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I wanted to kick this year’s holiday gift list off with a bang…

…but alas, this frilled lizard pencil sharpener DOES NOT EXIST! It’s simply a brilliant idea by designer mitiruxxx.

Somebody call FRED! They gotta get on this, STAT!

Something that does exist, however, is this Lego Typewriter.

I’m speechless.

(I know, right?)

From that fabulous FRED I mentioned earlier comes this “Filing Saucer” cow paperclip dispenser. I bet Bloop (shameless plug) would get carried away with this!

This is something for which I’ve been waiting a lifetime: Lite Brite Wall Art!

I envision this hung on your writing room door, lit up when you’re not to be disturbed, customized with the phrase of your choice (or a choice phrase).

And you won’t be bothered, because everyone headed your way will stop to play with it…and forget what they wanted from you. Genius.

While we’re on the subject of lights, this one is illuminating: Rainbow Light Bulb!

I’m not sure how much light it gives off, but it does emit an inspiring vibe! Just what you’ll need for Storystorm 2023!

Every writer needs a practical briefcase or laptop bag. These beautiful vintage-inspired creations by ECOSUSI are eco-friendly, free of animal products, made in ethical factories, and the company is female-led. And wow—hello, gorgeous!

We writers need a collection of comfortable writing loungewear. Hence the next pick: Peanuts Jammies from Hanna Andersson! (I’m filled with nostalgia this year!)

Folks, I’ve been purchasing Hannas for a long time, and although a bit pricey, they don’t pill or wear out, and the cotton is super-comfy. This is not fast fashion; it’s lasting fashion. Charles M. Schulz himself would be proud to don these PJs.

What writer couldn’t use some encouragement? I need a pick-me-up on a weekly basis. If you do, too, check out Chronicle’s Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo!

From the description: Every writer knows that as rewarding as the creative process is, it can often be a bumpy road. Have hope and keep at it! Designed to kick-start creativity, this handsome handbook from the executive director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) gathers a wide range of insights and advice for writers at any stage of their career.

Where else can you find creative mojo? I head off to The Highlights Foundation when I need a creative kick-in-the-keister. A quiet, private cabin and three delicious Chef Amanda meals a day await you! A Gift Certificate for a personal retreat is the perfect gift for any writer! (You don’t have to be kidlit.)

This is “The Barn” where workshops (if attending one) and meals take place. Being disabled, I can vouch for the Foundation’s accessibility. I don’t hike the trails, but I can get from my cabin to the barn easily via my car, scooter and walker.

There’s an outdoor fireplace at Highlights with a basket of fixings for s’mores. To get that cheerful winter feeling—and your chocolate fix—make your own s’mores on the back deck with a City Bonfires Portable Fire Pit!

If all you want is a cozy ambiance (without the calories), there’s these wood-wick (with crackle and pop) soy candles in amazing scents, like Farmhouse Streusel

The Book Buddy is a reader’s best friend. I rate this “one thumb up” (the other thumb is busy holding my book).

Truth be told, I’m a tea aficionado, not a coffee connoisseur. However, I know there are plenty of writerly coffee lovers out there; I’m in the minority when it comes to my liquid mojo of choice. Javaphiles will jump for joy over 12 Christmas Mornings of Coffee Advent Calendar.

From the description: Caffeinated countdown: A dozen small-batch, seasonal ground coffees are nestled within this Advent calendar. Discover new flavors and profiles while tasting familiar wintertime notes like roasted chestnut, cranberry, sugar, and spice.

This gift reminds me of writer Jen Fier Jasinski. (She’ll know why.) Isn’t it adorable? It’s a Typewriter Planter with Succulents!

OK, here’s something you can write with (finally!). Don’t be intimidated by a fountain pen. These beginner pens feature a clear well design, allowing you to see how much ink is left. They come with full instructions, in a choice of cool colors. The TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen is affordable, too.

Tired of being distracted by dings, bleeps and alerts? Want to escape the pull of the Twitter hellscape? The FreeWriter Traveler is a calm in the laptop storm. The only thing you’ll be connected to is your manuscript.

