I’ve curated this list of Great Books to Give as Gifts carefully. I’ve read them, I’ve given them, and I’ve received them. There’s a book for everyone you know on this list!
My favorite thing to give to people, friends and strangers alike, is a good book. Books are magic to me and if given the opportunity to share a little magic with someone, I will always try.
The best books to gift are the ones that come from the heart. They’re the books that you’ve read and loved and can wrap up with a personal note about how it changed your life, why you loved it, or why you think the recipient will appreciate it.
That being said, sometimes you just need a gift and you don’t want to have to read it first. Fair enough. Let me do some of the hard work for you!
I’ve read all of these books (with the exception of 2, which I’ve noted below). I’ve gifted many of these books, and I’ve received several of them as gifts too. There are more than 40 books here! Not everybody will enjoy every book on this list, but there is definitely a book on this list for everyone. These are great books to give as gifts and I stand behind that statement completely!
If you’re looking for something a little more specific, these might also be helpful:
- The Best Picture Books To Give As Gifts
- 25 Great Clean Books for Teen Boys
- The Best Non-Fiction Books for Men
- 30 Book Series for Kids
- Beginner Chapter Books for Independent Readers
- 25 Great Chapter Book Series for Kids 8 to 12
Or, check out the form in the sidebar (if you’re on a computer) or scroll to the bottom of the page (if you’re on mobile) and look for the box that says “WE RECOMMEND BOOKS” – fill out the quick online form for personalized book recommendations!
And without further ado, here are all the Great Books to Give as Gifts.
Great Books To Give as Gifts (For All Ages)
For the friend who loves decorating, recently moved, or wants to embrace more cozy minimalism in their life.
I loved this book! It’s a fun book with practical tips that are easy to follow. Whether you are just beginning to decorate your home, ready to start completely over, or just want to tweak a few things here and there, this is the perfect guide. It’s such a warm, cozy book, which makes it such a delightfully warm and cozy gift.
For all the kids in your life.
Kids LOVE this book! It’s an over sized book with life sized photographs of 21 different animals. My kids have spent so much time poring over the photos and comparing their hands, their heads, their feet, to the animals. I now know that a Tiger’s tongue is bigger than my hand and its front teeth are longer than my thumbs! Such a fun gift!
For the young people (age 8 and up) you know who think they don’t like to read.
I recommend this book and its sequel to everyone I talk to (and that is barely an exaggeration). The author, a former teacher, wrote it for her students that kept telling her they didn’t like to read. She wanted to write the book that would change their minds. I’m calling it a success! It’s a thrilling, edge of your seat kind of story that even the most reluctant young reader – boy or girl- will find gripping. It’s also excellent on audio!
For the friend who’s had a really rough year.
I’ve gifted this book more than once. It’s the most compassionate and helpful book when someone is dealing with something rough in their life – divorce, death, illness, etc. I give this one my highest recommendation.
For the people you know who like pizza, a.k.a. everyone.
You guys, this one sells itself. The publisher says, “Pizza Camp is the ultimate guide to achieving pizza nirvana at home, from the chef who is making what Bon Appetit magazine calls “the best pizza in America.”
For the people in your life who like to keep up with the hot new thing.
This is the brand new book everyone is talking about, which makes it a great gift. I haven’t read it, but I want to . . . doesn’t everyone?
For the kids who are going to see the new movie next month, and the adults who grew up loving the old one.
Mary Poppins is my favorite movie, but I was surprised by how different the book was when I finally read it to my own children. Different, but still very good. This illustrated edition is the perfect addition to everyone’s home library.
For your friend who loves their instant pot and for your friend that is scared to turn hers on.
There are a lot of instant pot cookbooks out there, but I’m partial to this one by Melissa Clark. I’ve been a long time fan of her recipes in The New York Times, and these recipes are just as delicious. It makes an especially nice gift because it’s BEAUTIFUL as well as incredibly useful.
For your friend who still wishes there were another season of Downton Abbey.
This 5 book series is fantastic. I gifted it to myself and I’ve been very pleased with myself ever since. Beginning in 1937, this series follows the Cazalet family through the 1950’s in Sussex. It’s the most lovely period drama for those who love a good family saga.
