Gifting Books

2023 Gift Guide!

Filed under: Gifting Books,My Books,Parenting | November 20, 2023

A book that fits in a stocking!

Filed under: Gifting Books,My Books,Printable Activities | November 28, 2022

What gift fits in a stocking but arrives after the holidays??

NUBBY of course!

I hope you’ll consider pre-ordering NUBBY written by Dan Richards and illustrated by me (Shanda McCloskey) as a gift for your littles :)

BONUS: Print out the foldable card above to slip it into a gift bag or stocking!

Warmest wishes!


Shanda’s Books + Fun Holiday Gift Guide 2022

Filed under: Gifting Books,My Books | November 16, 2022

Yay–It’s gift giving season! I hope you’ll take a look at my 2022 holiday gift guide, get ideas, and grab some kids’ & teachers’ gifts too! (Some links in the guide are affiliate links that help support my work.)

It took three years to publish this book

Filed under: Events,Gifting Books,My Books,On My Mind,Shanda's Journey | September 1, 2022

It takes sooo long for a book to go from deal to release day. I signed the contract to illustrate this book in March of 2019. At that time, we had never heard of covid, and we still wouldn’t be affected by it for another year! And when it did hit the US, I was in the middle of working on this book. The world shut down in March 2020.

It was weird. All of a sudden, I couldn’t get in contact with the publisher. Months and months went by in silence. But I just kept working. I didn’t know what else to do.

Eventually, the publisher reached out and said that Little Red would need to publish later than originally expected, which was fine with me. And here we are!

LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR releases on Tuesday, Sept 6th! I hope you consider ordering a copy (or two) from my favorite indie bookstores below.

If you order at least two books, Little Shop of Stories will ship for FREE! And with the holidays coming up, consider purchasing 2 copies of LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR (one for your family and one for your child’s teacher/classroom).

If you fancy SIGNED (by me) copies, then definitely place your order of LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR with Read It Again Books! Be sure to request that it be “signed by Shanda” in the notes section of the order.

If you’d like to come see me in person (because I sure want to see you) I’ll be at the Decatur Book Festival on October 1st with Little Shop of Stories and then with Read It Again Books for a fun family launch event on October 8th!

Gifting Books To Kids (the cool way) #2 – Halloween Edition!

I got a great response from my original post about “Gifting Books To Kids (the cool way)!” So, it gives me an excuse to put together and share more book/gift ideas – which makes me happy :) I hope it inspires you.

I love Halloween like a little kid. Nothing too scary, but everything else about it is SO MUCH FUN! So when I saw a couple Vampirina Ballerina books ($18 each) (illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Luyen Pham) in the bookstore, I grabbed them up! I found a headband ($2) that looked similar to Vampirina’s and a black tutu ($5) to go with it, a fun little make-up set ($3) and a plastic set of vampire teeth ($1). A $27 gift if you include one book or a $45 gift if you include two books :)

The next idea is very simple, inexpensive, and still lots of fun! “Boo!” by Leslie Patricelli ($8) is visual Halloween candy! I paired it with a couple of giant googly eyes ($2), a headband ($2), and 2 Cuties ($1) that I drew Jack-O-lantern faces on with a Sharpie. A $13 gift for a young Halloween lover!

I’d love to see or hear about what you come up with!

Happy Fall book gifting!


Gifting Books to Kids (the cool way :)

Filed under: Favorite Picture Books,Gifting Books | August 14, 2017

I have 2 little people running around here, so I feel like I know a little about how they react to the gift of a book and how their friends at birthday parties do too. 

I’ve given my kids, my family’s kids, and kid friends gifts over the years. And as a general observation in my small slice of life here in north Georgia, books don’t often get given at birthday parties. It sort of surprises me, because you’ll never hear – “My kids just have too many books.” Or “That book will just end up in a yard sale in a few months.” This is the stuff you will hear about toys though. And I love toys, don’t get me wrong- I’m worse than a kid at Christmas in a store’s toy section! But I think there’s a cool medium if you combine a book AND a toy into a little themed gift! Seems simple enough, but not many do it. Maybe because it takes a little extra thinking, and new books aren’t cheap, or maybe you think the kid will be disappointed when he/she unwraps a book, and maybe book choices are a personal thing? I get it. 

All I know is that my girls really enjoy picture books – even my seven year old. 

Author/illustrator, Kelly Light said, “Picture books are like an IMAX movie to a little kid.” And I agree!

Sure, you may not get the same huge reaction when your kid opens a book gift versus say … a drone or a Barbie pool, but I’d bet they will actually enjoy it longer and it will mean more to them in the short AND long term. Heck, it may even be the book that they remember after they grow up and share it with their own kids one day. It might be the book that makes them fall in love with stories, art, and words for a lifetime of adventure, learning, and thinking. Or it might just be a sweet story that they enjoy nestled in bed next to their mom or dad. Or they might just get lost looking at the pictures in wonder. Any of these is awesome, and that’s why I adore finding the perfect book for a kid and pairing a small toy along with it. It’s so fun!

More reasons why it’s cool to gift kid books:

  1. It puts a new book in the hands of a kid to keep forever.
  2. It supports authors, illustrators, agents, and publishers to make more books!
  3. If you buy at a brick and mortar store, it supports those bookstores or book sections in bigger stores. 
  4. You’ll find yourself knowing more about what’s out there in books currently. 
  5. You will be deemed “a great gift giver” by your circle :)

Typically, I prefer modern kid books over dated ones or classics. Current kid books are better tailored to the modern kid and the world they live in. But this is just from my personal opinion and experience. It really depends on the kid you are buying for. Always think of the kid first!

Here are a couple book gift ideas (Under $25) that my girls helped me come up with. These ideas are on the girly side for sure but I’ll mix it up as I post more :)

  1. The first is hot off the press! Tea with Oliver by Mika Song and a tea set. My husband found this tea set at Walmart for $5. Can’t beat that!
    $18 book + $5 tea set = $23 sweet as pie gift!

         2. This one is from author-illustrator, Samantha Cotterill. No More Bows is a winner in our house! And paired with a toy puppy covered in hair bows that she can use on her hair too is so much fun!
$18 book + $5 toy + $2 bow set = $25 cute gift!

So when you have a kid gift to buy, I challenge you to try giving a book gift (the cool way :) I’d love to see or hear about what YOU come up with!

Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author