“To be a good writer, you must be a good READER!” This is my message at school visits. Now you’ll be able to read way past bedtime (another shameless plug) with this Glocusent Rechargeable Neck Reading Light.


This year I asked a couple author friends what they’d recommend for a writerly holiday gift.

First up is Julie Falatko. Her most recent [adorably funny] book is RICK THE ROCK OF ROOM 214.

Here’s what Julie put on her writer’s wish list:

We recently got Ransom Notes and it is a perfect game for a family of readers and writers who all think we’re the funniest one at the table.

I love my Bookjigs bookmark for journals that don’t come with their own ribbon bookmark. (It works as a bookmark in any book, but I use it for morning pages journals.) I have this owl.

Lisa Tolin is next! Her debut picture book, HOW TO BE A ROCK STAR, was recently released! Woo-hoo!

I’m in love with this Storyboard Notebook. It’s designed for picture books, with 32 thumbnail pages on each of 63 spreads. (This sounds like math, but I wouldn’t do that to you.) I like seeing the beats of a story on a single spread for pacing. Plus, what writer doesn’t want another notebook? 

I’m also coveting kidlit art. A few on my list— 

Sophie Blackall has this print for the crossword lover

Jon Klassen’s mom makes adorable home accessories from his designs. 

Bob Shea makes these acrylic clouds and will even hand-bend them to go around a corner.

(Note from Tara: here are other kidlit illustrators with online shops: Charlene Chua, Nina Victor Crittenden, Susie Ghahremani, Diana Delosh, Rebekah Lowell, Lita Judge, Sean Qualls, Gareth Lucas, Anna Alter, Clover Robin, Joyce Wan, and Mirka Hokkanen.)

Also, check out my writerly gift lists from holidays past:

And last, but certainly not least, the Storystorm 2023 Idea Book/Journal is available NOW! (Yes, I finally got my act together and posted it before January!) The cover design is by Mirka Hokkanen. The proceeds of all sales ($4 each item when purchased via the link above) will benefit charity. I will name the charity (still deciding) when Storystorm begins in January.

Got a great gift idea for writers? Please leave it in the comments!

Happy Holidays!

It’s here, it’s here! Every writer’s favorite gifting list!

Thanks to illustrator Susie Ghahremani at for creating the typewriter-tree for our post. And the first item I’ll recommend is straight from her site! I bought a bunch of her adorable enamel pins, plus a typewriter pin! They now proudly adorn my denim jacket. (Psst, all the gifts on this list can be for YOU! Treat yourself; it’s been another rough year!)

The first gift I love for writers keeps your mind sharp and hones your creative connections with all those tricky clues.

$40 annually

You’ll receive the daily NY Times crossword, mini crossword games, and my current obsession, Spelling Bee. And if you’re truly up for a challenge, NYT fan Sarah Sinclair offers a Spelling Bee knit hat pattern on

BOOK DARTS @ The Grommet

I always say to classes I visit, “To be a good writer, you must be a good READER.” Book darts are thin metal line markers that hug a page, pointing to a specific line, without marking up the page. Each tin contains 125 book darts, more than enough for multiple books, magazines, journals… Now you can easily refer to your favorite lines.


If you’re like me and a box of your books goes KA-THUNK on the front porch, you scramble to grab any old dojigger to open it—a key, a ballpoint pen, even a fingernail. But that’s so wrong! You risk ruining your writing tool, your manicure, and you’ll mangle your lock trying to jimmy it open with a misshapen key. So get a Gerber Shard. It’s even airline-approved!


You’re a writer, not an illustrator…so here’s a nifty gadget for you. Put it next to any drawing and it will reflect lines to trace. If there’s an image in a picture book you love, you can recreate it for yourself.


Don’t worry, it won’t tell you to drink more Ovaltine. However, if you’re a kidlit writer, I know you’re gonna love this! Who doesn’t want to pass secret notes? (Hey, why not write an entire manuscript in code and challenge your critique partners? On second thought, never mind. They’ll kick you outta the group.)

GRIDS & GUIDES NOTEBOOK from Princeton Architectural Press

If you’re a visual thinker, this notebook offers varying lined pages for ideas, lists, paragraphs, doodles, anything you can imagine. It’s been a bestseller for a decade.

