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Common Deer Press Holiday Gift Guide 2021

Find the perfect book gift for the young readers on your list in 2021. Browse the Common Deer Press Holiday Gift Guide for picture books, middle grade books, and young adult books.

The gift of books is a great gift to give because it is screen-free entertainment for kids. They can explore different genres, develop reading skills, and learn about the world around them.

Common Deer Press Holiday Gift Guide

For Picture Book Readers:

In the second book in the Grandmasaurus series, Grandma turns into different Mesozoic Era marine reptiles, leaving her grandchildren to track her down and stop her funny business, all while they try to finish their field trip reports on time!

With plenty of marine reptiles to find and learn about, this fun picture book is perfect for dinosaur fans!

The Adventures of Grandmasaurus by Caroline Fernandez & Shannon O'Toole

The Adventures of Grandmasaurus features a quirky Grandma who magically sneezes herself into different dinosaurs while on a field trip with her two grandchildren. When Grandma starts behaving like a dinosaur the kids quickly learn this will not be a regular field trip! There is a world of adventure searching for and identifying Grandmasaurus. This intergenerational tale also shows kids know best when it comes to proper behaviour at the museum!

Kirkus Reviews says “readers with embarrassingly rambunctious relatives of their own will moo-roar in sympathy.”

  • Purple Dragonfly Award – Honorable Mention: STEM

  • Purple Dragonfly Award – Honorable Mention: Picture Books 6 and older

  • Purple Dragonfly Award – Honorable Mention: Best Cover

  • Purple Dragonfly Award – Honorable Mention: Best Illustration

Stop Reading This Book by Caroline Fernandez & Shannon O'Toole

Who is the villain—the reader or the book? In this story, the book itself perceives the reader as a mischief-maker and tries to protect its pages.

It is a story of a book judging a reader by their “cover.” In turning pages, the reader becomes the hero of their own story overcoming the challenges the book puts up to roadblock reading.

This heart-warming picture book uses comedy and contradiction to encourage children to read and is “a worthy addition to home, school and public libraries,” according to CM: Canadian Review of Materials.

For Middle Grade Readers:

Jordan and Justin have been split up from Stephanie and Catherine in this addition to the Math Kids series. Worse, they have Miller the Killer for math, and he hates math! Even more troubling, Jordan witnesses Robbie, the class bully, in an angry confrontation with his father and wonders if Constable Colson might be doing more than yelling.

With both people problems and math problems, this middle grade novel will engage and entertain readers as they follow the Math Kids’ attempts to overcome their classroom woes and make sure Robbie stays safe.

When Stephanie Lewis finds secret writing in the margin of an old book in the library, the Math Kids have a new puzzle to solve—one that might lead them to a mysterious old mansion and a rumoured treasure! But first, they must learn about codes and ciphers, and how to use their math skills to solve them.

This addition to the Math Kids series will appeal to math and mystery lovers and embodies the value of teamwork: “the exciting conclusion is a true group solve, with the kids deciphering the overall metapuzzle, accomplishing as a team what they never could have solo” (Kirkus Reviews).

  • First Place Purple Dragonfly Award – First Place: Mystery

  • First Place Purple Dragonfly Award – First Place: STEM

  • Second Place Purple Dragonfly Award – Second Place: Middle Grade Fiction

For fans of history and time travel, The Girl from the Attic tells the story of Maddy Rose, a girl who moves to a strange octagonal house and follows a mysterious black cat through a portal to the past. There, she meets Clare and jump into a money-making scheme in his uncle’s dangerous soap factory to buy a cure for Clare’s sick sister, Eva. Meanwhile, obligations to her own family—her pregnant mother and her new step-father—in her own time call for her attention. Maddy must rise to the challenges of both worlds in order to find her own place in the life of the octagon.

The Girl from the Attic is a creative story with endearing characters that vividly transports you through time, allowing the reader to experience the timelessness of family and friendship,” say the Uncommon Quest Jurors. It’s perfect for those looking for a timeless coming of age tale!

  • Purple Dragonfly Award – First Place: Family Matters

  • Purple Dragonfly Award – Second Place: Middle Grade Fiction

Just Watch Me by Erin Silver

Twelve-year-old Simon Rosen has qualified for the Canadian Video Game Championships in Vancouver. If he can get straight A’s in school, his parents have agreed to take him. The stakes are especially high. His parents are always fighting, and if he can just get them to Vancouver—the place where they fell in love—maybe he can save his family from the brink of divorce.

“Delightfully funny and modern, Just Watch Me tells an endearing childhood story of friendship, acceptance and the frenzied world of social media,” say the Uncommon Quest Jurors. Social media and technology make this a captivating story for modern middle graders.

CM: Canadian Review of Materials calls The Extraordinary eTab of Julian Newcomber “a quick and enjoyable middle-school read...reminiscent of some of the great adventure movies of the 1980s.” It’s the story of twelve-year-old Julian Newcomber who is used to being the new kid at school thanks to his Dad's quirky inventions, which have a habit of misbehaving and blowing up the family home. What he’s not so used to is time travel. So when one of those inventions leads to an older Julian showing up demanding help with a potential time paradox, both Julian’s are in for a wild ride full of humour, misadventure, and wordplay.

Girl guides, scouts, and space campers will love Dethbert Jones, an average ten-year-old—who happens to lives on the planet Crank with his pet chicken-snail and his robot best friend Andi Social. To earn his Cosmic Correspondent badge in Space Cadets, Dethbert writes to his earthling pen pal, and young readers are sure to laugh at his shenanigans and the delightful oddities of alien life.

For Young Adult Readers:

Broken Shards of Time by Nyah Nichol

Wren Derecho is the lone survivor of a mysterious accident that took the lives of her parents. As Wren tries to navigate through the pain of grief and loss, she crosses paths with three other individuals and soon realizes that something beyond coincidence has intertwined their lives together. Each of their journeys is marked by immense tragedy, fate, a time machine, and a mysterious power source that seems to be alive...and not from this world. Together, these characters embark on a mission to rescue their friend and save their city from an unseen yet familiar force.

“Action! Time machines! Force fields! This story has all the good stuff,” say the Uncommon Quest Jurors. “Readers who made The Hunger Games and Divergent best sellers will love the action of Broken Shards of Time. An intricate web of thrilling adventure stories, creating one compelling and exciting journey that will have you wanting more.”

The Great & the Small by A.T. Balsara

Socially conscious teens will enjoy The Great & the Small, a modern allegory reminiscent of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Just check out the description:

Deep below the market, in the dark tunnels no human knows exist, a war has begun. Led by the charismatic Beloved Chairman, a colony of rats plots to exterminate the ugly two-legs who have tortured them in labs, crushed them with boots, and looked at them with disgust for as long as anyone can remember.

When the Chairman’s nephew is injured and a young two-leg nurses him back to health, however, doubt about the war creeps in. Now the colony is split—obey the Chairman and infect the two-legs with the ancient sickness passed down from the Old Ones, or do the unthinkable...


  • 2020 Page Turner Book Awards – shortlisted and won a Spectrum Audiobook prize

  • 2018 Nautilus Book Awards – Silver (given to books that promote peace)

  • 2018 Literary Classics Book Awards – Top Honors, The Eloquent Quill Award

  • 2018 Literary Classics Book Awards – Golds, Upper Middle Grade category and Epic category

  • 2018 Screen craft Cinematic Book Competition – Semifinalist

  • 2018 Moonbeam Book Awards – Silver, YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi category

The books included in the Common Deer Press Holiday Gift Guide are available for purchase at or anywhere you buy books.


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