This will come as no surprise to any of you all, but I love to give books as presents. Chances are good that if you have ever received a gift from our family, it was either a book or came with a book. Today, I’m thrilled to be partnering with my friend Nicole from Instagram’s @beginathome account to bring you 20 absolutely beautiful books perfect for gifting, whether for baby gifts, birthdays, or Easter baskets (because yes, Easter is right around the corner, in case you forgot in all the chaos of life lately…).⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Check out my ten(ish) of my favorite beautiful books to gift below, then hop over to Nicole’s Instagram post (and while you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of her inspiring account @beginathome!) to see her ten picks.
All links for purchase are Amazon Affiliate links, and most age ranges listed are publishers’ recommendations. Always remember that you know your child best, and thank you for considering making a purchase through my links!
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead — For a while, A Sick Day for Amos McGee was my go-to baby or birthday gift for our friends and relatives… At this point, I think everyone we know has likely received this one from us, so I don’t gift it any more, but everyone else needs to know about it! The story is sweet and Amos McGee is an incredible role model for all, but Erin’s illustrations seal the deal here. She’s filled each page with tiny details that have you coming back repeatedly, yearning to get more each time. You can read my full Instagram review here. Ages 2-6.
Mike Mulligan and More: A Virginia Lee Burton Treasury written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton — All children need Mike, Katy, Maybelle, and the Little House in their homes, and with this treasury, you get them all bound up neatly in a beautiful hard-backed book! When reading the Introduction, I learned that Burton included children in all stages of her writing and illustrating process, ensuring that her products would indeed be beloved by the intended audience. And beloved they are! Ages 2-8.
The Lion and the Bird written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc — Our younger daughter received this one for her fourth birthday from dear friends, and this nearly-wordless book is absolutely perfect. Yes, The Lion and the Bird is a delightful friendship story, highlighting compassion and empathy despite differences, but Dubuc’s illustrations make this one stand apart from other stories with a similar theme or storyline. The illustrations are soft, yet intentional and full of emotion… Somehow Dubuc has even managed to convey deep meaning through blank white pages! Ages 4-7.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone written by J. K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay (and the rest of the illustrated Harry Potter books!) — Okay, yes, all of you know Harry Potter by now, and maybe many of even own the whole series. But, I’m here to tell you that the illustrated versions are definitely worth the investments! Kay has done an incredible job of capturing these beloved stories, scenes, and characters, and bringing them to a life separate from Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson (don’t get me wrong, I love the movies, too!). My parents gifted our older daughter the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for her sixth birthday last year, and it was an incredible hit — we plan to make sure she receives the next one each birthday! Ages 8 and up, though okay slightly younger if you think your child is ready.
All the World written by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee — Winner of a Caldecott Honor Medal, this is one of my favorite books to gift new parents. Now, the tricky thing about the Caldecott Medal is that it is given to honor the illustrations in a book, and the medal winners aren’t always stories that resonate with children. Not this one! My girls could read All the World over and over again, and I don’t mind one bit. Frazee is one of my favorite illustrators, and while her illustrations are often humorous, these are tender, sweet, and full of just the right amount of detail for this bedtime story. Ages 2-5.
An Egg is Quiet (and the other books in the series) written by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long — An Egg is Quiet was actually an Easter basket gift book in our house a few years ago! Each book in this series takes children deep into a different scientific study, whether of eggs, nests, seeds, rocks, beetles, or butterflies. Though there is a beautifully scripted “story” in each, Aston and Long join forces in the illustrations and accompanying texts and captions to help children dig deep into various topics. As a result, these are perfect for children even younger than the publisher’s age range, which is ages 5-8.
The Variety of Life written by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Lorna Scobie — I grabbed this one on a whim one day from our local children’s bookstore, and I am so glad that we own it! Written by a zoologist and illustrated by a creator of coloring books, you know this one is going to be a winner. While it is chock-full of information about different species of animals (did you know, for example, there are more than 1000 species of mice???), the details of these watercolor illustrations are spectacular. I could spend hours just looking at the endpages! Every detail was considered here, from quality of paper to colorful stripe on the side of each page highlighting the animal to tiny stars indicating endangered or extinct species and more. Ages 5 and up.
A Garden of Ordinary Miracles: An Alphabet Book written and illustrated by Robert R. Zakanitch — We received this as a baby gift before our older daughter was born almost 7 years ago, and since receiving it, A Garden of Ordinary Miracles has regularly been featured on our front-facing bookselves! Zakanitch has managed to make an alphabet of flora and fauna, accompanied by absolutely gorgeous painted renditions of the highlighted flower and pen-and-ink sketches of other plants and animals that start with that letter. Did you know there is a flower for every letter of the alphabet except for U? You’re also going to want to read his “To the Reader” and “To the Children” notes, as they’re incredibly inspiring! Ages 2 and up (this is definitely one children and adults alike enjoy!).
Today written and illustrated by Julie Morstad — One of my girls received this beauty as a birthday gift a few years ago, and I quickly added it to my mental list of beautiful birthday gifts! A “choose-your-own-adventure” type of picture book, Today encourages children to use the charming, inviting illustrations to determine the course of their days, choosing their clothes, their hairstyle, their outings, their favorite books, and more! So “what will today bring?” Your child gets to decide! You can read my full review here. Ages 4-8.
The Big Book of Bugs (and the other books in the series) written and illustrated by Yuval Zommer — Do you know Zommer’s Big Book of… series? If not, you should! These oversized books are stunningly illustrated on a very high-quality thick paper and are chock-full of details (in both the text and the illustrations) that make children want to come back again and again (and again…). The Big Book of Bugs is the first in the series, but The Big Book of the Blue, The Big Book of Birds, and The Big Book of Beasts are equally as enticing. Each also has an accompanying sticker book, though I can’t personally vouch for those. Ages 4 and up.
What are your go-to books that make beautiful presents? I’d love to build my list!