Laura's Blog

Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas!

- by Laura Malone Elliott

December 20, 2019

For those of us who celebrate Christmas, there's still a few days left to do your Christmas shopping! I don't know about you, but I'm not quite done yet. Every year people ask me what books I would recommend as gifts, and so I decided to compile a list of some of my favorites. 

Image result for Code Name Verity      Image result for All the Light We Cannot See .     Image result for the book thief      Image result for A Troubled Peace

I have a particular love for stories of ordinary people rising to extraordinary times with bravery, and I have to admit that I have a deep love for WWII narratives that fit this desciption. Some of my favorites are: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Suite Francaise by Irène Némirovsky, Code Girls by Liza Mundy, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman. My own WWII trilogy, beginning with Under a War-Torn Sky, can make a great gift for high schoolers (and precocious middle schoolers) as well as adults. Under a War-Torn Sky and its sequel, A Troubled Peace, are often read and enjoyed by both age groups. 


Image result for A Valiant Ambition .    Image result for the secret wife of aaron burr .    Image result for Hamilton and Peggy

For those who love the earlier days of American History, I recommend Valiant Ambition by Nathaniel Philbrick and The Secret Wife of Aaron Burr written by my good friend Susan Holloway Scott. I have written two Revolutionary War books, and recommend Hamilton and Peggy: A Revolutionary Friendship to teenagers and adults who are smitten with the broadway musical Hamilton and want to learn more about the musical's minor characters. My other Revolutionary War book, Give me Liberty, is more designed for middle schoolers. 


Image result for the passion of artemisia .    Image result for Da Vinci's Tiger

For Art and Art History fans, I highly recommend The Passion of Artemisa by Susan Vreeland. If you know someone who is interersted in a more "behind the scenes" look at the Italian Renaissance, check out my book Da Vinci's Tiger. 


Image result for a nest for celeste

For middle grade readers, I highly recommend A Nest for Celeste by my dear friend Henry Cole.


Image result for Mary Oliver

For poetry and/or nature lovers, you can't go wrong with literally anything by Mary Oliver. 


Image result for The Great Santini book cover     Image result for Circe book cover     Image result for in the neighborhood of true .    Image result for Circling the Sun

For compelling narratives and unique voices (some of these are historical and some of them are not!), I recommend The Great Santini or The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, Circe by Madeline Miller (believe the hype!), In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton, Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (although be forewarrned that the ending of this book is a bit divisive--some love it and some hate it!) 


Image result for Suspect Red

Finally, for teachers and teenagers who are looking for a way to understand some of our more current turbulent politics through the lens of history, I recommend my book about the McCarthy era, Suspect Red. 

Happy Holidays, everyone! 






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