We enter the holiday season of giving with the realization that gifts of love, compassion, kindness, and gratitude are priceless gifts that keep on giving, but if we focus on tangible gifts that keep on giving, I choose books. There is an old English song that puts it this way: “Oh, for a nook and a storybook… with tales both new and old, for a good book wherein to look is better to me than gold.” If you are looking for a book for a gift to a special someone, I have some suggestions:

Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, is one of my favorites , and the only one I am listing that isn’t centered around a dog…..The book follows the lives of an apple tree and a boy. In his childhood, the boy enjoys playing with the tree, and eating her apples. As he grows older, he spends less time with the tree, and visits her only when he wants material items at various stages of his life…in an effort to make the boy happy at each of these stages, the tree gives him parts of herself which he can transform into material items, such as money from her apples, a house from her branches, and a boat from her trunk. With every stage of giving, the “tree was happy.” In the final pages, the boy returns as a tired elderly man to request a “quiet place to sit and rest” which the tree could provide. Scholars heatedly debate about “hidden meanings” in the book, but I choose to believe it is a fable about life and life lessons..of what it means to be mortal and flawed and the blessings of love. Everyone needs this book, and it would make an awesome gift

Christine Davis of Lighthearted Press offers awesome coffee table books, and all animal lovers should have at least two…or more…of her delightful books. She writes and illustrates magical books for lifting the spirits of anyone coping with the loss of an animal friend in For Every Dog An Angel, and Forever Paws. The Shelter Dog tells the story of Hero, an angel dog flying through the heavens with other angel dogs, requesting to return to earth and become a shelter dog. Hero discovers that things don’t always turn out the way you plan….sometimes they turn out better. Old Dog and the Christmas Wish Is a perfect gift for those who believe in Christmas miracles…and for those who are not quite certain. It is Christmas Eve, and an old dog lies chained to a tree, alone and forgotten. Beyond the fence something is about to happen that will awaken the strong spirit that still runs deep within his tired old bones. Whispers of a Christmas wish will reach the heavens, and suddenly anything is possible on this very special night. All of these books are overflowing with love, magi, and of course, FUR! If you would like information or would like to place an order, contact davis@lighthearted press.com or call 877-385-6837.

If you need a gift for someone with a special love for old dogs, Gene Weingarten’s book, Old Dogs Are The Best Dogs would be a perfect choice. Beautifully illustrated with photographs by Michael Williamson, this book emphasizes “old dogs can be cloudy-eyed and grouchy, gray of muzzle…hard of hearing, wheezy, lazy and lumpy, but to anyone who has ever loved an old dog, these things are of little consequence. They are sweetly vulnerable, show exorbitant gratitude, and have limitless trust. They possess a special sort of dignity and charm.” Old Dogs is a glorious gift book and a fitting tribute to any dog you can never forget. The book is also available as an e-book.

Another book that any animal lover would appreciate is Patrick McDonnell’s Mutt’s Shelter Stories. McDonald has been recognized worldwide for his distinctive style, heartwarming humor, and strong, yet nonpreachy, stand on important issues like responsible pet ownership, animal advocacy, adoption, and the sanctity of all life. This book provides a pathway for any humane minded person—turning us away from the pet trade and toward our shelters, where you can make a friend for life.

I have an entire stack of more books that I would recommend for gift-giving, but unfortunately can’t list them all. I do assure you that if you choose the books I have showcased, you will make someone happy! (All of them are available from Amazon, or most book stores).

“Good books are friendly things to own…the fellowship of books is real. They won’t disturb you…they’ll comfort you…they’ll share your lonesome hours, , and though you may cease to care for them, they will remain your loyal friends. The world before you will unfold with the magic key you hold in a book!” –Edgar Guest