Today’s post is my last of the 2018 holiday gift guides. Phew!
This one is geared towards grown ups.
Since every title on Orange Marmalade is one that I enjoy, it’s understandable that I think children’s books in general make fine gifts for adults.
Today I’m highlighting a few titles that are uncommonly well-suited to the adults on your gift list.
Purchase these at your local indie bookseller, or
click through to Amazon on the link, which gives me a small “tip” from your purchase.
For fans of fantasy-fiction, elf experts and goblin gurus:
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
One of my favorite middle-grade reads this year. Fantasy, adventure, humor, political intrigue, and an extremely clever format propelled this to a National Book Award finalist position. Read my full review here.
For science geeks, history buffs, space nerds, or any who fondly remember that first step on the moon:
Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon
From the day JFK issued his challenge of putting a man on the moon, until the day Armstrong took that giant leap. 2979 days of fierce competition, high risk, technical expertise, unflappable bravery. Fascinating details in an easy-flowing text, plus brilliant illustration work. Read my full review here.
For those intrigued by civil disobedience, faith-informed activism, or resistance to Hitler during WWII:
The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler
A stunning, graphic-heavy, biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that focuses on how his faith spurred his commitment to the oppressed Other and led him to join with a top-secret group committed to assassinating Hitler. Thought-provoking in both text and illustration. Read my full review here.
For someone who would appreciate an artistic, passionate account of MLK, Jr.:
Martin Rising: Requiem For a King
An acclaimed, soaring, poetic account of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final months of life and assassination, accompanied by glorious illustration work. This is a tremendously inspirational tribute to MLK’s determined courage and legacy. Read my full review here.
For lovers of the True North, boreal forests, Minnesota, snug cabins in the woods, or printmaking:
Hush Hush, Forest
The elegant, graceful woodblock prints of Nick Wroblewski unfold on every page of this gorgeous homage to wintertime in a northern forest. A quiet text allows the artwork to simply speak its beauty. This is a splendid offering from two Minnesota artists to those of us who love the North. Read my full review here.
For alpine skiers, WWII buffs, or New Englanders:
Ski Soldier: A World War II Biography
I was fascinated by this slim biography, written in free verse, of Pete Seibert, a guy who grew up loving the thrill of downhill skiing in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, then became part of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division of ski soldiers in WWII, and finally realized his dream of opening a first-class ski resort in the Rocky Mountains. I’ll be reviewing this book more fully in the weeks to come.
For those with a heart for nature and a penchant for poetry:
Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year
Put nature-lovers on track to reading a poem every day of 2019, each singing the glories of the natural world. Featuring poets such as William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, John Updike, Langston Hughes, N. M. Bodecker, and Okamoto Kanoko, these short poems and heavily-illustrated pages will bring a ripple of beauty, hope, and joy to each day.
For someone whose courage warrants acknowledgement:
One of my favorite reads in 2018 is this poignant, gorgeous story of one boy’s courage in the face of his father’s alcoholism, courage which translates into protection of those he loves, and a reckoning with what it means to be truly brave. Louis cannot see his own small heroism for what it is, but we readers glimpse an unsung giant in action. Read my full review here.
For someone with an eye for the ridiculous, or English language teachers with a sense of humor:
P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever
Yup. In this subversive, humorous alphabet book, every letter, from A to Z, begins words that’ll never get a chance to represent in your average preschool classroom. Consider C is for czar or T is for tsunami. Have you ever seen them in those colorful alphabetical displays? Here’s their chance to shine.
For those with a heart for refugees:
This brief, eloquent poem packs an emotional wallop for all with a heart for the devastating plight of refugees. Witness one family fleeing the scourge of war, and encountering unspeakable dangers along the way. Gorgeous illustrations evoke scenes at first redolent with the beauty of home, then gray with the leaden despair of a Mediterranean crossing. This is not a children’s book, but its format has caused it to be considered so by many. It’s a picture book for adults. Read my full review here.
For gardeners, florists, nature-lovers, artists:
Drawn from Nature
This book’s exquisite artwork is composed entirely of pressed flowers, leaves, grasses, collected by the artist and painstakingly assembled into sumptuous herons, ravishing foxes, spangled butterflies, in a display of flora and fauna from all four seasons. Astonishing and beautiful. Read my full review here.
For all who are grateful that women have the right to vote, plus fans of Maira Kalman:
Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote
Cameos of ten courageous suffragists in the campaign to win the vote in the U.S. are written by Senator Gillibrand and illustrated as only Maira Kalman can, with strength, vitality, gladness, punchy color, and quirky humanity. I can think of many women who would appreciate this survey for the hope and inspiration it conveys.
For folks who are bully on our National Parks or looking for their next vacation destination:
National Parks of the USA
Stylish maps displaying all of our national parks, plus fascinating, deeper looks at the flora and fauna of 21 of those parks. Definitely enough to tempt readers to pay a visit to one or more of these national treasures in 2019. Read my full review here.
For artists and illustrators, writers and book-lovers, dreamers of all sorts, border-crossers, starting-over-ers:
Flamboyant colors embrace us at every turn in Morales’ distinguished collage work as she succinctly, movingly, narrates her journey from home in Mexico to a new homeland in the U.S., the daunting language barrier she faced, and the miraculous gift of the public library, of story as a way forward, and of her particular way forward. It’s a New York Times Best Illustrated Book packed with significance, courage, and hope. Find my review here.
For those wanting to read or re-read the book before the movie comes out.
Artemis Fowl — releases August 9;
(Note: This is Young Adult fiction; not middle grade)
Little Women (directed by Greta Gerwig!) — releases December 25
The Call of the Wild & White Fang — releases December 25
Hope these titles inspire you to investigate the brilliant world of children’s literature for yourself and other adults in your circles.
Find all of this year’s guides, plus the past 8 years’ guides, at the Gifts tab on the top of the blog.