2010 Holiday Gift Book Suggestions


The busiest retail day for shoppers, Black Friday, will be here the day after Thanksgiving.  More than 751,000 people use the San Diego County Library to borrow library items instead of buying them – that’s a lot of money saved for holiday expenses!  But, being book lovers ourselves, we also know that some books beg to be purchased and read over and over again.  Here, we’ve identified gift titles for all ages based on their popularity among SDCL customers.  When you walk into your local bookstore, bring our suggestions for sure-fire hits that the children, teens, and adults on your list will love to read.  And in 2011, bring them to SDCL to get their own library card and borrow more from their new favorite authors.


Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney

The holidays are filled with fun and excitement and a lot of things to do and make, but poor Llama Llama has to wait. Patience not being his strong suit, and completely overwhelmed by all the holiday activities, he has a complete meltdown on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, Mama Llama is there to save the day with hugs and kisses and a little quiet time.  This story is as familiar as a favorite ornament (and the cover glitters). Llama fans and newcomers alike will be charmed.   Ages 3 and up.   School Library Journal


The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Jerry Pinkney’s retelling of this Aesop Fable is an absolutely gorgeous example of book making and pictorial storytelling, a wordless book readers will “read” over and over again, each time noticing new treasures in the pictures. The dust jacket places the lion and the mouse head-to-head, the lion on the front cover, the mouse on the back. In the front endpapers, the animals are up, out of their group picture, wandering the Serengeti, the big lion yawning amidst his family. This story proceeds, succeeding brilliantly in what the best picture books are all about.   Winner of the 2010 Caldecott Award for best illustration in a children’s book.   Ages 2 and up.   BookPage


 Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 5, The Ugly Truth  by Jeff Kinney

Greg Heffley has always been in a hurry to grow up.  Greg suddenly finds himself dealing with the pressures of boy-girl parties, increased responsibilities, and even the awkward changes that come with getting older—all without his best friend, Rowley, at his side. Can Greg make it through on his own? This wildly popular series about middle school continues to be a phenomenon.  This is the newest, just out in November in time for gift giving!   For ages 8 and up.   Publisher Content


The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson fans can rest easy: this first book in Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus spin-off series is a fast-paced adventure with enough familiar elements to immediately hook those eager to revisit his modern world of mythological mayhem. Clever plot devices–like gods who shift back and forth between their Greek and Roman personae–keep the book fresh. Rotating among his three protagonists, Riordan’s storytelling is as polished as ever, brimming with wit, action, and heart–his devotees won’t be disappointed.  For ages 10 and up.   Publisher’s Weekly


Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

This gripping futuristic fantasy has breathless pacing, an intelligent story line, and superb detail in a dystopian/ fantasy environment. Fisher’s characters are emotionally resonant, flawed, determined, and plagued by metaphysical questions. With some well-timed shocking twists and a killer ending, this is a must-have.  This is the first in a series, the second installment, Sapphique  comes out in December.  For ages 12 and up.  Booklist


Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom’s intensely realized characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.  The book Franzen and Oprah made up over.  It’s… a masterpiece.   For ages 18 and up.  Macmillan /Publisher content


Autobiography of Mark Twain,  Volume 1 / Harriet Elinor Smith, editor

Twain wrote his life story with instructions that it remain unpublished for 100 years so when published, he would be dead, and unaware and therefore free to speak his mind. One hundred years after his death, University of California Press offers for the first time his uncensored autobiography in its entirety.   Unread, original, unrestricted Twain will be priceless!  For ages 18 and up.  Baker & Taylor


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