Updated for 2015: Dana’s Super-Gargantuan Guide to Children’s Books Suitable for Gift-Giving

Ohai! It’s another midwinter holiday gift giving season, and you’ve probably got a reader or dozen on your list. Did they give you some titles? Fantastic! Gift giving shall be easy, and if you purchase through this link, you can get your gifties and support ye olde blog, too. No list? No problem! I’ve got you covered with a super-awesome, super-gargantuan guide to many books suitable for secular gifting.

Through the next couple of weeks, I’ll be updating our lists with additional titles. Here’s a wonderland of children’s and YA books not previously listed in our Super-Gargantuan Guides!

(Due to the fact we’re running out of time, I’m copying the publisher’s blurbs rather than making up my own. Sorry bout that!)

Image shows a kitten lying in front of an open book, looking at the pages. Caption says, "Bok, y u no has kittehs?"

Table of Contents

Kids

Teens

 

Kids

Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap: NT is OK! by Clay and Gail Morton, illustrated by Alex Merry

Johnny is different. He is never exactly on time, he can’t seem to stick to a routine and he often speaks in cryptic idioms. Johnny is neurotypical, but that’s OK.

A picture book with a difference, Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap turns the tables on common depictions of neurological difference by drolly revealing how people who are not on the autistic spectrum are perceived by those who are. The autistic narrator’s bafflement at his neurotypical friend’s quirks shows that ‘normal’ is simply a matter of perspective.

The Brick Bible for Kids Box Set: The Complete Set by Brendan Powell Smith

The Brick Bible for Kids series has followed in the footsteps of Brendan Powell Smith’s bestselling adult series: The Brick Bible. Now, for the first time, Smith’s visually striking and child-friendly picture books are available in a beautiful hardcover box set, complete with a double-sided, full-color poster for room decoration. This slipcovered set is the gift you’ve been wanting to give your LEGO-loving children for holidays, birthdays, or just because.

Share the inspiring stories of Joseph, Daniel, Noah, David and Goliath, and Jonah, and celebrate the birth of Jesus in the classic Christmas story with your little ones with these LEGO-illustrated books. Each book includes a fun search-and-find activity at the end for additional LEGO fun! Find a place on your shelf for this beautiful six-book collector’s set and continue to be amazed at the Bible as illustrated by a beloved toy.

Me & Dog by Gene Weingarten, illustrated by Eric Shansby

This endearing friendship story about a boy and his dog from a Pulitzer Prize–winning writer gently explores a timeless question: who’s really in charge?

Meet Sid. He’s an ordinary kid. He’s far from perfect. But to Murphy, Sid’s faithful dog, Sid is the whole world. Murphy thinks Sid is the absolute best—and that he’s in charge of everything.

Sid loves Murphy right back, but he can’t help but wonder what Murphy would think if he realized the truth: Sid’s just a kid, and Murphy’s just a dog, and neither one can control the world.

This deceptively simply picture book is the perfect start to a discussion about a subject seldom seen in children’s books—the nonthreatening feel of a world based on fact and reason, and not faith.

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boys’ clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz’s story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers.

Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story by Lisa Westberg Peters and Lauren Stringer

All of us are part of an old, old family. The roots of our family tree reach back millions of years to the beginning of life on earth. Open this family album and embark on an amazing journey. You’ll meet some of our oldest relatives–from both the land and the sea–and discover what we inherited from each of them along the many steps of our wondrous past.

Complete with an illustrated timeline and glossary, here is the story of human evolution as it’s never been told before.

Older than The Stars by Karen C. Fox, illustrated by Nancy Davis

How old are you?–Older than you think.

In a way, we are all as old as the universe itself. In fact, every bit of every one of us was created in the Big Bang, billions of years ago.

Stunning illustrations and lively verse tell the story of the cosmic connections that tie human beings to the beginning of the universe. Simple, informative prose provides additional facts.

