2017 Winter Book Fair
Books for Everyone on Your Christmas List!
It’s that time of the year again: Christmas is coming, and all the special people in your life need books under that tree! This is one of our favorite book lists to put together each year. We look back over the year’s reviews, our personal reading stacks, and what’s currently in print. Then, we determine the best titles, the ones that are true “keepers” and deserve a place in your home library (or the library of your nieces, nephews, grandchildren, neighbors, …). This is the longest list we’ve put together, and it’s full of terrific titles. Enjoy!
Note: at the end of this list, you will find links to our previous years’ lists. Good books don’t go out of style! (although they do, occasionally, go out of print)
Per usual, titles are linked to both amazon and RR reviews (where applicable). Amazon links are associate links; your “click through” on those links earns us a small bonus which in turn is what funds our tech costs for the year. We appreciate your support!
Books for When You Want to Give a Spiritual Resource
Did the buzz about the Reformation this year make you realize how much more there is to know? Several of these titles help families take the next step, particularly if your interest was piqued about the catechisms the Reformers were so keen to write and teach.
- Board Book: The Biggest Story ABC by Kevin DeYoung. The same concepts as The Biggest Story but broken down for the youngest children. Picture book. Ages 0-6. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Picture Book: The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible by Jared Kennedy, illustrated by Trish Mahoney. Just like it says: a perfect introduction to Bible story and sound theology for ages 3-5.
- Picture Book: Reformation ABCs by Stephen J. Nichols and illustrated by Ned Bustard. Learn about the key people, places, and things of the Reformation in bite-size format! Ages 4-10. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Bible: NKJV Color-Code Bible. Thomas Nelson, 2016. Seven major themes are highlighted in various colors, preceded by a 65-page introduction to books, writers, and Bible-reading tips. Ages 8-12. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Bible: HCSB (Christian Standard Version) Teen Essentials Study Bible. B&H Kids, 2016. One of our favorite teen Bibles from last year, Teen Essentials highlights ninety-nine important doctrines with scriptural justification and backup. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Family Devotional: Wise-Up by Marty Machowski. Proverbs. In case you missed out on our Wisdom & Wonder summer reading adventure! Designed to take 12 weeks. Ages 0-12. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Family Devotional/Catechism: The New City Catechism: God’s Truth for our Hearts and Minds, edited by Collin Hansen. An attempt to distill the best of the classical confessions (such as Westminster, Belgic, Heidelberg, etc.) into a 52-question document meant to equip contemporary Christians for challenges to the gospel. Ages 12 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Family Devotional/Catechism: Comforting Hearts Teaching Minds by Starr Meade. Designed to help families learn and memorize the Heidelberg Catechism with a year’s worth of daily devotions. Ages 10 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Family Devotional/Catechism: Training Hearts Teaching Minds by Starr Meade. Designed to help families learn and memorize the Westminster Shorter Catechism with two years’ worth of daily devotions. Ages 10 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Spiritual Memoir: The Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan. A memoir of Klavan’s journey from Judaism to Christianity, this is a terrific, literary read for teens and adults. Ages 16 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Family Devotional/Advent: Come Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul Tripp. A brand-new advent book, handsomely bound and bookmarked, by the author of What Did You Expect? and other family counseling books. Ages 12 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
Books for Kids Who Love Movies
- Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson. A classic! Make sure children read this before the new movie coming out! All Ages.
- Star Wars Epic Yarns: A New Hope by Jack Wang and Holman Wang. Needle felted illustrations gently introduce the youngest members of your family to Star Wars fandom. Picture book. Ages 0-8.
- Star Wars The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight by Tony Diterlizzi and illustrated by Ralph McQuarrie. A must for Star Wars fans of any age, this picture book uses the original concept art from the first movie! Ages 6 and up.
- Finding God in a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Timothy Paul Jones. An interesting exploration of Star Wars from a Christian perspective. Ages 12 and up.
- Ugly by Robert Hoge. A memoir about a boy with some similar physical impairments as Auggie from Wonder. A RR Staff favorite! Ages 10 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. A classic British sibling story from the 1930s full of frolics, adventures, and sailing. Ages 10-12 (reading level) or all ages (read aloud). Redeemed Reader Review.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. A search for her missing father brings Meg an adventure she never knew she wanted. Read it before the movie comes out in February! Ages 10 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
- A Wrinkle in Time Graphic Novel is also great! Redeemed Reader Review.
- Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. A classic even if you’ve seen the movie and know “whodunnit”! Ages 12 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
Books for When You Want to Give a Good Read
- Picture Book: Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker. A winner with the preschool crowd! Ages 0-8. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Picture Book/Easy Reader: You Are (Not) Small and others by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant. A perfect bridge from being read to, to reading on your own. Delightful. Picture book/easy reader. Ages 4-8. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Chapter Book/Read Aloud: The Lulu Books by Hilary McKay. Animal-loving Lulu has a new animal-themed (and hilarious) adventure in each volume. A great chapter book series for kids just venturing into this level. Ages 4-10. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Chapter Book/Read Aloud: Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. Classic, funny (without potty humor), and relatable: this is a winner with boys who are just getting comfortable reading longer books and appreciate some humor. Chapter book. Ages 6-10.