For your friend who loves readable cookbooks and tea parties.
This is so much fun! It’s the full original text of Pride and Prejudice, but mixed with original recipes from Martha Stewart throughout. It really brings this classic to life! And the presentation could not be prettier. I can’t wait to gift this one.
For the friend who loves a good parody.
Written by a sketch comedy group, this book is a laugh out loud hilarious parody of the Sky Mall catalogs they handout on airplanes. From the Animal Spirit Breast Feeding Mask to the Dolphin Strap-On Cowboy Legs, this book is golden.
For the picture book readers and their listeners.
This is everything a picture book should be. It’s perfect. I love to gift this book because I feel very confident that the recipients will love it as much as I do. When I gift this, I like to include a note that says, “Nobody likes a goblin, but I really like you.”
For anyone that loves a well told story, especially if it’s historical fiction.
This book makes a wonderful gift because it is so widely appealing. I know grown men, teenagers, and a few 10 year olds that LOVE this book. A great story transcends age. With the Vietnam War as the backdrop, seventh grader Holling Hoodhood has to spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher and he’s pretty sure she must hate him because she’s making him read Shakespeare. But there’s more to it than that!
For the literary friend looking for the next Great American Novel.
This is a literary masterpiece! And, it’s a National Book Award winner so you don’t have to just take my word for it. It’s set in Mississippi and tackles race relations, violence, and family ghosts.
For the literary friend who’s probably already read Sing, Unburied, Sing.
Another literary masterpiece and it’s brand new (September 2018). It’s an antebellum novel about an 11 year old slave on a plantation in Barbados. It’s full of adventure and excitement, even as it deals with the horrors of slavery. Excellent read!
For everyone who enjoys family and friends, but also for newlyweds, new parents, and people who enjoy delicious food.
I adore this book. It’s one of my favorite books to gift! Jenny has compiled, with her signature humor and style, all of her family’s best rituals and recipes for birthdays, holidays, and everyday occasions. I’ve read it cover to cover 5 times, with no end in sight.
For the quirky friend who will completely appreciate a Jane Austen novel where all the characters are dragons.
This is such a fun book to recommend and to gift. It’s such a unique and surprising premise, but incredibly well written and widely appealing. It’s also a bit of a hidden gem. It’s not nearly as well known as it deserves to be. It’s also not whimsical at all. It reads like a serious (though witty) regency novel, not unlike Jane Austen. But, everyone is a dragon. It’s fantastic!
For the tender hearted, animal loving kids in your life.
This treasury is the sweetest, most charming addition to any family’s library. Set in the Yorkshire countryside, the stories are narrated by James Herriot, the country vet making house calls. This is the most requested bed time story book at our house.
For people with families.
There’s a lot of good advice in this book that you’ve probably never heard before, but it’s not pushy at all and it’s very readable. It’s definitely not a one size fits all kind of book and no matter what your family looks like, you’ll probably find something helpful in this book.
For the friend who appreciates a fantastic reference book.
This book has been so well loved at my house that cover is falling off now. It’s probably the most read book we own! This is another widely appealing gift. My kids are fascinated by it and spend hours looking at it and using tracing paper to recreate the images. Adults will appreciate this expertly crafted book just as much!
For the young puzzle lover.
Inspired by Jules Verne’s famous story, this book is filled with gorgeous illustrations and puzzles that range from intricate mazes to missing object puzzles. It makes a gorgeous, entertaining gift.
For everyone who grew up loving this iconic movie.
The author played Westley in the movie. Now he’s spilling all the behind the scenes secrets. So good! It’s also really great on audio – read by all the actors.
For the friend who appreciates a good near death experience and loves a well written essay.
This is my favorite book of the year. It’s a collection of 17 essays about death, but it’s actually incredibly life affirming. It’s absolutely compelling right from the very first essay.
For all the toddlers and preschoolers you know. They will love this!
This was gifted to us and it’s pure genius. Gift it with a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Pancake Mix, and you’ll be the favorite gift giver of the year. (There are also Pizza and Taco versions of this book that are just as fun.)
