Few things make a better gift for a child than a book, in my mind. Toys wear out, clothes are outgrown, gadgets wane in popularity. But a book is forever, in the sense that it opens the mind and the heart to new ideas, and for a young child provides an excellent opportunity for one-on-one time with an adult. The one gift my niece and nephews could always count on was a book, like it or not!
One friend in particular seems to have an innate knack for finding fun, engaging titles that also happen to celebrate diversity. We always get excited when a package comes from Miss Mary, because it is guaranteed to have great books inside! Even as I type this, Sprout and Daddy are reading our very favorite, Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury. We love this one for lots of reasons -- it's fun to act out (wiggling fingers and toes), it features illustrations of babies who are all kinds of cute, and it has the big finale, where Mama's baby gets "three little kisses on the end of its nose". Of course, we always plant three kisses on Sprout at the end, and he giggles in anticipation all through the book. What could be more fun? Such a great read-aloud!