Holiday Gift Guide 2016

It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us, which means colder weather (in theory), festive music, lots of food… and puzzling over what to buy for gifts this year.

We know that, as much fun as gift giving is, it can be daunting and even stressful. But we’re here to help! 

May we present: the blue manatee holiday gift guide of 2016.

Books make great gifts (you can never really have too many), and we’ve put together a list of books that are well suited to different interests. They appeal to a wide range of ages, too; whether you’re buying for your newborn niece or your full-grown second-cousin-in-law, we’ve got you covered!


Holiday Gift Guide

For the world travelers (or those who aspire to be): Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras & Ella Morton


Be warned: this hefty book will almost certainly make you want to leave everything behind and go see the world—every weird, wonderful bit of it. Heading to Ireland? You’ll want to see the Vanishing Lake. Traveling to Turkey? Make sure you stop by the hair museum, which is exactly what it sounds like. From the beautiful to the bizarre, this is the ultimate guidebook to the world’s most interesting places.

For the lifelong Harry Potter fan: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay


We’ve been hearing a lot about Harry Potter lately, what with the release of the Cursed Child and the new Fantastic Beasts movie. But you might have missed this: a new edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the second book in the series and gorgeously illustrated in full color by Jim Kay. Rediscover the magic, or introduce it to a new reader, with this beautiful book.

For the little bookworms: The 20th Century Children’s Book Treasury, selected by Janet Schulman


This is the perfect gift for little guys just beginning to build their first libraries. The selected stories range from classic to contemporary, including favorites such as Madeline, Guess How Much I Love You?, The Stinky Cheese Man, Where the Wild Things Are, and Alexander & The Terrible, No Good Very Bad Day, among many, many others. It’s like giving someone an entire bookshelf in one lovely volume!

For the young scientists: The Book of Totally Irresponsible Science by Sean Connolly


This book pulls double duty: it’s great for kids who are interested in science, but also for kids who are perpetually “bored.” Within its pages are 64 experiments, all fairly easy (and safe) to conduct at home, accompanied by simple scientific explanations for why things in our world behave the way they do—things like electricity, and acceleration, and heat. It’s so much fun, kids won’t even realize how much they’re learning!

For fans of Beatrix Potter: A Celebration of Beatrix Potter: Art and Letters by More Than 30 of Today’s Favorite Children’s Book Illustrators


If you loved Beatrix Potter’s stories growing up, you’ll fall head over heels in love with this tribute to her work. Some of the biggest names in children’s books (Tomie dePaola, Peggy Rathmann, Brian Pinkney, Peter Reynolds, etc. etc.) come together to create their own illustrations of Potter’s beloved characters, accompanied by a short letter describing what her stories meant (and continue to mean) to them. It’s a great keepsake, and a wonderful celebration of Potter’s life and work.

For the overly stressed: Coloring bookscoloring-books-4

Yes, we’re serious—coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. The coloring book craze that began over a year ago hasn’t died yet; if anything, it’s growing, with more diverse and intricate coloring books every day. But they are all created with the same idea in mind: coloring is fun. It’s relaxing. And who doesn’t need to relax these days? Believe us when we say there’s a coloring book out there for every taste, whether you’re buying for a child or an adult.

For the adventurers: Atlantis series by T.A. Barron


T.A. Barron, New York Times bestselling author of the beloved Merlin series, astounds us yet again with this retelling of an old legend: that of the lost city of Atlantis. Everyone has heard how the city was lost… but do you know how Atlantis was created? Find out in this magical, action-packed trilogy, great for middle readers.

For the animal lovers: Animalium by Jenny Broom & Katie Scott


Stunning illustrations in a large-book format will thrill any and every animal lover. Covering everything from invertebrates and amphibians to birds and mammals, this scientific look at life on Earth is beautiful to look at and interesting to read. It’s also part of an awesome series called “Welcome to the Museum,” which includes Historium and Botanicum (pub. March 2017).

For the tech whiz: Coding Games in Scratch: A Step-By-Step Visual Guide to Building Your Own Computer Games, from DK Books


Do you know a kid who loves video games? Well, what could be better than teaching him (or her) how to create their own? This guide will teach kids everything they need to know to get started, from what makes a good computer game to the basics of scratch (essentially just using ready-made blocks instead of complicated code). There are lots of examples to get you started, with step-by-tree16step instructions and lots of visuals for reference. You’ll be the hit of the holiday season with this gift!

If you need even more ideas for gifts, click through last year’s Holiday Gift Guide, or stop in blue manatee and browse in person!

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