It’s holiday gift giving time. I made my shopping easier this year as I decided just about everyone on my list will get lasting gifts — books, of course! What’s baby or toddlerhood without Mother Goose rhymes? So the youngest children will receive one of my favorite, most accessible collections: My Very First Mother Goose (Candlewick) selected by Iona Opie, illustrated by Rosemary Wells. There’s a really bright nearly three-year-old that I want to remember. She’ll get Xavier Deneux’s highly tactile, very sturdy (if a bit weighty, quite literally) concept books Colors and Opposites (Chronicle). There’s a 7-year old boy who doesn’t particularly like to read but who loves building things so I think he’ll get Cool Creations in 35 Pieces by Sean Kenney (Holt), a nearly wordless guide to making lots of different things with Lego blocks. (A few new Legos will round out that gift.) For a fine read-aloud for an entire family, I’m giving a copy of Kathi Appelt’s National Book Award finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp (Atheneum). This charming story of loyalty, loss and friendship is sure to engage everyone. A friend of mine has a new grandchild. She remembers reading Tomie dePaola’s books to her own daughter, so she’s getting a copy of dePaola’s Christmas Remembered (Puffin), sure to remind her of her family’s traditions — and lasting enough to share when that grandbaby is older. Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was book on every bed for every holiday or celebration? In fact, that’s a suggestion from the Family Reading Partnership . They believe that not only do books make great gifts but books make a huge difference to all children, especially the hard-to-reach. Here’s hoping that your holidays are happy and filled with good memories and lots of stories!