Best Children's Gift Books of 2014Kitten playing with snowflake

This holiday season, give the special children in your life the gift of a good book. The books listed below were selected by WPL Youth Services Librarians.

Click here to download a printable brochure (PDF).

Picture Books | Chapter Books & Novels | Memoirs | Nonfiction

Picture Books

100 Things that Make Me Happy, by Amy Schwartz. Share this cheerful, cleverly rhymed book with a special child in your life. Ages 2–5.

The Adventures of Beekle, by Dan Santat. The charming story of how one “imaginary” friend finds a child to call his own. Ages 3–6.

Breathe, by Scott Magoon. This loving book featuring an adorable­­­ beluga captures parents’ dreams for their children. Ages 0–6.

Fly Guy Presents: Firefighters, by Tedd Arnold.The latest in our favorite fly’s early reader series on popular nonfiction topics. Ages 4–7.

Froodle, by Antoinette Portis. Leaving their usual chirps behind, birds say nonsense words that will send kids into hysterics. Ages 2–5.

Go! Go! Go! Stop! by Charise Mericle Harper. Construction fans will cheer as Little Green and Little Red help build a bridge. Ages 2–5.

Hermelin the Detective Mouse, by Mini Grey. In this quirky tale, Hermelin secretly solves mysteries for his human neighbors. Ages 5–8.

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, by Ben Hatke. With critters worthy of Where the Wild Things Are, this magical story charms. Ages 4–7.

Littleland around the World, by Marion Billet. Search for pyramids, boomerangs, and more in tableaux featuring cheery animals. Ages 2–5.

Maggi and Milo, by Juli Brenning. A little girl with a big personality and her dog go on a frog hunt and have the best day ever. Ages 3–6.

The Monkey Goes Bananas, by C. P. Bloom. A monkey tries to outwit a shark in this tale even brand-new readers can tackle. Ages 3–6.

Remy and Lulu, by Kevin Hawkes. A myopic painter is upstaged by a stray dog, with funny results. Not just for art-lovers. Ages 5–8.

Three Bears in a Boat, by David Soman. A lushly illustrated adventure at sea, from the co-creator of Ladybug Girl. Ages 3–6.

Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallan. Schoolroom drama (and humor!) for the dinosaur crowd. Ages 3–6.

Uni the Unicorn, by Amy Krause Rosenthal. A sweet story about a unicorn longing for a little girl to play with. Ages 3–5.

Very Little Red Riding Hood, by Teresa Heapy. This humorous fairytale retelling features a spunky toddler. Ages 4–7.

Weasels, by Elys Dolan. Villainous weasels experience hilarious technical difficulties as they attempt to take over the world. Ages 5–8.


Chapter Books & Novels

The Blood Guard, by Carter Roy. Ronan is part of a secret society sworn to protect the pure, in this action-packed adventure. Grades 5–8.

Dory Fantasmagory, by Abby Hanlon. Meet Dory, a little girl with a huge imagination, in this hilarious chapter book. Grades K–2.

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle. A small-town boy joins the Broadway cast of E.T.: The Musical in this gentle comedy. Grades 5–8.

The Fourteenth Goldfish, by Jennifer Holm. Ellie’s grandpa has discovered how to live forever, with funny and thought-provoking results. Grades 4–6.

Loot: How to Steal a Fortune, by Jude Watson. After their jewel-thief father’s death, March and Jules try to pull off a thrilling heist themselves. Grades 5–8.

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher, by Dana Alison Levy. Four boys, two dads, and too many pets face a tumultuous year with a sense of humor. Grades 3–7.

Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab, by “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith. Nick and Tesla use outrageous gadgets to solve mysteries. Includes science projects for readers. Grades 3–6.

The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier. Two orphans fend off dark and deadly magic in this chilling fantasy. Grades 5–8.

The Princess in Black, by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale. A swashbuckling princess secretly protects her kingdom from monsters. Grades K–3.

Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot, by Dav Pilkey. These favorite wacky stories have new, dynamic color illustrations by Dan Santat. Grades K–3.

A Snicker of Magic, by Natalie Lloyd. Felicity’s town is full of surprises: a legendary magicians’ duel, doomed romance, and a curse. Grades 4–6.

SYLO, by D. J. MacHale. After seeing a UFO, Tucker must solve the mystery of who has invaded his quiet island home. Grades 6–8.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, by Jenny Han. Lara Jean navigates a confusing world of crushes after her sister leaves for college. Grades 7–10.

Tsarina, by J. Nelle Patrick. Natalya tumbles into the chaos of the Russian Revolution as she seeks the enchanted Fabergé egg that keeps the imperial family in power. Grades 6–8.

The Vanishing Coin, by Kate Egan. Mike finally discovers something he’s good at: magic tricks! With instructions for magic tricks. Grades 2–4.



Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson. In touching free verse, the author describes her childhood in the 1960s and 1970s. Winner of the National Book Award. Grades 3–6.

