Holiday Gift Guide

Fiction books for adults | Nonfiction books for adults | Mystery & Thriller | Biography | Cookbooks | Teens | Middle Grades | Early Chapter Books | Early Readers | Picture Books  

We hope you enjoy these titles suggested by our staff. Please consider purchasing your books at Northbrook's Book Bin, which has been serving the community for 50 years! View a pdf version of our gift guide.

Fiction books for adults

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
A Jewish woman finds refuge in a French mountain town, where she forges identity documents to help hundreds of children flee the Nazis.

Deacon King Kong by James McBride
An old church deacon inexplicably shoots a drug dealer at a Brooklyn housing project, causing a ripple effect in the lives of the neighborhood residents.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
A girl in a rural Nigerian village is determined to escape her life of poverty and get an education so she can speak up for herself.

The Guncle by Steven Rowley
A heartwarming and humorous novel about a once-famous gay sitcom star taking care of his niece and nephew for the summer after an unexpected family tragedy.

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
A crime caper from the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner about a slightly crooked furniture store owner who gets in over his head when his cousin involves him in a hotel robbery. 

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
An Indian woman who fled an abusive arranged marriage and became a henna artist finds her comfortable life upended by the arrival of a sister she never knew.

The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
In this 1950s road novel, a teenager released from a work farm and his younger brother hop a train in pursuit of two fellow inmates who stole his Studebaker. 

Return to Virgin River by Robyn Carr
An author with writer’s block comes to stay in the small town of Virgin River in this holiday tale of fresh starts, friendship, and romance. 

​Mystery & Thriller for Adults

Billy Summers by Stephen King
In the bestselling storyteller’s latest blockbuster, a hitman on the verge of retirement takes one last job and ends up on a cross-country road trip with a college student he rescued.

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara
A unique part of Chicago history is brought to life in this mystery about a Japanese American family who arrives in the city from an internment camp and learns that their eldest daughter has died under mysterious circumstances. 

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Another stellar adventure story from the author of The Martian, in which a man wakes up alone on a spaceship with no memory and realizes he was sent to another solar system in a desperate attempt to save Earth.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
A delightful cozy mystery featuring four friends in a retirement village who meet weekly to discuss unsolved crimes and suddenly find themselves investigating their first active case. 

Nonfiction books for adults 

Calm: Interiors to Nurture, Relax and Restore by Sally Denning
This interior design guide will help you create a home that instills a sense of calm to cocoon and protect you from the outside world.

Living Landmarks of Chicago by Theresa Goodrich
A tour of 50 Chicago landmarks, describing not only the architecture but the stories and people behind them, weaving an interconnected tale of the city from 1836 to 1932 and beyond. 

National Geographic Guide to the National Parks of the United States
The 2021 ninth edition covers 62 national parks, including the newly added Indiana Dunes, with the latest information, photographs, and maps to help you navigate your way through America’s great outdoors.

A Wealth of Pigeons by Steve Martin
A collection of cartoons by the multi-talented comedian, partnered with the heralded New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss. 

Biography & memoir books for adults

Act Like You Got Some Sense by Jamie Foxx
In this hilarious and heartfelt memoir, the award-winning entertainer shares his story of being raised by his no-nonsense grandmother, the glamour and pitfalls of life in Hollywood, and the lessons he took from both worlds to raise his two daughters.

Sinatra and Me by Tony Oppedisano
Frank Sinatra’s closest confidant presents an intimate and revealing portrait of the singer, featuring never-before-seen photos, fresh anecdotes, and new revelations. 

Somebody's Daughter by Ashley Ford
A powerful memoir from the popular podcaster, recalling a childhood defined by the absence of her incarcerated father until her world turned upside down when she learned of his crime.

Sorry Not Sorry by Alyssa Milano
A series of essays offering a “snapshot of a year in the life of an activist as everything we knew about the political world and the physical world seemed to devolve around us.” 


