Adult Gift Books

Adult Coloring Books

Let’s get the elephant in the gift book room out of the way: the adult coloring book. Coloring books dominated as a trend in 2015. Though interest cooled in 2016, the category has quickly become a publishing mainstay. Lisa Bach, director of independent special sales at Chronicle Books, says, “It’s not the insanity from [2015], but it’s a core item for us now.”

Leslie Davisson, sales and marketing director at Pomegranate, says that consumers who are still interested in coloring are looking for higher quality titles: “We really went in a very sophisticated direction for the adult coloring books. If you take a look at the artists and subject matter that we’ve chosen this time around, these are artists and architects who could stand on their own.” Upcoming Pomegranate coloring books are ones that Davisson says you “don’t necessarily have to color in.” Pomegranate offerings include Albrecht Dürer Coloring Book (Feb.), Aubrey Beardsley Coloring Book (Feb.), Harry Clarke Colouring Book (Feb.), and Otto Wagner: An Architectural Colouring Book (Feb.). Chronicle has the Fucking Awesome Coloring Book (Apr.) in its Calligraphuck line, which features calligraphy, profanity, and metallic-ink patterns. Then there are the coloring books that have religious themes, including Amish Prayers: A Coloring Book (Herald, Apr.) and Sweeter Than Honey: A Coloring Book to Nourish Your Soul (HarperOne, Jan.), which features perforated prints alongside devotionals and quotations. For readers looking to coloring books to provide them with a creative spark, there’s Splash of Color Painting & Coloring Book (Chronicle, Apr.), which features luxe watercolor paper and sumi-ink outlines from stationer Linda & Harriett. Coloring Book of Cards and Envelopes Summertime (Candlewick, Mar.) features cards and envelopes with summertime designs to tear out and color.

From adult coloring book queen Johanna Basford comes Lost Ocean Artist’s Edition: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book for Adults (Penguin, Apr.), a special artist’s edition of the bestselling coloring book Lost Ocean.

Tributes To Pop Stars

An unusual number of pop stars died in 2016. A Portrait of Bowie: A Tribute to Bowie by His Artistic Collaborators and Contemporaries (Cassell, Apr.) features 40 visual portraits and written tributes celebrating the life of David Bowie by those who knew him well. Contributors include Debbie Harry and Cyndi Lauper, among other musicians and artists.

University of North Carolina Press has Talking Guitar: Conversations with Musicians Who Shaped Twentieth-Century American Music (May), a 320-page book featuring interviews with guitarists ranging from the early blues players to contemporary singer-songwriters, and an audio CD of these interviews.

An Obama Connection

January marked the end of Barack Obama’s second term as president. The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas by James Beard–award-winner Adrian Miller (Univ. of North Carolina, Feb.) chronicles the African-Americans who have worked in the presidential food service. Miller profiles more than 150 black men and women who have served important yet often overlooked roles feeding the nation’s first families, and the book includes some recipes for which these chefs are known.


Gift books can also make accessible entry points for more serious, of-the-moment discussions of women’s rights. Brave New Girl by Lou Hamilton (Sourcebooks, Apr.) encourages young girls to follow the motto “Be Your Own Superhero.” Your Daughter Is Awesome: One Dad’s Take on Everything That’s Wrong—and How We Can Make It Right (Adams Media, June) is a collection of essays by Mike Adamick, author of the Dad’s Book of Awesome series. Beautifully Said: Discover a Muse, Spark an Idea, and Find Your Voice (Quarto, Apr.) by Quotabelle, a company that brings together famous sayings, is a collection of quotations from a diverse range of female voices including Isabel Allende and Malala Yousafzai.


Since every year welcomes a new cohort of high school graduates, Adams Media has The Infographic Guide to College (July), which merges the rising popularity of graphic novels with the evergreen topic of surviving those first days of college. The book features 50 infographics covering topics as diverse as doing your own laundry and dealing with the bursar’s office.