$39.99 for 24-pack of 4×4

It doesn’t matter if you’re a plotter or a pantser, every writer can find a use for these. And another use. And another. They’re erasable, re-stickable, and each one should last about 2 years stuck and unstuck to your wall, your manuscript, your bedside table, or your partner’s forehead.

starts at $27 per month

Scribbler says it’s “like a writing conference in a box.” There’s lessons, chats, other writerly gifts and a new novel to enjoy. All you need is a cuppa tea, a cat, and a roaring fire. (In the fireplace. Don’t set your manuscript alight.)

RUSTIC BOOKSTORE CANDLE by Mirus Candles on Etsy
$8.95 and up

Writers love books. But we adore old books, especially the aroma of a used bookstore! I’ve searched high and higher for that scent, and this may be the closest with its combination of old books, worn leather, and fireplaces.


Published in late 2020 from Skyhorse, this delish little tome may have escaped your notice. “From Christmas and Thanksgiving to Halloween and New Year’s, this seasonal cookbook offers 17 full four-course holiday meals from 25 classic books—each including an appetizer, entrée, side dish, and dessert.” Don’t forget to invite me to dinner!


This game is especially perfect for picture book creators, as it’s based on creating words to describe the illustrated cards and telling stories based on the images. Both children and adults can play together!


I have bookshelves all over my house, but I could always use another one. That’s probably you, too. This bookcase is narrow, meaning anyone can find a place for it. Besides, it’s a nice excuse to buy more books—to fill it up!

NOVEL TEA BOOK TINS from Uncommon Goods
$35.00 – $39.00

I admit, I don’t like coffee, so you’ll never see that bitter brew on this list. However, I adore a good cuppa tea. I should’ve been born British.


Maybe the pandemic has renewed your love of old-fashioned letter-writing. Here’s a treasure trove of 100 book jacket postcards for short communiques that are more meaningful (and more fun) than text messages.


And for those longer hand-written sentiments, there’s this gorgeous notecard set of 12 iconic female writers, with original portraits by Etsy seller CustardApple. They’re lovely, printed on recycled linen, with Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, plus 8 others.


EX LIBRIS STAMP by Etsy Seller ExLibrisStudio

Personalized gifts are so special and this shop has every “ex libris” design you could ever want, from children’s choices to animals, science, and mystery. Choose a stamp or a sticker for your favorite bookworm.


For keeping you writing friends close, and your writing enemies closer. (The pen is a double-edged sword, is it not?)


Speaking of sharp writing implements, I asked my friend, illustrator Kirk Reedstrom, to tell me a little about this curious pen I saw him using last week. He says:

“For the calligraphy lover or illustrator in your life, I cannot recommend Dan Berry’s Blade Pen highly enough! Hand-made by UK-based cartoonist and illustrator, Dan Berry, this pen is a lot of fun! This dip pen’s unpredictable nature helps me loosen up and get a delectably wonky line quality I haven’t found with any other tool.”

Here are a few adorable drawings Kirk made with his new pen:

LAP DESK by Lap Gear

During the pandemic, I gave up sitting at a desk. I balance my laptop precariously on a living room pillow. NOT the best set-up. Enter this lap desk. There are tons of designs to choose from if you choose a couch for comfort. There’s even a slot for your phone (so you don’t sit on it, like I do).

MOFT Invisible Laptop Stand

Speaking of comfort while writing, this “invisible” laptop stand won a design award for its slim profile that attaches directly to your laptop for go-anywhere convenience. You’ll get a perfect tilt when you need it and a sturdy, flat base when you don’t.



“Each round begins with a rotating judge drawing a Story card and reading the first sentence aloud. The other players then write down a word or phrase that fills in the first blank. After every player has submitted their word or phrase, the judge chooses their favorite and places it on the story card upside down. This continues for every line. At the end of the story, the judge reads the completed story, revealing the winning submissions!”


Shameless plug. If you’re a fan of my List of 500+ Fun, Cool & Interesting Words, you’ll enjoy how I turned it into a book, with 750+ words arranged by category for ease-of-use and fun facts behind entries. Available wherever you purchase books, starting January 2.


