Gift Guide: 12 Books 0-6 Year Olds Will Love This Christmas
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
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I recently heard of this genius idea: books instead of an advent calendar. You wrap 24 books, and each night your children pick one from underneath the Christmas tree, and you read it together before bed.
This incorporates three of my favourite things: books, Christmas and bed. Four things really, if you count my children, collectively (I’m quite certain I’m supposed to count them), or perhaps more specifically my children,
collectively, not hyped up on candy canes and cheap advent calendar chocolate.
I started thinking about the reality of this idea, and decided that 24 gifts was just too much. (Our shelves don’t have space for 24 new books. And my children definitely do not need gifts every day for nearly a month!)
So instead I think I’ll do books for the 12 days of Christmas.
And in the interests of assisting you all with your Christmas shopping, I'm going to share a list of 12 of my favourite kids' books. (I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the lookout for gift recommendations, and books make the perfect gift, especially the kind that are that great, read it again, just one more time, night after night, book.)
1. Pea and Nut
Age: 2 - 5 years
Bright and fun pictures, a cute rhyming story and a lesson in patience and generosity. Just one look, and I knew this was going to be a hit with my two year old.
Age: 2 - 5 years
The reason I love this book? Everytime I ask, ‘Is your Grandmother a goanna?’ it’s met with cries of ‘No!’, squeals and shrieks of laughter. What more could you ask for at story time? Quietude? Pfffftt!
Pro tip: switch the word 'Grandmother' with whatever your family calls one of the grandmothers. For us, this book is 'Is your Nonna a goanna?' I've read it to the boys with the original wording, and it didn’t have quite the same impact.
Age: 2 - 6 years
The latest book in the very cranky bear series. My two year old loves all of these books. They each have catchy rhymes and sweet story lines. Bear is always endearing. This is top of my Christmas list for my youngest son.
Age: 3 - 6 years
This is a very sweet book for little ones who are about to venture off to school (or kindy or daycare) for the first time. Trace Moroney’s Things I Love… books are a really gentle and positive take on the everyday.
My eldest starts school next year, and this one will be a regular in our reading rotation in the lead-up.
Age: 0 - 4 years
A beautiful board book for small children. The rhythm and rhyme are lovely to read out loud, keeping even the littlest of listeners enraptured. The pictures are brilliant and the story is sweet. And who doesn't love to read about our beautiful Australian animals?
This is a favourite in our house and is one of my go-to books to gift to babies and very small people.
Age: 2 - 4 years
Everyone loves the TV show. And now there are books!
If you’re not familiar with Bluey, it’s about a family of blue heeler dogs, based in Brisbane (my home town!). It’s wholesome goodness at its best.
One of the best bits about Bluey: my kids get to see a family just like ours (except we're most definitely not dogs). Both parents work, Dad is the primary carer, no one in the family is perfect. It’s all just so relatable. (Except for the episode when the kids drop the freshly bought takeaway dinner on the ground, and Dad doesn’t yell or cry. I’m pretty sure my husband would have sat in the gutter and sobbed.)
A word of warning about the books though: they’re board books and Bluey: The Beach is a lift-the-flap book. Really sweet, but definitely aimed at the younger of their television viewers.
Age: 4 - 7 years
This is one of my favourites from when I was a kid. As the mother of two little Wild Things, I love the idea that they sail across the seas of their fantasies, but return home to the place where someone loves them best of all.
Where the Wild Things Are contains one of the all time best lines from a children's book. "We’ll eat you up — we love you so!"
There’s a story that once a child ate what was probably an almost priceless original Maurice Sendak sketch. And the reason? He ate because he loved it so much. Children are endearingly insane.
Age: 5+ years
Kind is the new brave! This hardback collection of re-imagined fairy tales shows us that kind boys with big hearts are the real heroes.
This book is a lovely treasury of stories that makes the perfect gift for a small bold hero. Kindness is one of my biggest hopes for my little people, so this book has definitely made it onto my shopping list.
9. Stick Man
Age: 3 - 7 years
If you're not familiar with Stick Man, it's an oldie but a goodie. It features Santa, so a great one for Christmas, but in our house it's on rotation year round.
Written and illustrated by the creators of The Gruffalo, it's gets kids in with that same inexplicable pull. (My kids absolutely love anything by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler — I don't always understand it, but this is definitely one of theirs that I'm totally on board with.)
Age: 1 - 5 years
This is one of my favourite counting books. A great rhyme and a fun story. (Though, the first time I read it, I was a little concerned about where it was going. Don't worry, unsurprisingly, it all works out in the end.)
We’ve read it so many times, that we often just recite it like a nursery rhyme when we’re driving in the car. The true sign of a good book!
Age: 4+ years
Ada Lovelace, Amelia Earhart and Marie Curie. Need I say more? I love a book that highlights how great women can be. And these books are the epitome of that!
This boxed set is gift goals. But the singular books are also a gorgeous little stocking stuffer. (And the books in the series aren’t all about women. David Bowie, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, David Attenborough. The list is enormous. And incredibly inspiring!)
If you’re after more children's books about kick arse women, you should also check out Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World.
Age: 3+ years
This book was given to us a few years back, and it remains one of the most beautiful books on our shelves.
Simple and stunning illustrations with an alphabet of feelings. The only downside: the feelings don't come with an explanation or description. So the reader needs to explain a lot to the kids as you read. It's not one I reach for at the end of a long day. But it's a great way to spark discussions about big emotions.
If you're after a book about emotions that's a little less taxing on the parents, check out Trace Moroney's When I'm Feeling… series. You can grab a boxed set or individual books. These books put simplistic explanations around some really big feelings. Perfect for small children.
Here's a recap of the 12 books, with links on where you can buy them:
1. Pea and Nut
9. Stick Man
Do you have any children’s book recommendations you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below or hit me up on my contact page.