El Deafo, by Cece Bell. A true story of growing up deaf, in graphic novel format—perfect for fans of Smile. Grades 3–8.

I Am Malala (Young Readers Edition),by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick. The inspiring memoir of the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Grades 5 and up.

This Star Won’t Go Out, by Esther Earl. Journal entries, stories, and more from the young woman to whom the bestselling The Fault in Our Stars was dedicated. Grades 7 and up.



50 Body Questions, by Tanya Kyi. A light look at mysteries of the human body, for both future doctors and trivia sponges. Grades 4–7.

365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts, by R. J. Palacio. Words to live by, presented by the author of beloved novel Wonder. Grades 4 and up.

Animalium, by Jenny Broom. Exquisite illustrations and factual passages create a literary natural history museum. Grades 2–6.

Five Epic Disasters, by Lauren Tarshis. True stories of blizzards, tsunamis, and more, from the author of the popular I Survived series. Grades 2–5.

Garden to Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food, by Katherine Hengel. Inspiration and information for budding gardeners and chefs. Grades 3–8.

Just Joking 6: 300 Hilarious Jokes about Everything, Including Tongue Twisters, Riddles and More! by Rosie Greenwall Pattison. Grades 3–6.

Myths Busted! 2, by Emily Krieger. Over 100 tall tales, suspicious stories, and urban myths—and how each has been debunked. Grades 4–8.

Outside the Box, by Karma Wilson. Humorous poems paired with black and white cartoons in the tradition of Shel Silverstein. Grades 2–4.

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, by Rick Riordan. Stories about the Olympians as told by Percy Jackson himself. Grades 4–7.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: A Visual History of Modern Transportation Featuring 100 Iconic Designs, by Mike Lemanski. This detailed fold-out book will tantalize vehicle-lovers. All ages.

Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun, by Amanda Kingloff. Get crafty this winter with these cool, collaborative projects. All ages.

Zoobots: Wild Robots Inspired by Real Animals, by Helaine Becker. Nature meets engineering in this book of futuristic technology. Grades 3–7.


E-books and E-audiobooks

The Library offers electronic books and downloadable audiobooks for Wilmette and Kenilworth patrons through two services, My Media Mall and OneClickdigital. There are many children's and young adult titles available, which you can locate on those sites or through the Library catalog.

ebook iconWhat is an e-book?

An e-book is a text- and image-based publication you can download onto your computer, e-reader, or other portable device such as a Nook, Kindle, or iPad. You read an e-book.

audiobook iconWhat is a downloadable audiobook?

A downloadable audiobook, also called an e-audiobook, is a recorded publication you can download onto your computer or portable listening device such as an mp3 player, iPod, or iPhone. You listen to a downloadable audiobook.

Why Download?

E-books and downloadable audiobooks can be a convenient alternative to traditional books and audiobooks. After some initial set-up on your computer or device, you can download them for free, 24/7. You can download many titles onto a single device, creating a portable library.

When you download an e-book or audiobook from the Library, it is "checked out" to you for a one-week or two-week period, as you choose. After that, the file simply becomes unavailable to you—no overdue fines!

Library Download Services

My Media Mall and OneClickdigital have different catalogs, so if you don't see the book you want in one, the other may have it. They also have slightly different technology requirements. E-books and downloadable audiobooks also appear in the Library catalog.

My Media Mall

Sign into My Media Mall using your library card number. Before you start, you may want to read this introduction. Depending on your device, you may also need to download and activate free software onto your computer before using it. For instructions, consult the Help section.

To find items specifically for young people, click "Advanced Search." Choose the type of file from the Format dropdown menu. Then choose Juvenile Fiction, Juvenile Literature, Juvenile Nonfiction, or Children's Video from the Subject dropdown menu.

My Media Mall also has videos, especially documentaries, available for download.


The first time you use OneClickdigital, you will need to create a free account using the link in the upper right-hand corner. For instructions on downloading e-books and audiobooks, consult the Help section.

We know that downloading e-books and audiobooks can be initially confusing, so please do not hesitate to call or visit the Library. We will do our best to assist you!

E-readers for Check-out

Even if you don't own an e-reader, you can try one at the Library. The Youth Department owns a Sony Reader and a Nook Color which are available for in-library use; sign them out at the Youth Desk. The Library also has Nooks available for check-out to Wilmette and Kenilworth patrons. All e-readers are pre-loaded with books for children and adults.

Write a Book Review

Read a good book and want to tell the world? Post your thoughts about it here! After your review is approved by a Wilmette Youth Librarian, it will appear in our Kids' Book Blog. Thanks for sharing!

Author's Name:  
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Write Your Review Here:
(Write 2 or more sentences about the book. What was it about? Did you like it? Why or why not? Try not to give away the ending!)

How Would You Rate This Book? 5   (1 = worst, 5 = best)
May We Post This Review Online? yes  no 

Your Name:  
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Your Grade in School:
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