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There are few things more gratifying than that moment your child takes a real interest in reading to themselves. Early literacy is a magical time when the decoding of phonetics and the uncertainty of bigger concepts all come into focus and—suddenly—reading is no longer a chore to be tacked on at the end of homework but a genuinely fun and enjoyable pastime.
Whether you've got a reader on your hands—or you're just hoping to cultivate one—here are some of our favorite gifts for budding bookworms. If your child is already showing a love of books and is devouring them faster than you can keep up, congratulations! If you have a reader who is struggling, these ideas might get them excited about books and might nudge them into a lifelong love of reading.
1. A personalized book
Best for ages: 0 and up Wonderbly has created a whole line of personalized kids' books that are exciting for kids to crack open and will engage young readers. Kids will get so excited about being the star of their own stories and seeing their name in print. Wonderbly stories deftly focus on social-emotional storytelling (without being heavy-handed), so these are self-esteem-boosting and introspection-inspiring books that are just as feel good as they are entertaining.
2. A book light for reading under the covers
Best for ages: 3 and up Sneaking in the last few chapters of a book under the covers (and often oversleeping for school the next day) is a book-lovers rite of passage. It’s really hard to blame them when we are all guilty of doing it ourselves. We encourage you to embrace it with this angler-fish inspired booklight, for when kids keep on reading deep into the midnight zone.
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3. A subscription box to expand their library
Best for ages: 0 - 10 Once you have a reader on your hands, satisfy their insatiable thirst for new and exciting books with a monthly book delivery! Bookaroo sends age- and reading level-specific books right to your doorstep every month, with a picture book subscription for younger kids and a chapter book option for older ones.
Librarians tout this box for having some of the best book selections around. Each title that arrives is gift-wrapped (so nice if you are giving this to a child who lives far away). The deliveries come with info cards that tell a bit about each title and give thoughtful questions and conversation starters, to help your kid turn into the type of human who will be everyone’s first pick when they start a book club.
4. For the budding author
Best for ages: 4 and up Got a creative kiddo? Let their imagination go the distance when they turn their own original story into an actual, printed book. This multi award-winning, DIY book-authoring kit lets kids create their own story with words and pictures that they mail off to be returned as a professionally printed and bound 20-page hardcover book. Clear some space on your bookshelf now; once the book authoring bug bites you can expect them to just keep creating.
5. All the tools they need to start their own library
Best for ages: 5 and up Once they start building their library, they may want to start loaning those books out. For a budding bibliophile, there's no greater pleasure than sharing a beloved book, but it’s pretty crushing when those books get lost. Here is a library kit so they can experience the joy of sharing books, without the agony of them being lost forever.
6. An encyclopedia to answer all of their burning questions
Best for ages: 5 to 12 If you have a kid with a curious mind, this amazing 424-page encyclopedia will be their go-to compendium for answering all of their questions of “how” and “why.” We can’t recommend this stunningly illustrated kids’ encyclopedia enough. It covers more than 170 topics, with engaging insights from over 100 experts that really excite kids on their level. It is chock full of fun and fascinating facts and brimming with explanations that get kids asking for more.
7. A brainy bedtime book of sleep stories
Best for ages: 4 to 9 Why do we sleep? Do animals dream? Where is the biggest bed in the world?
These aren’t your average bedtime stories. This collection of night-related knowledge told in fascinating story form takes kids to Ancient Egypt to explore the beds of Tutankhamun, then off into space to see how astronauts get ready for bed, and even under water to learn how hibernating turtles breathe through their butts! There are 30 amazing 5-minute stories, with all facts verified by Britannica.
Gorgeously illustrated on every page with specially commissioned artwork, and packed full of expert-provided information, this book is the ultimate brainy bedtime companion for children aged 4 to 9.
8. A story telling speaker to read to them, when you can’t
Best for ages: 3 to 12 Studies show that when children are read to for 20-minutes or more daily, it helps to cultivate them into better readers and helps expand their overall reading comprehension. Some days we can’t read to our kids right when they want us to; the Yoto is the answer for kids who just can't be read to enough.
Filled with classic and best-selling titles read by elementary school teachers, icons like Earth Kitt, and Oscar winners like Kate Winslet, this screen-free speaker is a favorite of the Reviewed parenting team! With beloved books by authors like Julia Donaldson, the device is definitely great for little ones, but it also ages really well with the full library of Roald Dahl books, Enid Blyton titles, and classics like The Jungle Book and Treasure Island.
9. A set of bookplates for the kid who likes to lend their books
Best for ages: 5 and up There is something so satisfying about having your name in a book; it makes it feel like the fantasy world you visit when you read them is yours forever. Ensure that favorite books never get lost with a custom set of book plates that reflect your kiddo’s personality. These come in an array of designs that are great for kids of all ages, from giraffes and tricycles to butterflies and rainbows. These bookplates are colorful and customizable stickers that are personalized with their name and an image of their choice.