Baking for the Holidays by Sarah Kieffer
A festive holiday baking cookbook brimming with delicious, indulgent recipes for seasonal brunches, cookie swaps, and all those Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's Eve parties.

The Chef’s Garden by Farmer Lee Jones
An illustrated guide with over 500 entries on how to select, prepare and cook all kinds of vegetables, from herbs to edible flowers and common and uncommon produce. 

The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen
Cooking tips, food trivia, and recipes from all 14 seasons of the television program, as well as a shopper's guide featuring the chefs' 
top-rated ingredients and equipment.

Martha Stewart’s Fruit Desserts
Celebrating the fresh, vibrant flavors of fruit, this collection of over 100 recipes for crumbles, crisps, pies and more shows you how to make both classic and modern treats. 

Books for teens

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag
Fifteen-year-old Morgan longs to escape her island home for the big city until one night she is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl and they start to fall in love. (Grades 7 & up)

The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
A memoir of a Muslim teen struggling to survive in the midst of the Bosnian genocide, and her bond with a stray cat who protected her family through it all. (Grades 8 & up)

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas
In this poignant coming-of-age story by the author of The Hate U Give, a gang leader’s son finds his effort to change his ways challenged by a loved one’s murder. (Grades 9 & up)

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard
This new fantasy series begins where hope is lost and asks: when the heroes have fallen, who will take up the sword? (Grades 9 & up)

Books for middle grades

Stuntboy, in the Meantime by Jason Reynolds; Illustrated by Raúl The Third
From Newbery Medal honoree Jason Reynolds comes a hilarious, hopeful, and action-packed middle-grade novel about the greatest young superhero you’ve never heard of. ​(Grades 4-7)

The Chance to Fly by Ali Stroker and Stacy Davidowitz
A heartfelt novel about a theater-loving girl who uses a wheelchair for mobility and her quest to defy expectations—and gravity. (Grades 4-7)

Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd; Illustrated by Michelle Mee Nutter
This coming-of-age graphic novel features a girl with severe allergies who just wants to find the perfect pet. (Grades 4-6)

Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
An exciting modern take on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, filled with humor, fast-paced action, and a wide cast of characters. (Grades 4-8) 

Early chapter books

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-be Best Friend by Dawn Quigley; Illustrated by Tara Audibert
The first in an all-new chapter book series featuring a spunky young Ojibwe girl who worries that her best friend at school may not want to be friends anymore. (Grades 2-3)

King & Kayla and the Case of the Gold Ring by Dori Hillestad Butler
Kayla made treats for Jillian’s new puppy, but now the treats are missing. How will they solve the mystery? (Grades 2-3) 

Books for early readers

FriendBots: Blink and Block Make a Wish by Vicky Fang
Blink is silly and Block is logical, but they quickly discover they’re best when they’re together. (Grades PreK-3)

El Toro & Friends: Tag Team by Raúl The Third
Luchadores El Toro and La Oink Oink are the perfect tag team in this playful and visually stunning early reader! (Grades 1-2) 

Picture books

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho; Illustrated by Dung Ho
An Asian girl who notices that her eyes are different from her classmates’ finds affirmation when she realizes her mother, grandmother, and little sister have the same eyes as hers. ​ (Grades PreK-1)

I’ll Meet You in Your Dreams by Jessica Young; Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
A poetic and tender story celebrating the parent-and-child bond in its many forms, offering gentle assurance of love across a lifetime, in lyrical rhymes with vibrant illustrations. ​ (Grades PreK-2)

The Midnight Fair by Gideon Sterer; Illustrated by Mariachiara Di Giorgio
As darkness falls on the fairgrounds, the animals venture out of the woods for one magical, memorable night in this wordless picture book with luminous illustrations. ​(Grades PreK-1)

What the Road Said by Cleo Wade; Illustrated by Lucie de Moyencourt
An uplifting picture book with comforting verses about the questions we ask ourselves while on life’s journey, reminding us that the most important thing we can do is to keep going. (Grades 1-2)