And finally, thanks to my friends at, we have the Narwhal Fountain Pen, one of the owner’s, Kiran Mehra’s, favorite pens. I asked her what makes it so special. She says, “Narwhal pens write amazingly!  Fountain pens have been around a long time, but the Narwhal fountain pen takes what’s good about classic fountain pens (for example, the Piston-Fill system) and removes the headaches that used to come with them. Narwhal pens are the same quality and often-times materials as expensive luxury fountain pens (which can go upwards of $200 – $2000, believe it or not), but for an affordable intermediate price of $50. There is no better first fountain pen to have!”

And lucky blog readers, thanks to, you can WIN A NARWHAL FOUNTAIN PEN!

Simply add one gift-for-writers suggestion of your own to this post in the comments below.

One random winner will be selected at the end of 2021.



Our first gift this year is the adorable “Snow Bear” mascot by the generous and talented Tatjana Mai-Wyss. Give her a follow on Instagram @tatjanamaiwyss for a daily dose of happy! You can also find her art on Etsy.

Speaking of Etsy, that’s where our initial group of gifts can be found. Etsy offers a variety of unique treasures for a superstar scribe. Here are a few examples…

Leather iPhone “Book” Case

This is a handsome, protective and useful phone case. There are several Etsy artisans offering similar ones—you can pick a favorite—although I’m sold on the vintage book design.


Literary Cookie Cutters

If you like to bake, then these are for you! Fahgettaboud gingerbread men! Your favorite writer wants to bite into Emily Dickinson!

Alternatively, give these to your writer-baker friend and they’ll gift you right back with a set of Shakespeare sugar cookies. (I see two sprinkles making a fine mustache.)


Book Shelf Scarf

Bonus: this scarf goes with any sweater hue!


Book Spine Stair Decals

Genius! Decals! You don’t need to hire a painter!


Sari-Covered Journals

Beautiful keepsake journals in every jewel color of the rainbow.


Vintage “Game of Authors”

I had never seen this before, but serendipity had me stumble over these games of yore. The first is from thee 1920’s and the second is the 1943 “Salem Edition.”


I love games of all kinds. Maybe your friend the children’s writer does, too. After all, we’re just overgrown kids.

MoMA “Writer’s Block” Jumping Game

Based on the perennial waiting-for-our-food-at-the-diner game, this version features colorful pencils to lighten the writer’s blocked mood.


The Storymatic Card Game

Invented by a writing professor, this card game offers character traits, situations and motivations even your most daringly creative friend never thought of shoving into one story.


Once Upon a Time Game

Pick some cards and then steer the story your way!


Modcloth is one of my favorite places to shop for quirky clothes. They are equally offbeat with their accessories!

Colored Pencil Wallet

It looks like it carries pencils, but it carries stuff to buy pencils.

What the @’&#*? Earring Set

How I needed these when writing THE UPPER CASE! (Not because I was cursing while creating it, but because these characters make cameos!)


OK, so maybe your writer friend wants to do some actual writing!

Vivid Gel Pen Set

Bright and smooth for fanciful journaling.


Delde Sliding, Standing Pen Pouch

I stole this idea from Heidi Stemple! This case is amazing…you unzip, pull down on the side handles, and all your writing implements are there for the grabbing! Indispensable for book signings!


ReMarkable Tablet

Writes like paper, saves like a computer!


Scapple Mind-Mapping Software

Watch the demo of this simple, straightforward method of connecting ideas visually. Scapple is helpful writer’s tool from the folks at Literature & Latte who brought you Scrivener.


While your writerly pal is doing their thing, they could use a thing to ensure their comfort. (If they’re cozy, they will keep that B.I.C.!)

Happy Heat Foot Warmer

Happy heat for happy feet!


Ember Heated Smart Mug

Hot tea! Hot coffee! Hot cocoa! YES, PLEASE!


Secret Garden Sherpa Fleece Blanket

Other blankets available; I just loved the birdie!


Out of Print Sweatshirt

I know some fashionistas say that adults should not wear cartoon merch. You know what I say to that? See this gift.


