The Best Things Come in Pairs (Part 1)

Welcome to the holidays! Everywhere you turn, somebody has a gift suggestion for you. A quick scan of [pick your platform] and you will find book idea lists galore. Lists are not just lovely, they are very handy. [We have a few ourselves].

But what about gifts for someone who may not be a reader? The short answer is: go to the middle.

Start with something you know they like, then look for a book to go with it.

  • Your niece is really into robots. Find a robot-y gift first, then look for a book that is related. If you want to take the nonfiction route, ask your local bookseller about books on coding for kids or how to build robots. On the fiction side, you’ll find everything from board books to science fiction novels, and funny to thought-provoking. See for yourself.

Here are some of our favorite gift + book combos. They are flexible enough to suit multiple ages and easy on the budget, too. Note: Unless otherwise noted, links go to We can earn income for the Reading Tub through those links.

picture book imaginationCHALK
Written and Illustrated by Bill Thomson

The story is imaginative in and of itself. Paired with sidewalk chalk, your gift offers endless play, pushes the boundaries of imagination, and (last but not least) gets the kids outside! 

Book Type: Wordless Picture Book (Reading Tub review)
Ages: 4 to 9

Cost at Amazon (as listed at the time of this post): < $15.00
$6.49 Hardcover picture book
$7.13 Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk (16-count)

garden book gift ideaMy Garden
Written and Illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Our garden with chocolate bunnies and jelly bean bushes? Who doesn’t love that? While we may not be able to satisfy a sweet tooth, we can still garden in the winter! From science to sociology (even patience), there is a lot of learning packed in your gift!

Book Type: Picture Book (Reading Tub review)
Ages: 3 to 8

Cost at Amazon (as listed at the time of this post): < $35.00
$15.30 hardcover picture book
$19.00 Indoor Gardening Kit

See other garden-themed children’s books. [Reading Tub blog]

creative literacyGet Into Art (series)
Written by Susie Brooks

This is partly an introduction to famous art, but also an activity book. Because of the way the book is organized, you can select specific pieces of art or projects. This can encourage kids who aren’t strong readers to engage with the book.

Book Type: Paperback (Reading Tub review)
Ages: 9 to 13

Cost at Amazon (as listed at the time of this post): < $20.00
$8.23 paperback chapter book
$7.27 Pro Art 18-piece Sketch/Draw Pencil Set

IDEA: Add in tickets to a local gallery or museum. Many have free admission.

See more ideas for creating art-themed gifts.  [Reading Tub blog]

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