Gift Ideas

Bookish Gifts for the Traveling Family

It’s that time of year! I’m not a Black Friday 4 a.m.-in-the-morning person, but I do like to snuggle up on the couch with one of my dogs and a cup of coffee, and peruse the offerings online. Books are wonderful gifts, and I have a few to recommend, but here are some other ideas for things that you might tuck under the Christmas tree too.

For Everyone

I LOVE my Paperwhite Kindle, and I never travel without it. Amazon has some great deals running on all their Kindles before Christmas. I especially like this one designed just for kids with no advertisements and a vocabulary builder. You can even set reading goals, track progress, and pick a color for the free cover.

Board Books for Babies and Toddlers

These adorable, colorful board books by Ashley Evanson (New York, San Francisco, London, and Paris) will keep a baby or toddler engaged while you travel to your next destination. Plus, because they are board books, they are sturdy and easy for little hands to hold.

Books for Kids 

If you are traveling to New York, be sure to pick up a copy of E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler before you visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This children’s classic about two children who run away to live in The Met, and end up discovering a mystery is one of my favorite read-alouds.

On the opposite coast, San Francisco is a fantastic getaway to celebrate the holiday season. We usually try to get an overnight there just after Christmas and before the New Year. You can find some great last-minute deals on hotels, and visiting the grand Christmas tree in Union Square and eating dim sum in Chinatown are two of my favorite ways to spend time in San Francisco. Oh, be sure not to miss the antics of the puppies and kittens up for adoption in Macys window displays. If you go, be sure to read Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. I’ll be featuring this book in a future post. The book takes place in San Francisco and includes two friends, a mystery, and a hunt for clues all over the city. This book is a good fit for readers age 10-14.

For the Family

Not necessarily book-related, but these car trip bingo cards keep everyone’s eyes of devices and observing things on the road. I had these as a kid, I bought them for my kids when they were young, and they are still in my car.

A road trip can be the perfect time to listen to an Audible book together. Our family favorites include Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (narrated by the incomparable Jim Dale), Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (including a fiddler playing Pa’s songs on the fiddle) and The Bad Beginning, the first book in The Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket. These books can be enjoyed by everyone in your family.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for this year? I’m thankful for the people in my life, and especially thankful to the Smith College and Denison College parents who are driving and hosting our daughter and her boyfriend back east for Thanksgiving. This is their first Thanksgiving away from family, and I can’t wait to hear about their East Coast Thanksgiving experience.  We’re celebrating at my friends’ home with their family and our family, and I’ll be back on Sunday with another installment of Open Road Reads.


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