop, Speck tells the story of each landmark structure including architectural details and historical accounts. Perfect for the child who loves to build and create.

Animalium by Katie Scott and illustrated by Jenny Broom

My personal favorite of the bunch, Animalium is a stunning celebration of biodiversity on Earth and the beautiful creatures that live here. The book is set up as a museum, divided up into separate galleries — from invertebrates to fish to amphibians to birds, to mammals and habitats and all of it in-between. The illustrations are works of art, and each gallery includes wonderful facts about the different creatures within. This book is wonderful for children of all ages — I may just want a copy for myself!

Lauren Knight blogs at Crumb Bums

You may also like:

What kids want in books this year

5 things I’ve learned about raising boys so far

How I became a more mindful parent

When people ask what I do all day

Like On Parenting on Facebook for more essays, advice and book discussion. You can follow us on twitter @OnParenting.