As regular readers will know, we often partner with DK Books to bring you a glimpse of some of their new and exciting book releases. Since we’re approaching the holidays, today I’ve decided to share our top DK Books gift ideas for the whole family. DK’s reference books and children’s books feature fascinating topics and incredible photography, making for wonderfully gift-worthy volumes.
Books for Curious Kids
Reward curious kids with any of these books about the natural world, science, and mythical beasts. Beautiful illustrations and photography will draw kids in while the accessible text will keep them engaged and eager to learn more.
Explore 101 wonders of the natural world in this gorgeously illustrated hardcover volume. Inside these pages you’ll find some of the most fascinating plants, animals, rocks and minerals, and microscopic life on planet Earth. How do fungi and green algae work together to create a new kind of “organism”? Discover how sea urchins see without eyes and move without legs. Which mammal lays eggs like a reptile and keeps it warm in her pouch?
Each two-page spread spotlights a single plant, creature, or mineral with both an illustration and a large full-colour photo, a brief write-up, and an intriguing fact. This book makes learning fun!
“In 2007, water bears were sent into space. They are the only animals ever to have survived outside a spacecraft.”
“Living stones make their own sunscreen so they don’t burn in the desert sun.”
“The wombat is the only animal in the world that produces cube-shaped poop.”
At the back of the book, a glossary defines technical terms, and a visual guide condenses all the wonders into 8 pages with an illustration, page number, and fast facts like group, size, location, and in the case of minerals, what they’re made from.
Gold foil on the cover, gilded page edges, and a fancy ribbon bookmark make this a beautiful gift for any curious child.
Organized into chapters on matter, reactions, materials, energy, forces, life, and Earth, Explanatorium of Science shows and explains wide-ranging concepts in chemistry, physics, biology, and geology. Chapter One starts with basic questions like, “What is matter?” and “What are the states of matter?” then moves on to more complex topics like how diffusion works, how oxygen keeps us alive, and what makes noble gasses so “noble”.
The chapter on chemical reactions looks at some of the ways that atoms can be rearranged to form new substances. What is fire and what happens to the fuel being burned? What makes iron or steel rust? Explore common materials like plastic and nylon, as well as some uncommon ones like shark skin (the electron micrograph close-up is so cool!). Learn about different forms of energy like heat, sound, light, and nuclear energy. How does gravity work and what forces allow us to fly?
Chapter Six starts out by exploring the building block of life on Earth: the cell. Subsequent pages explore how plants and animals make energy and other basic processes like temperature regulation, breathing, excreting waste, and reproduction. The final chapter takes a closer look at planet Earth and the various forces at work on our planet like volcanoes, erosion, weather, and the greenhouse effect. How do fossils form? Why do we have seasons (and why do different parts of the globe experience seasons at different times)?
Concepts and examples are presented in easy-to-read language with stunning photography, informative diagrams, and close-up images that makes the broad range of science topics accessible and easy to understand.
Don’t let the title fool you. This isn’t a collection of myths and stories. It’s so much more! This book does include some stories, but this is better understood as an introduction to the role of myths from around the world as well as an exercise in comparative mythology.
Information is presented in four different ways. Around the World pages demonstrate how stories and myths from all over the world share common themes and elements. These pages gather examples from different cultures of origin myths, flood stories, and myths about shapeshifters, tricksters, and warrior heroes.
Who’s Who pages spotlight famous family trees and groups of characters. Each two-page spread provides a brief overview of each being and visual representations of the relationships between them. Who’s related to whom in the Greek pantheon? How are Indian deities related to one another and to Brahman? Who are the most notable Knights of the Round Table?
Character Up Close pages are like short biographies and dig deeper into one particular character. Learn about Mamma Quilla, Rainbow Snake, Nisse, Thor, and Gilgamesh. Who are they and what role do they play in their stories?
But none of this means that kids won’t find fascinating stories here as well. Several myths from different cultures are shared throughout the book on Telling the Tale pages, from the Inuit story of Sedna and the Trickster Raven to Ghanaian myths about Anansi the Wise Spider. They’ll read the Japanese story of Okuninushi and the White Rabbit, and learn the origins of the Lost City of El Dorado. This is a fascinating book, with every page packed full of imagination, information, classical artwork, and illustrations.
Books for LEGO-Lovers
These cool DK-LEGO books are both books and toys. Both these books below come with a small set of LEGO bricks and built-in brick storage, so they’re perfect for LEGO-lovers everywhere.
This innovative LEGO book includes eight bedtime adventures to build, play, and read. The book comes with all the bricks and instructions needed for eight different mini LEGO toys – a pirate ship, dinosaur, robot, bird, castle, elephant, spider, and spaceship – along with a related bedtime story to read together.
When you’re done, the bricks go back in the plastic clamshell in the cover so you can choose a different mini model and story the next night.
There’s a lot of LEGO packed into this little book. With more than 50 festive ideas for holiday decorations, gifts, and games made from LEGO, kids will be inspired to make their own holiday-themed games, gift boxes, a gingerbread train, snowmen, or Santa’s sleigh.
Your kids won’t find step-by-step instructions like those that come in a typical LEGO set. Instead they’ll find ideas. Labelled diagrams may suggest using certain pieces to get a specific look or effect, but the models are better seen as jumping off points for kids to exercise their own creativity. For example, the book shows a couple of different LEGO snowflakes not so kids can recreate an exact duplicate, but rather so they can make their own unique creations inspired by the snowflakes depicted on the page.
