Books are terrific gifts for kids, and in today’s 2021 PopCult Gift Guide we’re going to suggest five children’s books, lushly-illustrated, for the 2 to 10 year-old reader on your holiday shopping list.
As always, I implore you to buy your books from a local independent bookstore, but in case that isn’t possible, there are links to buy these books online in the titles.

The Haunted Mansion Little Golden Book
by Lauren Clauss (Author), Glen Brogan (Illustrator)
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0736441773

Recommended for ages 2 – 5, but perfect for Disney fans of all ages, and as a bonus, illustrated by Charleston’s own Glen Brogan (who also turned up in Monday’s Gift Guide post), we have The Little Golden Book of The Haunted Masion, so kids can experience Disney Parks’ famous Haunted Mansion ride like never before.

It’s easy to get into the Haunted Mansion… but can you find your way out? Join the Ghost Host and search your way through all the creep-tastic rooms of Disney Parks’ Haunted Mansion-from the ominous Séance Room, to the ghoulish party in Grand Hall, to the attic that holds many scary secrets.

Perfect for Disney and Little Golden Book fans of all ages, this spooky story is also great for members of the Future Goths of America. The book was released in time for Disney World’s 50th anniversary last summer, and is a great stocking stuffer.

Grandude’s Green Submarine
by Paul McCartney (Author), Kathryn Durst (Illustrator)
Random House Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593372432

I know that yesterday was our second Beatles Day in The 2021 PopCult Gift Guide, but Sir Paul has been working overtime, and just published his second Grandude storybook, illustrated by Kathryn Durst, which is not only a great gift for young readers aged 4 to 6, but is also nice for Beatlemaniacs of all ages, since it is Paul McCartney, and he is writing about an adventure in a brightly-colored submarine.

Celebrate the fun that grandparents and grandkids can get up to in this action-packed undersea adventure—a companion picture book to Paul McCartney’s #1 New York Times bestseller Hey Grandude.

Grandude’s inventions are the stuff of legend, and his new green submarine doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it flies as well as submerges! Grandude whisks the grandkids off on another adventure, but he and the Chillers soon find themselves in a pickle. Suddenly, it’s Nandude to the rescue! Nandude is an explorer as courageous as Grandude, with an amazing accordion-ship to boot!

Between Grandude’s magic compass and Nandude’s magical music, everyone arrives home safely. But not before enjoying a parade, dancing rainforest animals, and a narrow escape from a grabby octopus. This tale is perfect for little explorers and Paul McCartney fans alike! Artist Kathryn Durst returns with glorious, humor-filled illustrations that are as beautiful as ever.

Change Sings
by Amanda Gorman, illustrated by Loren Long
Viking Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780593203224

In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves.

As a young girl totes her guitar past a mural of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and sings her anthem of change. She meets another child, and together, they clean up a litter-ridden playground.

Throughout the book, the girl uses her strength and smarts to make a difference. She gives a bone to a dog, builds a ramp for a wheelchair user, shares a meal with a homeless child, and gathers a band of music lovers.

The poem’s rhythm is beautifully depicted through rich illustrations and is an ode to the ripple effect of good one person can create. This is a lyrical picture book debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long

Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference. Recommended for children ages 4 to 8.

I Am Odd, I Am New
Benjamin Giroux, illustrated by Roz MacLean
Schiffer Publishing
ISBN13: 9780764362415

Through the eyes of 10-year-old Benjamin Giroux, being odd is different, and different is a good thing. This is what the then fifth-grader hoped to convey in his poem, beginning every few sentences with “I am,” about what it is like to live with autism.

Inspired by a school assignment, Benjamin’s raw and emotional words poured out onto the page, but when he feared they were not any good, his parents shared the poem with friends and family. Little did they know that it would go viral and end up inspiring thousands of strangers who identified with him to share their support.

Now for the first time, Benjamin’s iconic poem “I Am Odd, I Am New,” comes to life in this lovingly illustrated picture book with a foreword written by the National Autism Association. So whether you know the poem, or it is new to you, discover how Benjamin’s honesty will reassure children of all ages that it’s okay to be different.

Recommended for readers aged 5 to 9.

Hi Weirdo! – The New Children’s Book by Aiden and Mitch O’Connell
$15.00   Available at Mitch’s Etsy Store, Shipping next week.

I have to confess, this is a last-minute entry. It just went live while I was proof-reading today’s PopCult Gift Guide, and I just had to include it here. It bumped a Dinosaur Encylopedia that will probably show up next week.

Mitch is an old friend from my comic book days, and he was also in Monday’s Gift Guide Post. Now, along with his many accomplishments, which include providing illustrations for everything from major magazines and newspapers to comic books to record albums, tattoo designs and Tiajuana Bibles, he can add, “Children’s Book Illustrator.”

Mitch explains…

I finally got around to drawing a children’s book!
Luckily, my 7 year old son Aiden had a great idea, so we went to town!
It’s a 28 page, Little Golden Book sized, heavy stock, full color trip through a town full of weird, wild and wacky characters!
What will happen?
What do they look like?
What life lessons will be learned?
Get the book and find out!

As for age-appropriateness, it’s written by 7-year-old. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s the perfect gift for Weirdos of all ages!