10. An eReader so they can bring a whole library everywhere they go
Best for ages: 7 and up For the book-lover who always wants to bring three or four extra books “just in case.” Lighten their load with the kid-centric version of the Kindle's ever-popular Paperwhite eReader. This kid-friendly Kindle has parental controls to ensure all of the content that’s downloaded is age-appropriate. Small, lightweight and compact, they can bring the whole Magic Treehouse series with them on summer vacation, or a handful of favorites just in case a dentist appointment goes a bit too long.
If they burn through books quicker than you can buy them, know that the Kindle supports downloads from any library in the country.
11. A first dictionary
Best for ages: 7 and up Of course they can always look up a word on Dictionary.com, but giving them the experience of a dictionary will open a whole new world for them. Remember looking up one word as a kid and, next thing you knew, you were reading your way through the entire page? Filled with gorgeous photos and diagrams, example sentences, and word root explanations, this dictionary is for the budding etymologist.
12. A bookmark that points to the exact spot you left off
Best for ages: 7 and up There’s nothing worse than losing your spot! This bookmark not only keeps their page, it points to the exact line they left off on. For the reader who is meticulous or for when they have to finish their chores right in the middle of a cliffhanger, this is a small but mighty life-saver that makes peeling them away from plot twists a little less traumatic.
13. A hilarious bookmark to make them smile
Best for ages: 6 and up Add a little bit of humor to their reading with these hilarious 3-D creature bookmarks. Best deployed when they are forced to slog through boring titles for school, these wacky and wild animals screaming from between their pages will get them giggling.
14. A subscription to an app with an endless supply of books
Best for ages: 3 to 12 If your bookworm is burning through titles faster than you can hit the library, the amazing Epic app will keep a steady stream of new stories immediately at their fingertips. With over 40,000 titles to choose from, your kid's reading material will never run dry.
For new or reluctant readers, this is—bar none—one of the best literacy-building apps available. Completely searchable by age and grade, they can easily find books that are right at their reading level and that will pique their interest. There is also a fantastic "read-to-me" option where titles are read aloud, highlighting each word as it's spoken, allowing kids to hone their phonetic and comprehension skills and build their reading confidence—all while freeing you up so you can read a book or two on your own.
15. A cushy chair to recline in
Best for ages: 2 and up Nothing goes better with a good book than a cozy chair to relax, recline, and read it in. This bean bag chair is big, comfy, and not too “kiddie.” It’ll easily blend into living room decor, or grow with them as their style changes but their love for a good book remains a constant.
16. A reading nook for privacy
Best for ages: 3 and up If your resident bookworm needs a special space to drift away into story land, this easy to assemble tent will be a dream come true. Gift them with their own special spot that feels like it was made just for page-turning.
17. A cozy pillow to snuggle up with
Best for ages: all ages If they are starting to nod off while reading—well, that's just a rite of passage! How about giving them something a little bit more comfortable to doze on? This cozy pillow is emblazoned with what are likely the last words they say every night before bed.
18. A shirt to declare their superpower
Best for ages: 2 to 12 Don't let them tell you any different, kid! Reading IS a superpower—let them declare it on their shirt. We just love this retro style and it comes in all sorts of colors, sizes, and styles so you can pick just the right one for your little literary superhero.
19. A bag to carry their favorite books around in
Best for ages: 3 and up Just right for kiddos with little arms but big reading ambitions: This “book bag” is perfect for carrying their favorite storybooks to grandma's house, or for packing up their numerous library returns (and carting another few home).
20. A bookcase reading nook
Best for ages: 3 to 10 Why they don't have this in adult-sizes is beyond us. This bookcase can fit all of their favorite books, and the reading area is a perfectly designed cradle for them to lean back and drift off into story land.
21. A soft stand to prop up their books
Best for ages: 4 and up On the couch, on the floor, in bed, or on the go—wherever they are reading this pillow lap stand will make reading more comfortable. This is perfect for a tablet or a book and the cozy plush covering makes it extra comfy for the coziest reading time.
22. Custom-made bookends
Best for ages: all ages Their book collection is getting bigger! How about some beautiful bookends that are inspired by creatures you only see in story land? If their books are their pride and joy they should be displayed in style with these custom-made bookends.
23. A cool new comic book series
This zany and gripping new three-book series follows the Zoo Patrol Squad as they crack criminal cases. Colorful, smart, and completely hilarious, these graphic novels were written expressly for young readers. These gorgeously illustrated books were both written and illustrated by Disney, Dreamworks and Marvel alum Brett Bean, and are filled with wacky animals, wild adventures and madcap mysteries. No matter how reluctant a reader you may have, this can't-put-it down series is sure to grab their attention and their imagination.
If your kid has already burned through the Dogman series (or you're tired of fart jokes) your kids will love this exciting, funny and smart book series (and you'll be grateful for them).
- Get Zoo Patrol: The Kingdom Squad Caper at Amazon for $9.99
- Get Zoo Patrol: Run, Monster, Run! at Amazon for $11.99
- Pre-order Zoo Patrol: New Sheriff in Town at Amazon for $12.99
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.