Woodinville librarians offer holiday gift book suggestions

  • Written by Shannon Michael, Features Writer

Do you have an avid reader on your holiday shopping list but need ideas for what to buy? You’re in luck, as librarians Bigelane Unger, Jennifer Carter, Pamela Hunter, and Kathleen O’Keeffe at Woodinville Library have narrowed down the wide variety of choices to create suggestions for the children, teens and adults on your gift list.


Picture Books

"Tap the Magic Tree," by Christie Matheson, 2013.

There is magic in every tree and this story is a charming way for a young child to discover that magic. Simple text and colorful tissue paper illustrations ask the reader to tap, jiggle, clap, count, and more. Each activity is rewarded with a change in picture and change in season for the tree. Wonderful fun!

Mr. Wuffles!

, by David Wiesner, 2013.

Mr. Wuffles, the cat, has a new toy ... but wait! It’s not a toy at all! Mr. Wuffles has found a real life miniature spaceship with little green aliens inside! The cat wants to play, but his roughhousing damages the craft and frightens the occupants. When the aliens retreat under the radiator, they find insect allies who help them escape the claws of the cat. This nearly wordless picture book from Caldecott winner, David Wiesner, is a delightful fantasy adventure for all!


Chapter Books

"Fortunately, the Milk,"

by Neil Gaiman, 2013, grades 3 and up.

Neil Gaiman delivers an adventure packed book that is sure to delight families everywhere. When Mom is away and the family runs out of milk, Dad must brave aliens, talking dinosaurs, "wumpires," pirates, dancing dwarfs and the space-time continuum in order to save breakfast and bring home the milk. Kirkus Reviews says, "If you read only one book this year, a story with dancing dwarfs is always a wise choice." In other words, read this book!

"One Came Home,"

  by Amy Timberlake, 2012, Grades 4 and up.

When Wild West, sharp shooting, 13-year-old Georgie Burkhardt is asked to "identify" the remains of her older sister, she refuses to believe that her sister Agatha is laid out in that coffin. Georgie sets out on a journey through the western frontier to find her sister and bring her home. She will track every last clue and shred of evidence about the murder but can she prove her sister is still alive?  This book is a 2014 "You Choose the Next Newbery" nominee. To vote, visit:

"Dead Boys,"

by Royce Buckingham, 2010, grades 5 and up.

Bellingham resident and Richland, Wash., native, author Royce Buckingham, tells a tale of horror set on the site of the Hanford Nuclear Facility.  When Teddy moves to Richland, Wash., his mom encourages him to make friends. Little does Teddy know that his friends are dead. Can he avoid the fate these boys have endured? A 2014 Sasquatch Award nominee.

Teen Fiction


"The Fifth Wave,"

by Rick Yancey, 2013, grades 9 and up.

One of the big hits in teen fiction this year has been The Fifth Wave, by Rick Yancey. Part of its appeal, no doubt, has to do with the way it hits the ground running, given that this story of the "fifth wave" of alien invaders picks up after four other catastrophes have left Earth, and the humans remaining, reeling. The much anticipated Fifth Wave #2 (The Infinite Sea) is due to come out in May of 2014, so this holiday season would be an excellent time to give your favorite teen reader a copy of this first book.

"Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire,"

by Elizabeth Wein, 2012-2013, grades 9 and up.

Another book, which has been well received by teens and adults alike, is Code Name Verity. It came out in 2012, followed up this year with Rose Under Fire. Set in World War II, these books create fascinating and gripping stories of women spies and pilots from England, and how they become entangled in the war. They would make an excellent set of books for the historical fiction fan in your life.


by Veronica Roth, 2013, grades 9 and up. This is the final book in the Divergent trilogy, following 2011’s Divergent, and 2012’s Insurgent. The final installment finishes the story of Tris, a young woman struggling to survive in a faction-based dystopian world. Currently one of the most popular series in teen fiction, the whole trilogy will undoubtedly be even more popular soon, given that the film Divergent is set to come out in March 2014, starring Shailene Woodley, as Tris.


by Brandon Sanderson, 2013, grades 6 and up.

Steelheart is another wildly popular teen novel set in a dystopian world. It tells the story of David, who as an 8-year-old witnessed the death of his father. Now 18, David vows to seek revenge. Firefight, the sequel to Steelheart, is scheduled for release in the fall of 2014.


by Rainbow Rowell, 2013, Grades 8 and up. For a change of pace, it’s kind of nice to read about a character set in the real world, or at least as close as the world of college can offer. For Cath, it’s the world of her freshman year. To get through it she had counted on the comfortable companionship of her twin sister, and the even more comforting fantasy world she reads and writes about, as an author of fan fiction. What she gets, however, is a world that offers complex relationships and the opportunity to grow in ways she never expected.

Adult Fiction

"The Cuckoo’s Calling,"

by Peter Galbraith (J. K. Rowling’s pseudonym), 2013.

Meet Cormoran Strike, an intriguing new private investigator in the mystery genre. Strike hangs up his shingle in London after losing a leg to a land mine in Afghanistan. He is not exactly successful in his career or private life, but things start to look up when John Bristow hires him to investigate the apparent suicide of his sister, a famous model named Lula Landry.  This is the stuff of tabloids, and Strike immerses himself in that world to find the truth. Cormoran Strike is the latest creation of J. K. Rowling.  Expect to see more of his adventures in the future.


by Jo Baker, 2013.

Pride and Prejudice fans are sure to enjoy this fresh take on the Bennet household of Longbourn, told from the servants’ perspectives. An engaging plot, interesting characters, and rich historical detail will please the Janeites on your list.

"The Rosie Project: A Novel," by Graeme Simsion, 2013. This unconventional romantic comedy brings together Don Tillman, a genetics professor who chalks up his extreme social awkwardness to Asperger’s, and Rosie Jarman, a high-spirited student who works as a bartender on the side.  When Don decides it’s time to get married, he begins his Wife Project with a multi-page survey designed to identify his perfect mate. Rosie absolutely does not qualify.  Or does she?

Adult Nonfiction

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks,

by Amy Stewart, 2013.

Part botany, part history, part mixology, this book is informative and entertaining, with attractive woodcut-style illustrations.  A good choice for amateur brewmeisters, wine enthusiasts, and armchair botanists. Cheers!

Elwha: A River Reborn,

by Lynda Mapes, photography by Steve Ringman, 2013.

Several dams were built on the Olympic Peninsula’s Elwha River a century ago, promising power for local industry but severely damaging the local ecosystem.

In 2011, work began on removing the dams and restoring the ecology of the watershed – the largest reclamation project of its kind in the world.

This book covers the history of the dams, including the impact on the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, the years of activism that led up to the removal of the dams, and the remarkable comeback of the area as prime spawning ground for Chinook salmon and other wildlife. With color photographs and historic images, this is a great gift for outdoor enthusiasts.

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