Panda Fleece-Lined Slipper Socks

Cute AND cozy—the perfect combination!


Your writer, while feeling cozy, will also get hungry. To stop hangry from spilling onto the page, consider these snacks.

Ma-Ka-Rohn Macarons

I ordered these for my daughter’s birthday and I can say MMMMRFFFFUMMFF!

(That’s “yummy” while my mouth is full.)


Amma’s Kitchen Kerala Mixture

Based on popular street food from India, this is a bag of spice and crunch. I usually opt for the mild, but the hot variety isn’t too hot!


BookBrews Subscription Box

Each month they ship a book, coffee/tea and chocolate. The gift that keeps you eating and reading!


As I often tell students, to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader.

Women of Letters Scratch-Off Chart

As you read, scratch off the title to reveal the woman behind it all!


Heroine Book Shelf

Here’s how it works…you nail it into your wall and place your books atop! Voila!

“Here I come to save the page!”


Literary Insults Chart

Have a clever burn within reach.


Once your writer has a book published, they need a way to display it!


I first discovered these hand-made, sturdy stands at my local indie, The Bookworm in Bernardsville, NJ. I ordered a set of 6 for myself and they are the hit of every book festival! They hold about 5-6 picture books, titled upward for optimal viewing as crowds stroll by. There’s even a space on the front of the stand to place a small sign.

The wooden dowels are removable, which makes packing them up and transporting them easy. They have different sizes for various kinds of books. Best career purchase I ever made!


One last gift, this one for writers to give the non-writers in their life.

StoryWorth Subscription

With StoryWorth, you encourage family and close friends to share stories you haven’t heard before, then they’re collected and bound into a book. That’s a monumental memento! I wish this was around when my grandparents were still here!


I hope you enjoyed these gift suggestions!

Share the love and share your own picks in the comments!

Happy Holidays!

I had a little visit with Santa and whispered all of these goodies in his ear! I hope you find just what you want under the tree this year.

The Book Seat

Besides a book, this is the perfect writer’s companion. It’s a sturdy pillow with a ledge to cradle your most precious possessions.

Get it:

Once Upon a Time Card Game

Fancy a fractured fairy tale? Well, this one will definitely crack you up.

Get it:

Wacky Wavy Mini Tube Guy

I dunno ’bout you, but I like silly things on my writing desk to entertain me. Enter this panic at the disco.

Get it:

Margaret Atwood Masterclass

What can I say other than WOW!?

Get it:

The Writer’s Toolbox

Doing Storystorm this year? This will keep your creativity turned up to 11!

Get it:

Hemingway Typewriter Pencil Cup

A few years back, I shared this typewriter coaster set. Here’s a matching desk accessory!

Get it:

Typewriter Wrapping Paper

Speaking of typewriters…you may want to use this as wallpaper.

Get it:

Scrabble Tile Magnets

The game you know and love, now in fridge format.

Get it:

The Pilot’s Pen (Night Writer)

In the 80’s there was Knight Rider. Now in the teens, we get an upgrade to Night Writer.

These LED pens light up so you can write in the dark. (Remember to keep a notepad on your nightstand for those sleepy, brilliant ideas!)

Get it:

Chapter One, The End Earrings

Little Gem Girl creates these earrings. You just have to fill in the middle.

Get it:

Mark My Words Bookmarks

These comic/graphic novel-style bookmarks will be sure to get the word out that you love reading.

Get it:

Tea Drops Sampler

Tea is my creative fuel…and this appears to be a genius new way of taking your tea to crit group.

Get it:

Ideal Bookshelf Art

Artist Jane Mount creates ideal bookshelf art from Shakespeare to contemporary favorites. See the entire collection…and read it, too!

Get it:

The Writer’s Idea Thesaurus

While not necessarily for kidlit, this looks to be a creative kick in the keister.

Get it:

Children’s Book Week Posters

There’s an entire store filled with posters from every Children’s Book Week dating back to 1921!

Get it:

Rest My Sole Foot Rest Cushion

If you’ve got your BUTT IN CHAIR, you need to get your FEET ON REST. (Sorry, socks not included. But see below.)

