top of page
  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

In This "Banner" Year, Celebrate Freedom of Reading Whatever You and Your Kids Want

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

The Daddying Blog's 3rd Annual Books To Read With Your Kids

Holiday Gift Guide & FREE Book Giveaway

By Scott Beller

Editor, Daddying blog

During this year of resurgent book bans and censorship overreach across America, reading, especially with your children, has never been more important.

2022 has, unfortunately, been a year where some groups are once again making an effort to get kids to stop reading, stop questioning their world and searching for truth, and, worse, to stop being themselves. While these attacks on local school districts, teachers, librarians, and the very identities of LGBTQ+ and minority students have been met with resistance in the courts, a shocking number of bans have still been enacted in a growing number of school districts in restrictive states like Texas and Florida.

For now at least, common sense and kids' rights to free thought and expression have mostly prevailed. The best way we know to combat this disturbing trend fueled by extremist rhetoric and disinformation is to encourage parents and kids to just keep reading and learning together.

Enjoying her spring break beach read, but that darn sun must be in her eyes.

The older my girls get, the bigger challenge I have not necessarily getting them to read but finding something we can all read together. I already got some eye rolls when I asked if they've got any good titles on their holiday wish lists that I could join them in reading. Earlier this year, the task was a bit easier when both my girls took a big interest in rowing. My then-7th-grader was assigned The Boys in the Boat to read for her history class. Following positive reviews by both critics and our daughter, my wife read it next. With my interest in non-fiction about the World War II era and seeing my then-Freshman find her passion rowing with the high school crew team, how could I resist? I devoured that amazing book, which is why it's included in this year's Gift Guide! It even inspired me to participate in her team's spring Erg-A-Thon fundraiser.

Go figure, the only one who hasn't yet read our soon-to-be varsity crew star.

I guess the key for our family will be for me to track the shifting intersection on our family's entertainment Venn diagram, whatever that may be, and keep suggesting book options. It's one of the many things I love about creating the Daddying blog's annual Gift Guide. Doing so allows me to stay somewhat informed about the ever-changing landscape – not necessarily what's trendy, but what we all might consider good and worth our time.

Of course, it's much easier for us to find TV shows and movies we all can enjoy – Gilmore Girls, Stranger Things, Enola Holmes, Wednesday, Cobra Kai, and One of Us is Lying are some recent favorites (at least that last one is based on a popular book series my youngest has already been reading!). Given increasingly strained schedules, the main challenge has become getting us all together. Even family dinners are rare these days.

That said, our small successes, like the one we enjoyed with The Boys in the Boat, bring me great joy and inspire me to keep trying. So, I hope you are able to find something in this year's Books to Read with Your Kids Holiday Gift Guide, old or new, that will take you and your kids on an amazing journey together to learn, laugh, relax, and connect.

2022 has, unfortunately, been a year where some groups are once again making an effort to get kids to stop reading, stop questioning their world and searching for truth, and, worse, to stop being themselves.

As was the case with our 2021 Gift Guide including some items from 2020's, you’ll find repeat titles on this year’s list, particularly those that have somehow found themselves in the crosshairs of book banning zealots around the country. But like you may have done yesterday at the Thanksgiving dinner table, we've overstuffed this year’s shopping list with plenty more dad- and BookTok-approved book recommendations for pre-K through high school kids and beyond. Many titles are so compelling and enlightening, you might have to hurry and check them out before some rogue school board, fringe group, or politician, who hasn't even read or tried to understand the book or books they're targeting, tries to take away your right to do so.

Happy holidays and happy shopping, everyone – keep reading together, keep stoking your kids' passions, keep discussing stuff, and Daddy on!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Many of the award-winning books on our list below have been or are currently being targeted by anti-civil rights, pro-censorship, and other repressive groups in an attempt to have them banned from school libraries, classrooms, and even bookstores in communities across the United States. The targeted books are denoted with asterisks*.