TarcherPerigee has two forthcoming titles to address the budding-adult demographic: Adulthood for Beginners (May), a survival guide for the new adult filled with humorous advice, and Adult-ish (Apr.), an illustrated guided journal that charts “adult firsts” such as “the first plant you kept alive.”


For parents to be, Chronicle has Countdown to Baby (Mar.), a pregnancy tracker to mark important pregnancy milestones. TarcherPerigee has Sleepless Nights and Kisses for Breakfast (May), an Italian bestseller by Matteo Bussola featuring his observations on everyday moments of parenting his three daughters. Crown’s Potter imprint has 365 Days of Firsts: A Daily Record of Baby’s First Year, which provides space for parents to chronicle the milestones of their child’s first year.

For parents who need a laugh, there’s I’m So Pregnant: An Illustrated Look at the Ups and Downs (and Everything in Between) of Pregnancy (Adams Media, Mar.), by Norwegian illustrator and animator Line Severinsen, which portrays the funny and awkward side to pregnancy. W(h)ine: 50 Perfect Wines to Pair with Your Child’s Crappy Behavior by Jennifer Todryk (Race Point, Apr.) is, according to the publisher, a wine-pairing book “for the weary parent.” It features wines for parents to pair with children’s different types of misbehavior.

Social Media Spin-Offs

Another trend in gift book publishing is that of the social media spin-off title. Wildly into the Dark (TarcherPerigee, Mar.) features poetry and photographs from online poet Tyler Knott Gregson, who uses Instagram and Tumblr to reach readers. Pocket Iris Wisdom (Hardie Grant, Feb.) features “unsugared truths” from 94-year-old designer and fashion icon Iris Apfel.

Goats of Anarchy: One Woman’s Quest to Save the World One Goat at a Time by Leanne Lauricella (Rock Point Gift & Stationery, Mar.) features the stars of Lauricella’s popular Instagram account, which documents her goat-rescue farm in New Jersey. Darling, I Love You (Penguin Books, Jan.) combines the works of poet and translator Daniel Landinsky with the illustrations of Patrick McDonnell, creator of the Mutts comic strip. The book pairs poems about animals with drawings of the Mutts characters.


Pets remained a popular gift book category last year. National Geographic has several forthcoming animal titles, including Loyal: 38 Inspiring Tales of Bravery, Heroism, and the Devotion of Dogs (Mar.), which features the stories and photographs of 38 dogs who have performed a variety of critical tasks. National Geographic: The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals (Mar.) documents photographer Joel Sartore’s quest to photograph every animal in captivity in the world.

For fans of felines there’s The Proverbial Cat: Feline Inspirations (Sellers, Mar.), a collection of cat illustrations by Sydney Hauser accompanied by quotations and phrases about cats. Star Trek Cats (Chronicle, Mar.) brings together a love of Star Trek with a love of cats. The book features scenes from Star Trek with a cast of cats.


For the DIY obsessed, Sourcebooks is publishing Bless This Mother-Effing Home (Mar.), which features humorous cross-stitch patterns from Katie Kutthroat. Microcosm has two DIY titles, including the expanded second edition of Fix Your Clothes: The Sustainable Magic of Mending, Patching, and Darning (Apr.) and the expanded third edition of Basic Fermentation: a DIY Guide to Cultural Manipulation by Sandor Ellix Katz (July).

For readers interested in crafts, Thunder Bay Press is pubbing two titles in 2017: Zootopia Crochet (June), a kit to crochet 12 Disney characters from Zootopia, and Marvel Universe Felt (Mar.), a kit for creating superheroes including Captain America and Iron Man.


Echoes of Eternity: A Contemplative Journal for Every Day—20th Anniversary Edition! (Paraclete, May) is a contemplative journal with 365 brief meditations gathered from one pastor’s daily meditation practice. From the editors of Paraclete Press comes Life Is Simple: Every Moment Matters (May), which encourages readers to slow down and enjoy life’s simple moments. Short Morning Prayers: A Collection of Heartfelt Prayers to Start Your Day (Blue Mountain Arts, Mar.) features prayers by award-winning-blogger Debra DiPietro.