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson

For every child who has ever looked up at the stars and asked, “What are they?” comes the story of a curious boy who never stopped wondering: Carl Sagan.

When Carl Sagan was a young boy he went to the 1939 World’s Fair and his life was changed forever. From that day on he never stopped marveling at the universe and seeking to understand it better. Star Stuff follows Carl from his days star gazing from the bedroom window of his Brooklyn apartment, through his love of speculative science fiction novels, to his work as an internationally renowned scientist who worked on the Voyager missions exploring the farthest reaches of space. This book introduces the beloved man who brought the mystery of the cosmos into homes across America to a new generation of dreamers and star gazers.

 

Teens

What If I’m an Atheist?: A Teen’s Guide to Exploring a Life Without Religion by David Seidman

Can you have guidance without God? This thoughtful, one-of-a-kind guide offers answers to all of your questions about atheism and nonbelief.

Have you ever wondered what religion and belief means for your life? Maybe you believe in nothing at all. Does that mean you’re an atheist? What does atheism even mean? Regardless of the religious background you grew up with, it’s natural to question what you believe…or what you don’t. Establishing your views about religion and spirituality is part of becoming an individual, but outside pressures can make it tough to know what is right for you.

What If I’m an Athiest? offers a thoughtful exploration of how atheism or the absence of religion can impact your life. From discussing the practical significance of holidays to offering conversation starters and tips, this guide is an invaluable resource about religion, spirituality, and the lack thereof.

This compassionate, nonjudgmental guide includes peer interviews featuring both religious and atheist teens and provides a safe space to find answers to the questions you may not want ask out loud, so you can decide what you believe—or don’t—for yourself.

Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer by David G. McAfee

This essential guide to coming-out as a non-believer has been written to make it easier for atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, and non-believers of all ages and backgrounds to be open about their non-religiosity while minimizing the negative interactions in familial, social, and professional circles.

As a survival guide for non-believers who wish to come out, this book provides advice and resources for those interested in publically rejecting religious dogma as well as real stories from non-believers who have experienced coming-out to less-than-supportive family or friends.

Whether you’re new to disbelief and looking for the cleanest possible break from your former faith or you’re a lifelong atheist who wants to establish a sense of community with like-minded people, this guide provides useful resources including: tips for handling potential conflicts with believers, the author’s answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on behalf of believers, and numerous references to support groups, services, and advocacy organizations dedicated to non-theists.

From dealing with grief from a secular perspective to handling potential clashes in religious worldviews between significant others, this book offers multiple perspectives from non-religious individuals who have generously shared their experiences to help those atheists who may find themselves in similar situations.

Rapture Practice: A True Story About Growing Up Gay in an Evangelical Family by Aaron Hartzler

A true story about finding salvation in the strangest places.

Aaron Hartzler grew up in a home where he was taught that at any moment the Rapture could happen. That Jesus might come down in the twinkling of an eye and scoop Aaron and his family up to heaven. As a kid, Aaron was thrilled by the idea that every moment of every day might be his last one on planet Earth.

But as Aaron turns sixteen, he finds himself more attached to his earthly life and curious about all the things his family forsakes for the Lord. He begins to realize he doesn’t want the Rapture to happen just yet–not before he sees his first movie, stars in the school play, or has his first kiss. Eventually Aaron makes the plunge from conflicted do-gooder to full-fledged teen rebel.

Whether he’s sneaking out, making out, or playing hymns with a hangover, Aaron learns a few lessons that can’t be found in the Bible. He discovers that the best friends aren’t always the ones your mom and dad approve of, and the tricky part about believing is that no one can do it for you.

In this funny and heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, debut author Aaron Hartzler recalls his teenage journey to find the person he is without losing the family that loves him. It’s a story about losing your faith and finding your place and your own truth–which is always stranger than fiction.

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Updated for 2015: Dana’s Super-Gargantuan Guide to Children’s Books Suitable for Gift-Giving
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