Daddying Books to Read With Your Kids

2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Rafflecopter FREE Book Giveaway Details Below Guide

Books for Younger Kids (Pre-K and Under 8):

  1. GIVEAWAY BOOKS: I Am Superman, I Am Malala Yousafzai, and I Am Muhammad Ali by Brad Meltzer and Chris Eliopoulos

  2. GIVEAWAY BOOK: Daffodil Grey and the Colorful Parade by Anna Gilchrist

  3. GIVEAWAY BOOK: Samuel's Story by DADvisor Hakim Bellamy and Melvin Mayes (with DJ Flo Fader)

  4. GIVEAWAY BOOKS: Jonathan James & the Whatif Monster and A New Friend for Jonathan James by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt

  5. I Am Dolly Parton, I Am John Lewis (pre-order), I Am Temple Grandin (pre-order), I Am Batman, and many more from Brad Meltzer and Chris Eliopoulos's “Ordinary People Change the World” series

  6. More Bears! by Kenn Nesbitt and Troy Cummings

  7. This Is My Daddy! by Mies van Hout

  8. Perfectly Pegasus by Jessie Sima

  9. Dadaji's Paintbrush by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane

  10. The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Michael Smollin

  11. Patrick Picklebottom and the Longest Wait by Mr. Jay and Gary Wilkinson

  12. The Catalogue of Hugs by Joshua David Stein and Augustus Heeren Stein, illustrated by Elizabeth Lilly

  13. Listen to the Language of the Trees by Tara Kelley, illustrated by Marie Hermansson

  14. The Dirt Book: Poems About Animals That Live Beneath Our Feet by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Kate Cosgrove

  15. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress* by Christine Baldacchino and Isabelle Malenfant

  16. The Sour Grape (The Food Group series) by Jory John and Pete Oswald

  17. Creepy Crayon! and others in the Creepy Tales! series by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown

  18. And Tango Makes Three* by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

  19. If You Give A Moose A Muffin (and others in the series) by Laura Numeroff and Felica Bond

  20. The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad and illustrated by Hatem Aly

  21. The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

  22. Nour's Secret Library by Wafa' Tarnowska, illustrated by Vali Mintzi

  23. If You Come to Earth and Negative Cat by Sophie Blackall

  24. We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade

  25. The Last Straw: Kids vs. Plastics by Susan Hood and illustrated by Christiane Engel

  26. The Questioneers picture book series by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

  27. Shy Spaghetti & Excited Eggs by Marc Nemiroff and Jane Annunziata

  28. Frederick (and others) by Leo Lionni

  29. Steve the Dung Beetle on a Roll by Susan R. Stoltz and illustrated by Melissa Bailey

  30. The Story of Ferdinand* by Munro Leaf

  31. Change Sings: A Children's Anthem by Amanda Gorman and Loren Long

  32. The North Star by Peter H. Reynolds

  33. Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham

  34. Once I Was Very, Very Scared and Holdin Pott by Chandra Ghosh Ippen and Erich Peter Ippen Jr.

  35. Zonia's Rain Forest by Juana Martinez-Neal

  36. Julián Is a Mermaid* by Jessica Love

  37. Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

  38. The Velveteen Rabbit: 100th Anniversary Edition by Margery Williams and illustrated by Erin Stead

  39. Nicky & Vera by Peter Sís

  40. The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafael López

  41. Home Again by Dorinda Silver Williams and Brenda Grilliam

  42. The Night Walk by Marie Dorleans

  43. Neither* by Airlie Anderson

  44. The Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen

  45. Arno and His Horse by Jane Godwin and Felicita Sala

  46. This Story is Not About a Kitten by Randall de Sève, illustrated by Carson Ellis

For Older Elementary Kids (Ages 8-11):