Get it:

Banned Books Socks

Keep those tootsies warm and cozy!

Get it:

Literary Temporary Tattoos

To tat or not to tat, that is the question. Don’t make a permanent decision.

Get it:

Tara Lazar Books

Yeah, shameless plug.

Get it:

You can also view my previous holiday gift guides for writers:

Happy Holidays, writing friends!

Please share you writerly gift picks in the comments!

Yeah, I may receive a “cease and desist” letter from the Peanuts people any minute for using that image as my header, so let me get right to my first “write” gift…the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.

What kidlit writer doesn’t love Schultz’s merry misfit, his pilot puppy, and a girl named after candy?

You get the sensation, right?

Oh geez, those York folks may be after me now, too.

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree With Blanket Tree Skirt

Available from Vermont Country Store. (And you may be reminded of Christmases past when I say “some items sold separately” and “some assembly required”.)

Now, time for booties.

No, not baby booties. Book booties…


Available from Groove Bags.


I’m not the most organized writer, but this looks like it can help. It features an area for notes plus numbered pockets for keeping mind memos and snippets—maybe to represent each chapter?

Industrial-Inspired 12-pocket Wall Memo Board

Available from Overstock.


You’ve probably heard the writing advice “B.I.C.”: BUTT IN CHAIR. But your butt may hurt after sitting a while. This funky stool by ErgoErgo “encourages you to make small movements that help circulation, breathing, and keeping your mind more alert. And unlike a stability ball, ErgoErgo looks cool and won’t roll away.”

Adult Active Sitting Stool

Available from The Grommet.


A good game during the holidays brings family together…so you can show off your word superiority and crush them all in a pile of defeat!

Anagram, The Ingenious Game of Juggling Words


Available from The Literary Gift Company.


I know, we writers have high shelf esteem.

Available from LookHuman.


Perhaps the writer you know is seeking a little R&R (wRiting and Relaxation). What better place to get away than the Highlights Foundation? Your own private cabin, three scrumptious meals a day, hikes through the countryside, a poetry garden…it is a marvelous retreat. When Highlights isn’t hosting a workshop, anyone can visit and create their own private UNworkshop. Genius idea for genius ideas to flourish.

Highlights Unworkshop

Available from Highlights Foundation.


Now, lemme ask some writer friends what they recommend.

How’s about Katey Howes, author of the upcoming BE A MAKER?

“For the writer with published books to promote, these tabletop chalkboard signs are a godsend. They pack up easily for travel to book festivals, conferences, and anywhere else you find authors and illustrators tucked behind tables of books and swag. Add a pack of brightly colored chalk markers and even the most introverted writers can get shoppers’ attention and communicate prices and details—without having to make eye contact or speak above a whisper. Not published yet? Use these chalkboards to post a motivational message on your desk or a Do Not Disturb: Writer At Work sign for your children to completely ignore.”

Mini Chalkboards

Available from Factory Direct Craft.

“Also essential for the writer on the go—this folding dolly can haul boxes of books to school visits, fairs and festivals. The removable bag is great for storing the posters, promo items, snacks and cardigan sweaters essential for author events.”

The Trolley Dolly

Available from dbest products.


‘Scuzi, Tara here again…Katey’s suggestions reminded me about these sturdy and portable book display stands. displays are invaluable at book festivals and events. Your book gets displayed face-out and tilted slightly upward for passers-by to notice, plus there’s space on the front of the wood base to put a little sign. You can stack a few books on the stand so if one person picks up a book to read, there’s still another book on display. The dowels are removable so everything can be packed away flat and neat. These wood stands are far better than flimsy plastic photo holders (that keep falling over). My local indie uses them throughout their store, too. They come in various sizes and configurations for books big and small.

The Bookstand

Available from


Next up, Laurie Wallmark, who will release HEDY LAMARR’S DOUBLE LIFE in February

A woman of few words (well, she is a picture book author), Laurie simply told me her husband received a several-month iPenBox subscription and loved it.

Good enough for me.