Bach at Chronicle says that this is a time to focus on positivity: “I think that as we move forward into this year in which people are feeling fearful and trepidatious, they want to give and receive worthy things. They want to give things that make people feel good.” Hence, Chronicle is pubbing You Make Everything Better—56 Compliment Cards (May), hand-lettered compliments to uplift those around you. The publisher is also putting out You Are Smarter and Stronger Than You Realize Notes by artist Susan O’Malley (Mar.), a follow-up to her Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self.


In trying times, many readers reach for self-care titles. Blue Mountain Arts is pubbing The To-Be List: 70 Reminders That Life Is About Being, Not Doing in May. Rock Point Gift & Stationery is pubbing Moonlight Gratitude: 365 Relaxing Meditations for Tranquility Before Sleep, which provides relaxing nighttime meditations, in March. 1,001 Ways to Slow Down: A Little Book of Everyday Calm (National Geographic, Mar.) provides inspiration on themes such as living in the moment, achieving balance, and relieving stress. “Slow living” sidebars, such as “Foods to Cook Slowly” and “Things to Do the Old-Fashioned Way,” are interspersed throughout the book.

Mom and Dad

Adams Media is pubbing two titles to celebrate parents: Dad: Hundreds of Awesome Quotes About the Guy Who Does It All (Apr.), which contains more than 400 quotes about fatherhood from notable dads in the worlds of sports, politics, and culture, including Barack Obama and Matt Damon; and A Mother’s Love: Beautiful, Unconditional, ...and Forever (Jan.), with reflections from notable women, including Maya Angelou and Kate Winslet. Sellers is pubbing Thank You Dad, which features original watercolors from artist Sandy Gingras alongside text that expresses gratitude for fathers, in March.

National Geographic is publishing Wisdom of Moms: Love and Lessons from the Animal Kingdom (Mar.) and Amazing Dads: Love and Lessons from the Animal Kingdom (May), which feature anecdotes about and imagery from the moms and dads of the animal kingdom. Due out from Chicken Soup for the Soul in March is Chicken Soup for the Soul: Best Mom Ever!, which features 101 stories of love and appreciation for mothers. And Just Between Us: Grandmothers and Granddaughters, a new keepsake journal from Chronicle (Apr.), is the follow-up to Just Between Us: Mother & Daughter, from the mother-daughter team of Sofie and Meredith Jacobs.

Adult Sidelines


Puzzles are “still so incredibly strong for us,” Davisson of Pomegranate says. “It’s a category we keep growing in, especially with the 1,000-piece puzzles. I think a lot of bookstores are carrying puzzles. It’s a way to unplug.” From Pomegranate comes An Anciente Mappe of Fairyland (Feb.), a 1,000-piece-puzzle reproduction of the 1920 painting of the same name, which can be found in the Library of Congress. Pomegranate has several other 1,000-piece puzzles in 2017, including Charley Harper: Isle Royale, featuring Harper’s rendering of the Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior (Feb.), and Mike Wilkins: Preamble (Feb.), produced in conjunction with the Smithsonian American Art Museum and featuring license plates from all 50 states (and D.C.).


For nature lovers Pomegranate is releasing A Flight of Birds: A Quiz Deck of Avian Collective Nouns (Pomegranate, Feb.), which tests players’ knowledge of the nouns used to describe groups of birds (e.g., a murder of crows, a gaggle of geese). The Sibley Birder’s Life List and Field Diary by David Allen Sibley (Clarkson Potter, Mar.) is a write-in field guide for all levels of birders. Botanical Inspirations Deck & Book Set (U.S. Games Systems, Jan.) features 44 cards with botanical illustrations with quotations about the symbolism of each flower. Accompanying it are a drawstring organza pouch and a 100-page guidebook filled with affirmations and narratives from history, mythology, lore, and legend that tell the stories of each flower.


