What Books are Texas Kidlit Authors Chris Barton, Jennifer Ziegler, and Crystal Allen Giving This Holiday Season?

Article by Joy

We’re ridiculously excited for our newest installment of our feature on the books Texas kidlit authors are giving for holiday gifts this year! Because who better to recommend books than authors? And we have a huge, diverse and amazing community of writers for young people in Texas, many of them right here in Houston-- so many wonderful voices and stories and points of view. I hope you continue enjoy reading their choices as much as I did!

Up this week is an abundance of authorly riches! First, Austin literary community power couple Chris Barton and Jennifer Ziegler. Chris is the author of numerous award-winning picture books, including this year’s WHOOSH and 88 INSTRUMENTS. He is also the author of MIGHTY TRUCK and one of our seasonal favorites, THE NUTCRACKER COMES TO AMERICA, which tells the story of how we all came to love that very famous holiday ballet. And Jennifer Ziegler, who teaches writing widely, including for the Writer’s League of Texas, is the author of some of our favorite, sweet middle grade novels such as REVENGE OF THE FLOWER GIRLS and its holiday companion book, REVENGE OF THE ANGELS.

And joining Barton and Ziegler this week is one of our favorite Houston authors for young people, Crystal Allen, whose latest book THE MAGNIFICENT MYA TIBBS: SPIRIT WEEK SHOWDOWN is garnering numerous awards, including a spot on this year’s Texas Library Association’s Bluebonnet List! The second in the series, THE WALL OF FAME GAME, arrives in January and we can’t wait.

And now for their bookish gift lists, all of which are either on our shelves right now, or soon to arrive!


Here’s what Chris Barton and Jennifer Ziegler recommend:

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781620141489
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Lee & Low Books - October 15th, 2016

This remarkable real-life tale -- as entertaining as it is touching -- will fascinate kids. Doc Key’s own story of post-slavery accomplishment is amazing enough. But when he teaches a once-hapless horse to spell -- and then some -- this picture book becomes truly enchanting.


Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land Cover Image
By John Coy, Wing Young Huie (Photographer)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781467780544
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Carolrhoda Books - March 1st, 2016

Inspiring and lovely and recognizable to so many children, parents, and grandparents, this celebration of the experiences and contributions of immigrants brings together Coy’s brief, poetic text and Huie’s striking photographs.


Two Naomis Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062414250
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - September 13th, 2016

Told in the alternating points of view of the 10-year-old title characters -- whose divorced parents have begun dating and start bringing their families together -- this contemporary middle-grade novel sparkles with smart humor and endearingly awkward drama.


And here are the titles Crystal Allen will be gifting this year.

She’s a new grandmother and new great aunt and so she’s focused on books for and about our littlest readers! Again, all these titles are on our shelves or coming soon.


School's First Day of School Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781596439641
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - June 28th, 2016

With the school as the main character, this book was such a delight to read.  Whoever thought of how a school would feel on the first day of school?


Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas Cover Image
By Gwendolyn Hooks, Colin Bootman (Illustrator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781620141564
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Lee & Low Books - May 15th, 2016

I love this book about Vivien Thomas, a medical pioneer who, without a medical degree, developed a way to save babies with heart defects.


This Is Our Baby, Born Today Cover Image
By Varsha Bajaj, Eliza Wheeler (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399166846
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - August 2nd, 2016

This story follows the birth of a baby elephant with vibrant colors, beautiful illustrations and fun, repetitive text. **(Brazos Children’s Specialist Joy Preble wants to remind everyone that Varsha is also a local, acclaimed Houston author and friend of the store)**


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