From the website: iPenBox is a curated subscription box for the pen, paper and ink enthusiast, delivering a monthly box of products to your door. Each month this mystery box will be filled with new, innovative, and sometimes unusual items from the pen, paper and ink world. We hand pick 4-10 items around a fun monthly theme! This way you’ll be able to discover and sample new items that you might not have heard of or tried before.

iPenBox Monthly Subscription Box

Available from iPen Store.


If you have any vegetarian writing friends, please shield their eyes. (Look away, Josh Funk, LOOK AWAY!) Paul Czajak, author of MONSTER NEEDS A CHRISTMAS TREE, is a real weisenheimer. And a hungry one, too. He sent me this gift suggestion with a short testimonial: “Because cooking with duck fat makes everything taste better. And yes, I mean everything.”

OK, so maybe your writer friend is looking a little under-nourished. Paul’s got your solution.

Antibiotic-Free Duck Fat

Available from Good Vittles LLC.


Then Jarrett Lerner, author of ENGINERDS, chimed in and said he would like ANYTHING from Montague Workshop. From duck fat to the whole kit and caboodle. Only here, folks.

“Brad and Kristi Montague are the brilliant individuals behind Kid President, and since then, they haven’t stopped creating more brilliant things. Whether it’s T-shirts, prints, cards, pins, stickers, or stationery, everything they make is warm, joyful, and inspirational. Their stuff is like the material equivalent of a good hug and an encouraging pat on the back. It makes me happy, and I just love it so much.”

I love it too, Jarrett. So I picked out this little goody…

Don’t Hide Your Magic Enamel Pin

Available from Montague Workshop.


We all need to be reminded of that, don’t ya think?

What would be a great gift for a writer? (OK, I mean, what do YOU want for the holidays?) Please share your selection below in the comments!




Once again it’s time for Santa to load up his sleigh—and good little writers everywhere will be hoping to discover inspiration in their stockings. These are the lovely trinkets, thingamabobs and tasty tidbits I’ve found that may tickle the fancy of that children’s writer you know (wink, wink, that’s you). I’ve also asked kidlit friends to suggest gifts. Plus, please feel free to leave a comment with your own holiday picks. Also remember there are many more selections on my Things Writers Like Pinterest board.

Of course, I wish publishing contracts for you all!

You get a book, YOU get a book, YOU ALL GET A BOOK!!!


selected by Tara


Available via ThinkGeek

Every writer needs a good cuppa while they’re compiling their next masterpiece. A morning chai allows me to think through what I want to accomplish for the day. Taking time to stop and ponder before committing pen to paper is always a good idea. I confess to playing a daily game or puzzle in the AM to get the gears moving. So I find this playful mug serves a dual purpose—delivering a dose of caffeine while also jump-starting the creative cogwheels.


selected by Tara

Available via LTD Commodities

I admit it, I’m a sucker for anything TYPEWRITER. Not wanting to leave a mug ring on the pristine, polished surface of my new desk, or on a new manuscript, this coaster set seemed like a perfect solution.

Available via Wild Orchid

I’ll take a pair of these bookends, too. Yes, I am running the risk of overdosing on Underwoods.


selected by the indecisive Deborah Underwood, author

swell veganenglishtoffee


Available via Teavana, Chocolate Inspirations, and Goulet Pens

Speaking of Underwoods, Deborah is one kidlit author you could never overdose on.

Deborah says, “I have many loves, so this was a tough decision. Should I recommend the beautiful S’well bottle that keeps my coffee hot? Or the vegan English toffee from Chocolate Inspirations (arguably the best candy in the world)? Heaven knows writers need both coffee and chocolate to fuel our work and drown our rejection sorrows.