In the category of pop-ups there is Paper Blossoms for All Seasons by Ray Marshall (Chronicle, Mar.), which features a collection of intricate pop-up paper bouquets that can be used as table centerpieces.


Quarto’s Rock Point Gift & Stationery line has several artisanal sticker collections coming in 2017, including the Nature Collection: Put a Sticker on It! 500 Artisanal Stickers for You to Decorate Your World (Mar.) and the Happy Collection: Put a Sticker on It!: 500 Artisanal Stickers for You to Decorate Your World (Mar.).

For those who like to put stickers on their bodies, Adams Media is publishing DIY Temporary Tattoo Art: Easy Step-by-Step Instructions for Watercolor, Henna, Flash Tattoos, and More! (June), which features trendy temporary tattoos from lifestyle vlogger K.L. Cao.


A Moment in Time Capsule: Capture the Past to Create a Forever Memory (Rock Point Gift & Stationery, Apr.) contains a box with eight glass capsules and 24 notes on which the purchaser can chart thoughts, hopes, and predictions for the future.


Interlink is publishing 16 notebooks (Mar.) bound in genuine tartan cloth. For the amateur meteorologist, Princeton Architectural Press is releasing Observer’s Notebook: Weather (Mar.), which allows the user to chart the weather by hand. Canterbury Classics will release a new series of journals in March in which verses from the Bible in tiny print form the lines throughout. The journals also have heat-burnished-Svepa covers, illustrated endpapers, foil stamping, and colored edges. The series includes A Journal: The Gospels; A Journal: Psalms; and A Journal: The Words of Jesus. For typography junkies there’s Font of Knowledge: A Journal (Clarkson Potter, Apr.).


The New York Times reported that sales of planners have been growing in recent years, and Pomegranate’s Davisson says that planners are a growth area for the company. Bad Ass Planner is one of Pomegranate’s most frequently ordered products. From Crown’s Clarkson Potter imprint comes Start Where You Are Week-at-a-Glance Diary by Meera Lee Patel (June), a diary based on Patel’s popular journal Start Where You Are. The diary encourages users to look inward as they plan ahead.

Note Cards

The Thing Postcard Book: James Franco (Chronicle, Apr.) is a collection of 30 postcards in which artist-actor-writer-director James Franco poses as the characters in his favorite books.

Princeton Architectural Press is releasing Sunprint Notecards: The Cyanotypes of Anna Atkins (Mar.), which features photograms of botanist Anna Atkins. Accompanying the photograms are envelopes printed on the inside with cyanotype images of the handwritten pages of Atkins’s books. The publisher is also releasing Emily Dickinson Notecards (Apr.), in which the enclosed envelopes are made with prints from the poet’s pressed-flower albums, and Living Pattern Postcard Packet (Mar.), which features 24 postcards with images of 12 species of fern.

Women in Science: 100 Postcards (Clarkson Potter, Mar.) features illustrations from Rachel Ignotofsky’s book Women in Science. Subtext: 24 Literary Postcards (Clarkson Potter, June) explains the meanings embedded in famous quotations from authors including Jane Austen and Shakespeare. Start Where You Are Note Cards (Clarkson Potter, June) features inspirational note cards by Meera Lee Patel, the creator of the popular journal book Start Where You Are.


U.S. Games is releasing three spiritual book-and-card sets: Buddhism Reading Cards (Mar.), meant to introduce readers to Buddhism in a fun and practical way, with each card representing one fundamental principal of Buddhism; Mudras for Awakening the Body (Jan.); and Angel Reading Cards (Jan.). All sets include the card decks as well as guidebooks that give readers more insight into how to use the decks in their day-to-day lives.

Children’s Gift Books & Sidelines


Strange Trees and the Stories Behind Them (Princeton Architectural Press, Apr., Ages 7–10) is an illustrated collection of the world’s most bizarre trees. Princeton Architectural Press also has two sticker books: Birds of the World: My Nature Sticker Activity Book (Mar.) and In the Vegetable Garden: My Nature Sticker Activity Book (Mar.), both for children ages 5–8.

