I’ve been reading “The Christmas Day Kitten” by James Herriot every December since the early 1990s. I first read it with my children and now with my husband. It has a message of simpler times and caring about other living things. Everyone should have a copy on hand for the holidays.
Renee Tyszko, Burnsville
My favorite book to give is “The Velveteen Rabbit” (1922, Margery Williams). It is a heartwarming story of a toy stuffed rabbit received by a boy as a Christmas gift. The story describes how the rabbit becomes real when the boy loves it enough. It is a magical story of love and hope.
Jennifer Hazel, Bloomington
“Dear Committee Members” by Julie Schumacher will go to the smartasses in my life — some because they work in academia and some because of the dry wit.
“Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren, because it is a story of a woman persevering in the sciences and a hopeful story about mental illness.
Lucie B. Amundsen, Duluth
Joyce Sidman’s “What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms and Blessings” is one I give a lot — it is a beautifully made book, great for kids and grown-ups.
Some will get “Gap Year” by John Coy. He has the ability to channel the emotional life of a teen out-of-step with his college-going peers.
Lisa Von Drasek, Minneapolis
“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, illustrated by Susan Jeffers, is my favorite book for Christmas giving. The cover is frosty-looking vellum and the black and white drawings, accented with brilliant spots of color, are absolutely stunning winter landscapes.
Mary Jackson, Onamia
I give “Goodnight Moon” to new parents-to-be. It’s never too early to start reading.
Judy Miemietz, Coon Rapids
Travel books by Bill Bryson — “A Walk In The Woods,” “The Road To Little Dribbling” — are humorous, informative and fun to read.
Glenn Partridge, Mounds View
“Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed and “The Book of Unknown Americans” by Cristina Henriquez. Strayed’s book is a collection of her advice columns, and there’s compassion and wisdom in her responses. Henriquez’s book will help the reader gain a sense of what it is like to come to the U.S. as an immigrant. I think it would help if more people tried to understand the challenges and hardships immigrants experience.
Lisa Dotzenrod, Minneapolis
For a Christmas gift, I would recommend “Miles of Memories” by Lori Spangler. It’s a fun read, and the author makes you feel that you are there with her. I enjoyed her tips on the states at the end of each chapter. I had a hard time putting it down.
Teri Dingmann, St. Cloud
For the new parents on my list, I am giving “Experimenting with Babies: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid” by Shaun Gallagher and “The Wonder Weeks.” The latter was a great resource for when I was pulling my hair out trying to understand why my sweet baby was suddenly such a fusspot. The former is a cleverly written and scientifically based way to interact with your baby and learn his or her development through games and experiments.
For the adults, I am giving “The Good Immigrant,” edited by Nikesh Shukla. This anthology from 21 writers explores “what is means to be Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic in Britain today,” as the tagline reads. As someone who identifies with the hyphenated existence as an Indian-American, I am exploring how my minority status works with British society. If I were one to mark my book, this book would be crisscrossed with underlines and stars and comments, as I related to so much in these stories. I think it is one that also resonates with hyphenated Americans as well, but offers an interesting perspective on being othered in a country we consider our own, but is constantly being attacked, especially by politicians.
For the kids, I am giving books from the BabyLit series, which takes literature and distills it into brightly colored board books for babies. We love all of them, and I must admit it is exposing me to some literature that I have failed to read!
Shruti Mathur Desai, London (formerly of Shoreview)
I’m a fashion fanatic, and my Christmas wish list has always replicated this obsession. But at 19, I forfeited an opportunity to acquire the latest in trendy clothing and jewelry by requesting the Griffin and Sabine trilogy (“Griffin and Sabine,” “Sabine’s Notebook” and “The Golden Mean,” all by Nick Bantock), the compelling and intriguing correspondence that captivated my heart quicker than a Kate Spade trenchcoat. This unique, mysterious pen-pal exchange spans multiple years, and the book comes with physical envelopes to crack open, parchment paper to unfold and words to savor. The trilogy is enchanting, quirky and artistic, the epitome of romantic in the most whispered way. Receiving “Griffin and Sabine” was the literary equivalent of acquiring a Dior gown: a classic, timeless investment piece that remains one of my favorite Christmas gifts, and proof that originality and style can be achieved in a closet and a bookcase.
Kassia Becker, Minneapolis
In the last three years, I have sent the book “The New Earth from Above 365 Days” to ministers, retirees, farmers and friends because each day you look at the book you will see a place here on Earth from above and on the opposite page it explains what you are seeing.
Bob Fields, St. Louis Park
My aunt often sent us books for Christmas. One sticks out in particular: “Arm in Arm” by Remy Charlip. This is a wonderful book. The text is quirky and funny, and I could lose myself in the pictures for hours.
It was one of the first books I gave my niece and nephews when they could read.
Carolyn Jackson, Edina
My favorite book to give is Dr. Amit Sood’s “The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living.” Backed by brain research, Dr. Sood explains how and why our daily stress causes unhealthy anxiety and restlessness, as well as how our lives can become fuller, more peaceful and meaningful. The book is a breath of fresh air, a “cleanse” in our tense world. This “it makes so much sense” book is at the top of my gift-giving list.
Jane Kepple Johnson, Albert Lea
“The Cookie Garden” by Linda Henry. I’m buying this wonderful children’s book for all my nieces and nephews this year! It’s about a child who isn’t crazy about eating his vegetables, so his mom and dad help him grow a cookie garden. Whenever I read this book to my children, they are always so inspired by Sam’s imagination. It encourages them to think outside the box and know that the sky is truly the limit!
Katherine Streff, Eagan
I’m giving people copies of Joseph Finder’s “Guilty Minds,” a very timely book and my favorite thriller of the year.
David J. Montgomery, Potomoc Falls, Va.
Now that we’ve had the First Folio in town, I think some people will be getting Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven” for Christmas.
Julie Ahasay, Duluth
This year I bought my mother, wife and daughter and granddaughter copies of Gloria Steinem’s “My Life on the Road.” Recently, when Steinem visited the Twin Cities, she alluded that after the presidential election, she will be spending more time at home. If this is her last book, it’s a must, right?
Also, I like to give copies of “Betty Crocker Cookbook.” In a world of culinary trends, I think it’s important for young people to return to the basics. I also make it a point to give them editions that don’t contain microwave recipes.
Danny Klecko, St. Paul