  1. GIVEAWAY BOOK: Zeus the Mighty – The Epic Escape from the Underworld by Crispin Boyer (National Geographic KIDS)

  2. Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

  3. A Duet For Home and The Vanderbeekers series by Karina Yan Glaser

  4. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

  5. October, October by Katya Balen

  6. When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller

  7. Nano by Jess Wade and Melissa Castrillon

  8. The Secret Sunshine Project* by Benjamin Dean

  9. Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

  10. The 1619 Project: Born on the Water* by Nikole Hannah-Jones

  11. All the Wrong Questions mystery series by Lemony Snicket

  12. My Thoughts Are Clouds: Poems for Mindfulness by Georgia Heard, illustrated by Isabel Roxas

  13. Zin Mignon series by Michael Daswick

  14. Out of My Mind and Out of My Heart by Sharon M. Draper

  15. We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly

  16. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

  17. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

For Middle School+:

  1. We Were Liars and Family of Liars by E. Lockhart

  2. What If? and What If? 2 by Randall Munroe

  3. The Magic Fish* (Graphic Novel) by Trung Le Nguyen

  4. The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan

  5. Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca

  6. Anne Frank's Diary: The Graphic Adaptation* by Ari Folman and David Polonsky

  7. The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

  8. Gallant by V.E. Schwab

  9. Drained by Marc Daniel Acriche

  10. Bluebird and The Light in Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron

  11. Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre* by Carole Boston Weatherford

  12. Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

  13. Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

  14. The Monsters of Rookhaven by Pádraig Kenny

  15. The Pants Project* by Cat Clarke

  16. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

  17. My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen

  18. Worst-Case Collin by Rebecca Caprara

  19. Night* by Elie Wiesel

For High Schoolers+

  1. GIVEAWAY BOOK: Writing to Heal by DADvisor Anthony Fleg

  2. The Boys in The Boat and Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown

  3. All of Us Villains and All of Our Demise by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

  4. The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

  5. The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson

  6. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

  7. Mickey7: A Novel by Edward Ashton

  8. The Hate U Give* by Angie Thomas

  9. Gender Queer: A Memoir* by Maia Kobabe

  10. 1984* by George Orwell

  11. The Handmaid's Tale* by Margaret Atwood

  12. The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

  13. Fahrenheit 451* and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

  14. Beloved* by Toni Morrison

  15. To Kill A Mockingbird* by Harper Lee

  16. Stranger Things: Rebel Robin by A.R. Capetta and the Stranger Things book series

  17. Great Circle: A novel by Maggie Shipstead

  18. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

  19. Thirteen Reasons Why* by Jay Asher

  20. The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

  21. Klara and the Sun: A novel by Kazuo Ishiguro

  22. Out of Darkness* by Ashley Hope Pérez

  23. Nothing More To Tell and One of Us Is Lying series by Karen McManus

  24. Fences* by August Wilson

  25. Hey, Brown Girl by Janay Harden

  26. Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree


from OUR 2022 Holiday Gift Guide!

ENTER BELOW for FREE and SHARE our Rafflecopter Giveaway!

Giveaway runs through Saturday, December 31, 2022 @ 11:59 pm ET

Preschool Mystery Reader extraordinaire!

Scott Beller is the proud, imperfect dad of two mighty girls, Morgan and Lauren, imperfect husband of rock-star mom, Elisabeth, Bourbon & Books book club member, classroom "mystery reader" from WAY back, Editor of the Daddying blog, and DCG's Director of Communications. He's a seasoned writer and PR agency veteran with more than 30 years of experience helping organizations of all sizes reach audiences and tell their stories. Prior to launching his own creative communications consultancy in 2003, he led PR teams with some of the world’s most respected agencies, including Fleishman-Hillard and The Weber Group. As a consultant, he’s helped launch two other parenting advocacy nonprofits with DCG founder Allan Shedlin. His first book, Beggars or Angels, was a ghostwritten memoir for the nonprofit Devotion to Children's founder Rosemary Tran Lauer. He was formerly known as "Imperfect Dad" and Head Writer for the Raising Nerd blog, which supported parents in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and creative problem solvers. He earned his BA in Communications from VA Tech.

1 Comment

Dec 08, 2022

Thank you for the chance to enter. We love reading in our home.

bottom of page