Lego Lovers

Graphic Arts Books is pubbing a gift book series for kids ages five and up. Build It! Make Supercool Models with Your Lego Classic Set is a new series of books for young Lego builders. Three titles are being added to the series this May: Build It! Things That Go; Build It! Things That Fly; and Build It! Things That Float.


While kids still love analog, there are a few titles that offer a bridge to the smartphone life. Smartphone MovieMaker (Candlewick, Mar.) is a guide to making movies on a smartphone. It includes a box that can be used to project films from a smartphone. It also includes card sheets with which kids can make retro popcorn boxes and tickets with which to invite friends to their screenings. Color Snap App (Candlewick, July) is a twist on the coloring book in which kids color in the pages of the book and then photograph them using an app that transforms the still images into animated films.

Waldo Turns 30

For the past three decades, children (and adults) have been searching for that guy in the red-and-white striped shirt. Candlewick has three Waldo titles this May: Where’s Waldo? 30th Anniversary Edition, which features a letter from Waldo about his decades of travel; Where’s Waldo? The Totally Essential Travel Collection, which includes six postcards to color in; and Where’s Waldo? The Coloring Collection.

Poster Books

Animalium Poster Book (Candlewick, Mar.) features images from Big Picture Press’s bestselling Animalium.


In 2017 Chronicle is releasing Ice Cream Scoop Puzzle (May), which features 16 double-sided scoop-shaped puzzle pieces so that kids can create their own ice cream concoctions, and Towering Tree Puzzle (Mar.), which features interlocking branches.

CrackBoom Books, an imprint of Chouette Publishing, is releasing Farm Animals Fun Box (Mar.), which includes a book about a child spending the day on his grandparents’ farm and a 36-piece double-sided jigsaw puzzle that can be colored in.

Counting Cards

In the world of kids card sets, Chronicle is releasing the World of Eric Carle Animal Counting Cards (Mar.), featuring punch-out numbers from one to 10 accompanied by Carle’s famous illustrations, and also from Chronicle is Bumper-to-Bumper Cars & Trucks Flashcards (Apr.), featuring 20 vehicle-shaped flash cards.


Simon & Schuster Children’s has a new gift book line, New Books for Newborns, designed for new parents. The Little Simon imprint is launching four new books to start the series this spring, including Good Night, My Darling Baby (Mar.), a bedtime story in which animals tuck in their babies; Mama Loves You So (Mar.); Blanket of Love (May); and Welcome Home, Baby! (June).

A gift for toddlers is Chronicle’s Peek-a-Boo Stroller Cards: On the Farm (Apr.), which contains animal peek-a-boo masks that affix to a stroller or wherever else a toddler may end up.


Little Bee Books has several activity offerings: Mishmania: Cool as a Cucumber (Feb., ages 5–10), which includes activities for kids based around food; Rain, Rain, Go Away! (Feb., ages 5–10), which includes coloring to comics and origami for when it’s raining; Foil Art: Animals (Mar., ages 4–8), in which kids use rub-on foil sheets and stickers to color and decorate animal silhouettes; and Foil Art: Fairies (Mar., ages 4–8), in which they do the same but for fairies.

Candlewick also has a foil offering: Press Out & Color Butterflies (Mar.), which features 10 press-out designs decorated with foil and perfect for all ages to color in. Museum Visit: A Color, Punch Out, and Play Set (Pomegranate, Feb.) includes a folding play “stage set” with scenes to color in. It allows kids to color and create their own museum displays. An accompanying booklet includes information on the history of museums and how to curate an exhibition.


Silver Dolphin Books has three upcoming Storybook Gift Sets (ages 5 and up)—kits with fold-open models that include cardboard characters, so that children can reenact their favorite scenes from well-known tales such as Beauty and the Beast (Feb.), Noah’s Ark (Mar.), and All About the Pirate Ship! (June).