2011 books that make great gifts


This list is for books published in 2011. Click on book covers to read full reviews.

Middle reader
Young adult

Enhanced by paper engineering, illustrations become interactive spreads that sparkle, spin and twirl.

Jerry Pinkney brings a new version of an old classic to readers with his picture book “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

There are hundreds of alphabet books available, but none of them are quite like “Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet.”

“Curious Critters” is a photographic collection of everyday animals and insects that will knock your socks off.

Mouse becomes the star in this beautifully illustrated retelling of the Aesop’s fable “Mouse & Lion.”

Follow one bear’s journey as he searches for his hat in this delightfully illustrated picture book.

“The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories” contains seven rarely seen stories by Dr. Seuss.

A little boy comes up with plentiful excuses as to why he should not read a book before bedtime.

Imagination is everything, and it’s the best kind of imagination that’s celebrated in “King Jack and the Dragon.”

“Brother Sun, Sister Moon” is a beautifully illustrated song of praise based on the writings of St. Francis of Assisi.

There’s a dreamlike quality throughout this retelling with graceful lines perfectly suited for a princess tale.

This is perhaps one of the most imaginative and beautifully executed picture books of 2011.

American Girl debuted in 1986 with Kirsten, Samantha and Molly. Now, two more girls have entered the fold.

Journey back to the 1960s with a girl who tries to make the crumbling world around her better.

Journey to a land of ice and snow with the a Viking princess whose true talent lies in storytelling.

One of the best middle-reader books of the year, “The Wizard of Dark Street” is unique and beautifully organized.

A young woman discovers the beauty in differences and in herself in the Susan Shreve’s “The Lovely Shoes.”

Meet Derek the Ghost. He was just Derek until a year ago when an experiment went wrong and he died in class.

“Sparrow Road” is a heartfelt story that reads like a modern classic and is an unexpected yet welcome surprise.

“Kat, Incorrigible” is fun, imaginative and lighthearted. It’s a sassy book sure to please readers of all ages.

This unique story is a modern-day fairy tale with a twist perfect for reading together or on your own.

Mice literally skitter across pages as this creative story, told from a church mouse’s point of view, unfolds.

Painstakingly thought out, this is a sophisticated narrative that will appeal to children and adults alike.

“Lost & Found,” by Shaun Tan is a beautiful picture book, but mostly it’s a beautiful thinking book.

“The Scorpio Races” is one of those books that come as a surprise, even when you have some idea of what it’s about.

Marie Lu’s writing is bold, yet thoughtful. “Legend” is full of action and suspense, with mystery lurking on the edge.

A grieving daughter learns the value of love and acceptance when her mother decides to adopt a teenager’s baby.

There’s a ghost living at Greave Hall, and only 15-year-old scullery maid Abi can make it go away.

Anna Sheehan’s “A Long, Long Sleep,” which has a dystopian twist, is nothing like the Sleeping Beauty tales of old.

What sets “Dark Parties” apart is author Sara Grant’s characters and the places she takes them.

“Wrapped” by Jennifer Bradbury works off of the 19th century fascination with all things ancient.

Hell hath no fury like a beauty queen stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere with none of the “necessities.”

Steampunk is not as far out as it sounds, and if done right, it just works, as is the case with “The Girl in the Steel Corset.”

Cake decorating has become an art form, and for Sheridan Wells in “The Sweetest Thing,” it’s a way of life.

Readers looking for a break from magical creatures and dystopian dramas will like the fresh feel offered here.

“Divergent” is a debut novel, but this well-thought-out thriller comes off as seasoned and spectacular.

© 2011 – 2017, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved.


About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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