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Books We Love for Holiday Gifts

'Tis the season for reading...and for giving great books to family and friends! Read on for a list of recommended books (old and new) from the Foote School faculty and staff.


Be A Maker
by Katey Howes & Elizabet Vuković
(Kindergarten – Grade 2)

"Our family loves this story as every time we reread it we answer the opening question "In a world of possibilities, today, what will you make?" with new ideas. We also love the illustrations!"
—Chrissy Khachane, Head of Lower School


Over the River & Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure
by Linda Ashman
(Kindergarten – Grade 2)

"This is a delightful picture book that my kids love pulling out during the Thanksgiving and winter holiday season. It's a modern twist on the lyrics to one of Foote's treasured Thanksgiving songs, "Over the River and Through the Wood," and we love singing the rhyming pages of the book to that tune. The book is full of fun and adventure, and we love how it also represents many different types of family structures."
—Ashley Schnabel, Grade 4 Teacher


Danny the Champion of the World
by Roald Dahl
(Kindergarten – Grade 3)

"This story ranks as something of an underdog in the Roald Dahl pantheon, much like the story's protagonist, but it's one of our family's favorites. It's a tender and beautifully written father-and-son story about poaching pheasants from a greedy landowner, with lessons about dreaming big and appreciating what you have."
—Andy Bromage, Director of Communications


The Golden Rule 
by Ilene Cooper & Gabi Swiatkowska
(Kindergarten – Grade 3)

"This gorgeously illustrated picture book tackles a complex subject directly, prompting wonderful discussion about how many faiths and cultures value kindness and respect."
—Susan Keegan, Kindergarten Teacher


I Am Every Good Thing 
by Derrick Barnes & Gordon C. James
(Kindergarten – Grade 3)

"This beautiful, joyful and confident book is a celebration! 'I am worthy to be loved,' it repeats on the last page. I can not think of a more important message."
—Jennifer Friedman, Head Librarian


Night Tree 
by Eve Bunting
(Kindergarten – Grade 3)

"The story is about a family decorating their favorite tree in the woods as a gift to the animals for the holidays. A sweet picture book and fun to follow-up by making bird seed ornaments to decorate your own tree in the woods!"
—Rachelle Byron, Director of Admissions & Outreach


The Tear Thief 
by Carol Ann Duffy & Nicoletta Ceccoli
(Grade 1 – Grade 3)

"This is a very thoughtful and magical book to read aloud with stunning illustrations. This picture book reveals the many reasons people cry and ultimately shows how sadness can transform into something beautiful!"
—Kayleigh Axon, Lower School Associate Teacher


The Invention of Hugo Cabret 
by Brian Selznick
(Grade 2 – Grade 7)

"This book tells the wonderful and intriguing story of Hugo Cabret, an orphaned boy who lives in a train station in Paris in 1931. His life is full of secrets and the reader gets to uncover each one as more questions arise. This book will not disappoint!"
—Cara Hames, Grade 3 Teacher


The Unforgotten Coat 
by Frank Cottrell Boyce
(Grade 3 – Grade 7)

"This is a fun, funny, clever and quick book that's all about how we see the world. Maybe what we think at first is not really the truth or what others actually think and feel. It's also based on a 'true' story, so you know it must be good."
—Jim Adams, Grade 5 Teacher


The Boy At The Back Of The Class 
by Onjali Q. Rauf
(Grade 4 – Grade 6)

"Told with humor and heart, The Boy at the Back of the Class offers a child's perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn't always make sense.This story fits well with the 4th Grade's social studies curriculum as we study the migration of peoples."
—Toby Welch, Grade 4 Teacher


The Book is Anti-Racist 
by Tiffany Jewell
(Grade 7 – Grade 9)

"The front cover says it all: '20 lessons on how to wake up, take action, and do the work.' This is an accessible way to explore difficult conversations around race and identity, with beautiful kid-friendly design and activities you can do as a family."
—Skye Lee, Grade 7 Humanities Teacher


Song for a Whale 
by Lynne Kelly
(Grade 6 – Grade 7)

"This novel is beautifully written, features a strong female protagonist and exemplifies the concept of perseverance in Falco's PRIDE. There is also a lot of science in this book: radio electronics and marine biology."
—Lara Anderson, Middle School Humanities Teacher


Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived 
by Ralph Helfer
(Grade 8 – Adult)

"Raised together in a small German circus town, a boy and an elephant formed a bond that would last their entire lives, and would be tested time and again. A beautiful, heartwarming love story."
—Karla Matheny, Art Chair


The Neapolitan Novels 
by Elena Ferrante (translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein)

"A series of four fairly hefty novels that trace the friendship of two women over the course of their lifetimes that I devoured! The books have a universal quality to them, honest, true and so very compelling."
—Deb Riding, Middle School Humanities Co-Chair


The Dutch House 
by Ann Patchett

"The type of book with a story that grabs you from the beginning. Twists and turns along the way. Great book to curl up by the fire on a winter day."
—Mary Beth Claflin, Gift Coordinator


Touch The Earth: A Self-Portrait of Indian Existence 
by T.C. McLuhan

"I love the grainy old photographs and this was eye-opening for me before I moved to America 20 years ago."
—Rob Withers, Grade 3 Teacher


by Sue D. Burton

"Sue Burton writes, 'though the issue is of/course not where the soul/is housed but where not." Bringing us through intimate family history and her own charged medical practices, these poems are baffling and expansive. The reader is privy to her jaunty and brutal imagination at play: How is the soul in the body like a woman in a box on stage while a magician, saw-in-hand, starts the show? This collection wowed me!"
—Alison Moncrief Bromage, Middle School Humanities Teacher


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Since 1916, The Foote School has provided child-centered education that nurtures creativity, excellence and joy in learning.

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