- Sports: The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Lon Shang (basketball) or Ghost (Track). Middle grades, ages 8-12. Redeemed Reader Review (Lucy Wu) and (Ghost).
- Adventure: Peak by Roland Smith (and others). Action-packed “boy books” perfect for those middle grades boys who would rather be on an adventure instead of reading. Middle grades. Ages 10-12 (and up). Redeemed Reader Review.
- Mystery: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. Perfect for mystery lovers, puzzle and chess fans, or anyone wanting a rewarding short read! Ages 10-12 (and more!). Redeemed Reader Review. Another good middle grades mystery choice is A Pocket Full of Murder.
- Elizabethan Faeries: The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. A modern classic full of faeries and sacrificial love, set during Bloody Mary’s reign. Ages 12 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
Books for Fans of Narnia and Hobbits
- The Green Ember and others by S. D. Smith. Rabbits with swords! Ages 8 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
- The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers. Our featured middle grades books from our summer reading adventure–in case you missed them (or only read the first book), now’s your chance! Ages 8 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
- The Wingfeather Saga and The Wingfeather Tales by Andrew Peterson. A terrific family read aloud choice for kids and parents, too. Ages 8 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
- The 100 Cupboards Trilogy and The Door Before by N. D. Wilson. Still one of Wilson’s best literary offerings, this is a terrific series for kids who are ready for more complex and intense fantasy. Ages 10 and up. Redeemed Reader Review. See also the Ashtown Burials series.
- The MindWar Series by Andrew Klavan. A sci-fi series with a video game expert as the unlikely hero, this is for teens who love intense, fast-paced reads. Ages 15 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
Books to Introduce Children and Teens to Classic Authors
- E. B. White: A Boy, A Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E. B. White by Barbara Herbert and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Gentle, sweet introduction to this favorite children’s author. Picture book. Ages 0-10. Redeemed Reader Review coming. And don’t miss Some Writer!, a novel-length biography of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Virginia Lee Burton: Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton by Sherri Duskey Rinker. The author of Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site brings our favorite classic “machines” storyteller to life! Picture book. Ages 6 and up. Redeemed Reader Review coming.
- James Herriot: James Herriot’s Favorite Dog Stories. Trixie Woo and her pals are re-packaged in this nicely illustrated small volume. Perfect as a family read aloud, especially for dog lovers! Ages 6 and up.
- Kenneth Grahame: The Wind in the Willows illustrated by one of our favorite illustrators here at RR. Hot off the press!
- Shakespeare: Leon Garfield’s Shakespeare Stories. Excellent retellings of many of Shakespeare’s plays. Perfect for revisiting the bard and his delightful stories. Ages 10 and up.
- G. K. Chesterton: The Father Brown Reader I and II by Nancy Carpentier Brown. Brown brings Chesterton’s lovable detective to life in these adaptations that maintain the quality of the original. Ages 10 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Poetry for Young People Series. Varying authors. Have a favorite classic poet? This series uses nicely illustrated picture books to introduce young readers to famous poets. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Richard Adams: Watership Down by Richard Adams. In honor of Adams’ long life and rich career, this is a good year to introduce kids to his classic work. All ages. Redeemed Reader Review.
Books for Kids Who Like to Make and Do Stuff
We don’t review many activity books on Redeemed Reader, but the books below have all been vetted by our staff in their own personal use (or their children’s!).
- Origami Fans: Star Wars Origami: 36 Amazing Paper-Folding Projects From a Galaxy Far, Far Away by Chris Alexander. Make cool stuff, you will! Ages 8 and up.
- Nature Lovers and Artists: The John Muir Laws Guide to Nature Journaling and The Laws Guide to Drawing Birds by John Muir Laws. Hefty, comprehensive, and accessible, these guides are an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to draw better from nature. Adult, but interested kids will find them appealing as well.
- Inventors: The Kids’ Book of Simple Machines by Kelly Doudna. Young tinkerers and inventors will discover the magic of the six simple machines, learning about science history and getting to test them out with simple experiments. Ages 8-12.
- Crafty Types: ‘Tis the Season to Be Felty by Kathy Sheldon and Amanda Carestio. For those crafty kids who enjoy a bit of hand-sewing and decorating, here are 40 cheery projects to bring the Christmas spirit into your home! All Ages, but best for ages 8 and up.
- Inquisitive Kids: The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay. We love this book for all sorts of reasons! Kids who like to know how things work will love it, too! All Ages, but best for 8 and up. Redeemed Reader Review.
Books for Teens and Adults Who Like to Keep Learning
- Tech: The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch. Food for thought on the ways we can wrangle some control over the tech-use in our lives. Adult. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Tech: 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke. Reflections on the ways in which our phones are changing us! Teens and adults. Redeemed Reader Review.
- Literature and the Arts: Echoes of Eden by Jerram Barrs. An excellent exposition of how Christians should be thinking of literature and the arts in general. Redeemed Reader Review.
Previous Winter Book Fair/Christmas Gift Lists
- Charlotte Mason’s Christmas List: 5 Living Books (2012)
- Nostalgic Christmas Picture Books (2013)
- Winter Book Fair: Gifts to Support Redeemed Reader (2013)
- Winter Book Fair (2014)
- Winter Book Fair (2016)