Holiday Gifts, Best of the New



Hanukkah is underway and Christmas is in a few weeks. Here are some of the gifts we are giving this holiday season.




Wonder by R. J. Palacio

This novel about a 5th grade boy with a severely deformed face has been on all the “Best Of” lists for a reason–it’s an honestly told exploration of what it’s like to feel different in middle school and a serious empathy booster for kids of any age. And it ranks right up there with Charlotte’s Web in the tear-jerker department.







Super Scratch Programming Adventure! by The LEAD Project

If your kids are addicted to Minecraft, help them redirect that time suck with this terrific programming fundamentals manual that will teach them how to create their own video games.





Tape It & Make It: 101 Duct Tape Activities by Richela Fabian Morgan

Belts! Barrettes! Cell phone cases! There are projects galore in this incredibly inventive craft book. Check out our Q&A with author Richela Fabian Morgan.








A Wrinkle In Time: The Graphic Novel by Madeline L’Engle, illustrated by Hope Larson

In the 50 years since it was first published AWIT has never been illustrated. That oversight has now been corrected. And what a correction it is!








Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen

An inventive (and exhaustive) guide to making all the products of our daily lives, from styling gel to dog food to deodorant. Coyne and Knutzen also teach you  how to compost properly and make your own vinegar and home brew.










The Best of Make (Make 75 Projects from the pages of MAKE), edited by Mark Frauenfelder and Gareth Branwyn

This book was originally published in 2007 but is such a classic in the booming cannon of maker and DIY books (Mark Frauenfelder wrote our introduction) that we have to mention it. From essential tools to projects such as a VCR cat feeder (really) and 3D photography, this book will keep your family tinkering for years.









Star Wars Origami by Chris Alexander

Turn custom-designed Star Wars-themed paper into R2-D2, Yoda, and other intergalactic favorites.








The Big Book of Hacks: 264 Amazing DIY Tech Projects by Doug Cantor

Tech savvy projects from the editors of Popular Science.










Geek Mom: Projects, Tips, and Adventures for Moms and their 21st-Century Families by Natania Barron, Kathy Ceceri, Corrina Lawson, and Jenny Williams.

A fun and seriously creative family activity guide/parenting manual from the folks at WIRED.  Sure to ward off cabin fever with activities like creating a tornado in a bottle and making a lava lamp. Also great for families with younger kids.










Makey Makey calls itself an invention kit for everyone. Not sure what that means? Check out this video for the  mind-blowing answer.










Ork Posters

Gorgeous graphic renderings of major American and world cities, as told by the outlines of their neighborhoods. A terrific memento of special family trips.







Spring Swings Twizzler Fun Ride

Part zip-line, part swing, part spin till you get dizzy–a great way to have fun and get some exercise.












Snark SN-8 Super Tight All Instrument Tuner

A very long name for what’s really just a seriously cool (and extremely useful) musical gadget.