The book comes with 41 LEGO bricks to make a mini reindeer model, but since all the other builds require you to have your own bricks, it’s best for kids who already have a lot of LEGO to play with.
Books for Wonder Seekers
These hefty coffee table books bring the wonders of the natural and human-made world into your living room through gorgeous photography and fascinating facts.
Majestic trees, vibrant flowers, delicate root systems. Far from a dry, scientific treatise, Flora brings readers deep into the mysterious and marvelous world of plant biology. Exquisite illustrations and stunning close-up photography bring the beauty and grace of plant life from around the world into your home through this massive coffee table book.
What makes a plant? How do plants survive and thrive in challenging environments? How do they store food and water, communicate with other organisms, and reproduce? Learn about the 3-foot wide corpse flower, the world’s largest single flower. Discover how mangrove trees survive in salt water. Compare the dozens of ways that plants have evolved to ensure their reproduction. Detailed cross-sections show what’s happening inside the broadest tree trunk and the tiniest seed.
Chapters focus on the multiplicity of designs and ways that roots, stems and branches, leaves, flowers, and seeds and fruits help plants survive. The final chapter explores shared characteristics of selected plant families and samples of each. Back matter includes a complete catalog of all 639 plant families, a glossary, and index.
The best part of this book is the photography. All DK Smithsonian books contain remarkable photos, but in a sea of beautiful books, Flora stands out.
In this companion volume to Flora, Zoology takes a different perspective than other books about animals. Rather than organizing animals into families (e.g., mammals, birds, reptiles, etc.), this volume takes a functional perspective. Each chapter examines characteristics and features like skeletons; skin, coats, and armour; senses; mouths and jaws; legs, arms, tentacles, and tails; fins, flippers, and paddles; wings; and eggs and offspring.
Stunning photographs isolate animals and their body parts on a white page creating images that stand out and clearly illustrate the parts in question. The images presented on each page of this book are remarkable! Examine close-ups of a pangolin’s scales, a beetle’s sensory bristles, and the tiny translucent fins on a seahorse. The spread on vertebrate skeletons shows colourful and strangely beautiful x-ray images allowing the reader to see what is happening under their skin.
Learn how animals are wonderfully adapted to their niche and environments. How have aquatic animals’ sensory systems adapted to function underwater? How do various species of animals reproduce and feed their young? Compare primate hands to octopus suckers. What do stag beetle jaws and rhino horns have in common? Fascinating details and striking photography make this book an amazing addition to any reference library.
This large, heavy volume explores more than 200 buildings and monuments around the globe. Discover amazing architecture, feats of engineering, and enduring beauty from ancient cultures to present-day constructions in the most modern cities. Organized by continent, an introductory page at the front of each chapter shows a large map indicating the location of each wonder.
Each entry traces the history of the wonder’s construction and its significance, from well-known landmarks like the Great Wall of China, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Eiffel Tower, to lesser known sites like Yaxchilán in the Mexican state of Chiapas, the Ferapontov Monastery in Russia, and Mehrangarh Fort in India. Get to know these marvels of engineering through stunning photography and supporting floorplans and layouts. Pages describing different architectural styles are interspersed throughout the book.
While this book attempts to take a global approach identifying sites on all six inhabited continents, there is a distinct emphasis on European architecture. The North American chapter is heavily overrepresented by American sites, and I noticed that Mexico has been moved to the chapter on Central/South America, presumably due to their related architectural styles. Man-made Wonders of the World is a beautiful celebration of human ingenuity and a stunning gift for fans of history and architecture.
Books for Star Wars Fans
“The odds of me ever writing a book were approximately… Oh, never mind. My golden companion worries about such things – I don’t. I have indeed now written a book – telling my story, in my voice, not his – recognising that our voices and our stories are inextricably intertwined.”
In this deeply personal memoir, Anthony Daniels, better known as C-3PO, one of the most famous droids of all time, tells all. As the only actor to appear in every Star Wars movie, Daniels has a unique perspective spanning more than four decades. Timed to coincide with the end of the Skywalker saga, fans of the franchise will love reading C-3PO’s story as Daniels walks readers through each film from Star Wars: A New Hope to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as well as other Star Wars related appearances.
Daniels talks about the excitement of being part of Star Wars as well as the challenges he experienced wearing the golden suit. He bares his feelings about trying to fit in on set and being left out of the subsequent press coverage, but I would have loved to learn more about his personal life. This book contains lots of insider information that superfans will appreciate. Includes a foreword by J.J. Abrams (director of The Rise of Skywalker) and never-before-seen tipped-in photography pages.
DK’s Wonders of Gift Giving Contest
To celebrate the wonders of gift giving this holiday, DK will be giving one lucky winner their book of choice every day from December 1st to December 12th. All you need to do is visit DK’s Wonders of Gift Giving Collection and let DK Canada know which book you’d most like to receive for the holidays.
Share an image on Twitter of your favourite book from DK’s Wonders of Gift Giving Collection. Tag your tweet with @DKCanada and the #DKGiftGiving hashtag, and you’ll be automatically entered to win that book during DK’s 12 Days of Gift Giving campaign from from December 1st to December 12th.
Enter as many times as you like! This giveaway is open to residents of Canada only.
Win Explanatorium of Science
Win a copy of Explanatorium of Science for your curious child. Enter in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified.
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Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you.