I'm going to have to start posting more frequently to get all my Christmas book suggestions out. Today will be a nonsensical smattering of ideas.
First of all, I just read this book:
Across a Star-swept Sea by Diana Peterfund.
I loved it. It's a science-fiction retelling of The Scarlett Pimpernel, one of my favorite books. I tell you that both because I was skeptical I would enjoy a retelling of a favorite (especially in a futuristic/apocalyptic setting) and because I might have enjoyed it more than people who aren't familiar with The Scarlett Pimpernel. But I would still recommend it to any teen or adult (probably just girls...) who love romance and fantasy. This would be a great gift to a good reader (the world and the language are a little too complex for the most reluctant readers, I think).
And to go in a completely different direction, this is one of our favorite alphabet books:
G is for One Gzonki: an Alpha-number-bet book by Tony DiTerlizzi
It's hilarious. I read all the little bubble-comments aloud in this one. A great gift for an emerging reader.
And for a beautiful picture book you could give to friends or families you love:
The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco
This was such a beautiful story. I cried at the end. Some of my kids cried. We all listened and we all loved it.
In a similar vein, for those of you who enjoyed books like Wonder, here's a book (probably better written than Wonder) that is similar because of its heart and depth (but again better).
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata. Middle-grade for more sensitive boys and girls, though probably girls will be more drawn to the main character. A great Christmas gift.
And finally, one of my absolute top favorite books of this year, a great gift for any middle-grader (probably 9-12):
And look what's coming out in January!
More suggestions coming soon!