For the friend who doesn’t have a lot of time to read but wishes she did.
This is a fantastic book to read with kids to introduce them to a wide variety of famous (and more obscure) poetry. But, it’s also just a great collection of poetry organized to fit every day of the year. I wrote more about it here, but the short version is: We Love It and Highly Recommend It!
For the friend that just moved into or out of the neighborhood.
Warnick believes, and so do I, that you can feel at home wherever you are. But unlike me, she’s done all the research and can tell you how. This is an engaging book and will make a lovely gift.
For the friend that loves fascinating historical biographies.
The Little House on the Prairie books have been wildly popular for almost a century. But this meticulously researched book is the true story behind the famous childhood books. I could not put it down!
For all the clever little ones you know.
Everyone needs a good ABC book (or two, or ten) and this is one of the best.
For your entrepreneurial, creative friend.
This is fantastic narrative non-fiction with so many new, original ideas for creating success the non-conformist way. Fascinating and helpful! Before I had even finished, I was calling my siblings to recommend they go grab this one ASAP.
For the friend who doesn’t know how to cook but probably should.
This is how I learned how to cook everything and I still refer back to it regularly. It’s comprehensive and accessible – the ultimate cookbook.
For the friend with kids.
This is such a GREAT book! It’s full of practical advice for creating a reading culture in your home. It’s also packed with fantastic book lists for all ages to get you started. There is nothing I love more than reading with my kids. Note: This one is written from a Christian perspective, but it’s not overwhelming and even if you don’t align with the author’s religious views, there so much of value in this book.
For the friend with a scientific mind.
This may be non-fiction, but it’s just as exciting as a book about dinosaurs should be!
For all the kids that need a strong female heroine in their lives.
This is one of the best middle grade fiction books of the year! If you’re gifting to a kid between the ages of 8 and 13, this is the book. There are sword fights and castles, a mysterious witch, and a great adventure to follow, all set to the backdrop of medieval Scotland. It’s great!
For the friend that doesn’t have a lot of time to read but loves a compelling story.
Photos of real people accompanied by their real stories in their own words. They’ll make you laugh and cry. It’s a beautiful book to look at and will really pull your heart strings. Excellent choice for the coffee table.
For the kid who loves a good search and find sprinkled with riddles.
Most kids I know go crazy for a book like this (my own included). Guaranteed fun!
For your millenial friend who loves a grown up book with pictures.
This is a beautifully relatable book about growing up filled with Mari Andrew’s instagram famous illustrations. I adore this one.
For the teenager who still believes in a Cinderella romance.
These books are a cross between The Bachelor and Cinderella. They’re ridiculous, but also very hard to put down (I know, I read them all). Okay fine, they’re completely adorable. I love them. They’re clean reads, only PG romance, so you won’t get in trouble with parents when you gift this set.
For the teenager who would skip the Bachelor for the History Channel.
I think everyone should read these books! Set during the Revolutionary War, these books follow Isabel, a slave who is determined to find freedom. Masterfully written historical fiction. These are great books to give as gifts!
For all the kids.
An illustrated collection of all the best animals. My kids have spent hours with this book. Plus, you can gift it with this accompanying activity book!
For the creative mom (or dad) in your life.
This was such an influential book in my early years of parenting. It helped me really think about making my home a creative place for my children to grow and thrive. It’s so inspiring! It would make a beautiful gift to the parents of young children.
For the friend who feels overwhelmed by cooking for a family.
Hands down, the BEST cookbook when you’re feeding a family. I’ve been using this cookbook for a decade and it never goes out of style.
For the people on your list that think they don’t like to read (13 and up)
Even people who think they don’t like to read will often still enjoy a good comic. This collection is THE BEST.
For all the babies you know.
Because it’s the best board book for the baby listening and the grown up reading. It’s so beautiful.
For anyone who could use a little magic in their lives.
This is my all time favorite book and, as far as great books to give as gifts go, the absolute best book of all. You can read more about it here.
Do you have any questions about these books? Leave me a comment here!