TBF Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the readers in your life? Look no further than the 2021 Texas Book Festival Books Page! There is something for everyone, all available at independent bookseller BookPeople.

We at TBF  thought about our friends and family—adults and young readers—and which books would be perfect for them and why. Check out our personalized recommendations below for inspiration!

Gavin – Machete: Poems by Tomás Q. Morin

For the creatives in my life, I’m gifting Machete: Poems. I hope this collection does for them what it did for me: revitalizes their creative energy and inspires them to go create.

Gavin – The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg

I’m excited to gift The Insomniacs to my teen sister, who will hopefully (finally) see me as cool after she reads this. But really, I think this is a great gift for any teen (or YA book lover!) in your life who is looking for a compelling slice-of-life story.

Michelle – Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

I’m excited to gift Harlem Shuffle to my best friend in Washington and myself (that’s allowed!). We love jumping on a call and discussing a book we both just read, and I know this will be a fun read that gives us lots to discuss.

Michelle – A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat

A Wish in the Dark is a rich, engaging story filled with adventure. Already a beloved book in my home, I plan on gifting a copy to my niece. I think it will be a perfect match!

Claire – Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

This is a devastatingly beautiful book, sweeping across five generations of mothers and daughters. For someone who loves Homegoing, Beloved, or Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriela Garcia’s insight in women’s fight to survive is tremendous.

Claire – Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask: Young Readers Edition by Anton Treuer

Kids and teenagers ask questions, sometimes they’re the right questions, and sometimes they’re the questions that make adults cringe. But how will they know if they don’t ask?! Anton Treurer has created a brilliant book that gets straight to the point, and explains Native stereotypes, culture, and harmful cultural practices (Halloween costumes…). While there is an adult edition, this version is great for the entire family.

Susannah – From Pig Skins to Paintbrushes by Don Tate

It turns out that you can be an athlete and an artist! The Ernie Barnes story reminds us that no matter how good you become at something, it’s never too late to be great at something else.

Susannah – Paris Without Her by Greg Curtis

Both a beautiful celebration of an authentic marriage and a travelogue of Paris with all of its possibilities, this is the perfect book for someone who has lost a cherished life partner and is contemplating the next chapter of their life.

Matt – Being Texan: Essays, Recipes, and Advice for the Lone Star Way of Life by the editors of Texas Monthly

The book title almost speaks for itself, and I can’t think of any Texas family members of mine who wouldn’t want a copy this holiday season.

Matt – Indelible Ann: The Larger-Than-Life Story of Governor Ann Richards by Meghan P. Browne

For Texas’s young readers, a perfect picture-book introduction to larger-than-life governor Ann Richards, whose famous quips—I’m delighted to have discovered—have found new, viral longevity on TikTok. I’ll be gifting this to my goddaughter, complete with a personalized handwritten note from author Megan P. Browne: “To Mila—the future governor of Texas.”

Ke’ara  – As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall

I’m excited to gift As the Wicked Watch to my sister, a true-crime and thriller connoisseur. She is indeed the Sherlock Holmes in the family, effortlessly able to jump into a new haunting tale and skillfully assemble the pieces within a mystery. This book is also a great conversation starter around the dinner table– if you can stomach the gruesome clues and sometimes unsettling correlations to our own criminal justice system.

Ke’ara – El’s Mirror by Bavu Blakes

I am gifting El’s Mirror to my younger brother this holiday season. He’s currently navigating junior high, a pivotal time in our lives when we begin to define who we are and who we want to be. There are so many labels placed on our young Black boys in this country and I want my brother to always be able to look in the mirror and claim his own identity and narrative. Happy holidays!

Lois – Grains for Every Season by Joshua McFadden

I had the honor of meeting Joshua McFadden at the Festival this year, as he was the chef-author celebrated at our annual Olamaie brunch. Joshua is on a mission to help people incorporate more whole grains into their meals. Do not fear that this means eating healthy but flavorless hippie mush. Joshua wants you to eat whole grains like he does because they are delicious. Grains for Every Season has dozens of modern recipes and easily checks all the boxes of recipes that are going to be in heavy rotation off my cookbook shelf: inspiring, practical (aka not that hard to make), and full of color and flavor. The cookbook itself is gorgeous, with a letterpress cover that makes it a perfect holiday gift for those loved ones you know who always want to start off the new year resolved to eat more mindfully.

Lois – May Your Life Be Deliciosa by Michael Genhart

A beautiful picture book about a family’s tradition of making tamales on Christmas Eve and the love and lessons within food traditions. It has the magic of a book a little one would want to read over and over–during the holidays and throughout the year.