The 2013 Kid Lit guide is here! (FREE for you!)

The 2013 Kid Lit guide is here! (FREE for you!)

Paper Gains: a Guide to Gifting Children Great Books from Modern Mrs Darcy

Today I’m thrilled to release the 2013 edition of Paper Gains: a Guide to Gifting Children Great Books from Modern Mrs Darcy. It’s a fantastic resource for any of you who shopping for wee ones through tweens this holiday season (or anytime, really).  

There’s an expression I’ve heard my dad say a hundred times: “paper gains, paper losses.” He likes to keep an eye on his investments, and as he watches their value rise and fall, he likes to remind me (and himself, I suspect) that you haven’t truly won or lost anything until you cash out.

This guide is called “Paper Gains” because you can’t lose with the books listed here. It’s full of books that they’ll love reading–again and again. Books that will turn them into readers. (Hey, it’s full of books you’ll probably love, too!)

Categories include:

  • Good reads for bookish parents
  • Books for the transportation-obsessed
  • Great picture books
  • Delightfully silly books
  • Books for young creatives
  • Books for baseball fans
  • Books for young adventurers
  • Books to pore over
  • Classics for a reason
  • Books girls love
  • Animal tales
  • Books boys love
  • and more information on gifting great books to your young reader!

This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it doesn’t have to be. Once a kid develops a taste for good books, they’ll be able to find plenty more. The challenge is in learning to recognize what makes for a good book in the first place.

This little 2-minute video will tell you a bit more about the guide.

The guide is totally free for subscribers to my monthly-ish newsletter. Sign up here and a link to download the guide will appear in your inbox later today. (If you already get the newsletter, you’ll get the guide automatically.)

Sign Up Here:


(After signing up, you’ll get a confirmation email. Click “subscribe me to this list” and add the contact information to your address book. You’ll then get a second email that contains a link to the guide. I expect some email servers to delay your receipt of that second email, so if you don’t have it within 15 minutes or so, email me at modern mrs darcy (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll make sure you get your copy!)

This newsletter only arrives monthly-ish. To get regular updates from the blog, subscribe here, or follow on bloglovin’.

I’d love to hear your feedback when you’re done reading your guide! Come back and comment on your favorite picks for kids, or follow the hashtag #papergains on twitter.

Thanks for reading!

What’s your favorite book to gift to young readers?

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41 comments | Comment


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  1. Laura says:

    I’m giving my 7-year-old-graphic-novel-loving girl Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales by Extraordinary Cartoonists and my 10-year old girl Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski in preparation for us living in Europe next year. We love to give (and read) books in our family!

  2. Elise Neufeld says:

    “The House in the Night” by Susan Marie Swanson and illustrated by Beth Krommes is going to be my gift to my daughter this Christmas. It’s like “Goodnight Moon”, except more beautiful and magical. I think this is one you definitely should take a look at.

  3. Wow, the guide is fantastic!! THANK YOU for providing a ‘for the transportation obsessed’ section!!! And the boys books! I think it’s harder to find books for boys than for girls, but that’s probably just me. Can’t wait to get my kids’ hands on some of these books! 🙂

  4. Allie says:

    Thank you so much for this, Anne! As the mom of a one year old, the “things that go” section is very timely 😉 We just discovered Donald Crews’ School Bus and Truck books, so it sounds like Freight Train should be next on the list! And those Penguin books look so pretty!

  5. Caroline says:

    What a great list, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I’ll be adding quite a few to my christmas list for nieces & nephews. I remember loving the ‘caps for sale’ book as a child, i think my kids will love it too.

  6. Anne says:

    I need to go back and read again, but I sure love the list so far! Cars and Trucks and Things That Go is a big hit at our house. I want to get the Stevenson poetry book, as my son has really taken to memorizing little poems in homeschool, and I have heard the Tasha Tudor illustrations are the way to go! 🙂 I just gifted a Tomie dePaola book last night in a little mail book exchange we were invited to: The Art Lesson. We really like dePaola, and my son has been inspired to draw a lot because of the book, we think. I’ll be gifting my kids some dePaola for St. Nick’s Day, too. Oh, I liked hearing the story behind Paper Gains, too. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      I don’t know that dePaola book. Off to look it up….

      And yes, he has so many good books for Christmas and St. Nicholas Day! I’m pretty sure two of my kids got dePaola books on December 6 last year.

  7. Lindsey says:

    Anne, thanks for the list. As a teacher, I’m always on the lookout for great books. I have never seen the Botswana series so I’ll have to take a look at those. A series that my kids love are the Bad Kitty books. I sorry, I can’t remember. The author, but they are cute series about a cat that always gets into trouble. I enjoy them myself. The Stranger, by Chris Van Allsburg is another great book. It has wonderful illustrations and the reader has to figure out who the stranger is based on clues in the story. Every year my class loves it.

  8. Samantha says:

    My 10 yr. old son and I have been reading the “How to Train Your Dragon” series. It is excellent! The main characters are mostly boys and there really isn’t any women/girls in the story till several books into the series. While most books/movies are similar with a little creative license on the part of the movie, this series is almost as far as you can get from the movie. You really have to put the movie out of your mind when reading it. There is not really any romance in the series (so far – she hasn’t finished the series yet). However there was one curse word, Damn, I believe, in one book, once, in the whole series. Also there is mention of a woman who is named Big Boobied Bertha, who, as the name describes, uses her girth and her womanly appendages to her viking advantage as weapons. They are not described in a sensual or pleasing manner, just as weapons, and the description is brief. Those are my only two pause moments in the series… but I felt the overall ideas and the story was worth a few interesting moments, especially for a 10 yr. old. The stories are heartfelt as well as hilarious and its easy to get caught up in Hiccup’s story. This is definitely on my recommendations list!

  9. Marsha says:

    Hi Anne, I’ve just recently discovered your blog (and have subscribed to your newsletter). Would it be possible to get a copy delivered to my email of your Paper Gains guide to books to give as Christmas gifts for children? I’ve been thinking of giving books as gifts this year and this would be so very helpful! Thank you!

  10. Allison says:

    I loved your kid lit guide from 2013…have you made another one? If not, is there any way to get another copy? My kids are ready for new books from it since they are two years older now! Thank you!!

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