But no—Tara said only one item. (Ha! See what I did there?) So, because writing comes first, my pick is the Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen, medium nib, in black. It’s reasonably priced, it has a pleasing weight in the hand, and it makes me feel like I’ve stepped back in time to a slower-paced, more civil world. Go forth and create, elegantly!”


selected by Tara


Available via hayneedle

When you need some R&R–rest and reading–the Fatboy provides a comfortable respite. This is not Greg Brady’s beanbag chair. Made in a variety of sizes, colors and nearly indestructible, washable materials, the Fatboy will shape up to be your favorite reading nook.


selected by Tara


Available via livescribe

This blog began when I decided to post my NJ-SCBWI notes online. I still take copious notes at every conference and writing event, and the Echo Smartpen is on my please-please-oh-please list because it records what you hear…and what you write…in-sync. So that doodle doohickey you cannot recognize? You will hear WHEN you scribbled it and it will make sense again. You could also talk to yourself while writing, as if you needed another reason for people to think you’re odd.


selected by Marcie Colleen, author & educational consultant


Available via Icey Designs 

Marcie says, “It never fails, as soon as I proclaim to the heavens, *I do not need another journal,* along comes an Etsy shop like Icey Designs and I am hornswaggled. This shop is chockfull of amazing writerly gifts, including inspirational pocket journals and notepads reminding those who need it “To Thine Own Self Be True” and “Breathe.” While you are there, you have to check out the craft-inspired pencils–my favorite is the “Let the Madness Flow” pencil. I know I can relate to that! There are also adorable enamel pins. What Harry Potter fan wouldn’t want to wear “Mischief Managed” on their lapel? Bottomline, I can’t pick just one item from this fabulous store from designer and author, Hafsah Faizal. You can bet that when the business of writing gets me down I’m heading to Icey Designs for a little retail therapy and a reminder to “Live Wondrously” as their motto says.”


Tara says, woozy with whimsy, “The enamel pins!!!”


selected by Tara

Available via IKEA

I know I am partial to kitsch, so here’s something for the more pragmatic writer—a (an???) USB LED lamp. With the darker afternoons of winter, I need the extra light, especially when I am Skyping with a classroom. They can now see me and my jammies du jour. This smart and inexpensive little lamp stays in position and lights up the keyboard as well as your own fingertips do.


selected by Tara


Available via GadgetFlow

See, I’m right back to kitsch. I adore this adorable lamp. Even the cord is a design feature–wind it any which way for an extra curlicue of quirk.


selected by Erin Murphy, literary agent

magicwords theheroisyou
Available wherever fine books are sold

Erin says, “My gift suggestion is (huge surprise) books! Every writer needs more books, and a gift certificate to a local indie is even better, so the writer can choose the books him or herself. But if you really want something with some heft for them to unwrap, you can’t go wrong with inspiration in the form of two outstanding books about craft and the writing life from two of the best editors in the children’s book business: Cheryl Klein’s THE MAGIC WORDS: WRITING GREAT BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS and Kendra Levin’s THE HERO IS YOU: SHARPEN YOUR FOCUS, CONQUER YOUR DEMONS, AND BECOME THE WRITER YOU WERE MEANT TO BE.”


selected by Tara


Available via Heart Stone Paper

At this spring’s NE-SCBWI conference, keynote speaker and NY Times bestselling author Wendy Mass confessed she likes to write in the bath. Knowing that could prove disastrous (and soggy) for a normal notebook, she told us she uses water-resistant, tear-resistant paper made from ROCKS. And then she gave everyone in attendance a rock paper journal. I was especially pleased because armed with my new notebook, I can now play Rock-Paper-Scissors FTW!


selected by Tara


Available via Uncommon Goods

If you’re an avid writer, chances are you are a voracious reader. Your nose is always in a good book. Continue to take care of that nose with this set of ten scented tea lights inspired by classic novels.




selected by Heidi Stemple & Jane Yolen, authors

sisterfoxfieldguide alicescarf


Available via Heidi StempleStoriarts and Serious Puzzles

Heidi says, “SISTER FOX’S GUIDE TO THE WRITING LIFE by Jane Yolen is a collection of poems about writing. Some funny, some poignant, all a call to get your BIC (butt in chair) and get writing. It’s not easy to get (as it is published in the UK) but, I have a supply to sell from our office ($20 includes shipping and autograph—be sure to include a name; this offer is limited). Also, book scarves (or, honestly, anything by Storiarts) made with the text of some of your favorite books, are soft, well made, and wearable. But, more importantly, they are real conversation starters. I have 3 (plus the writing gloves). I am partial to, of course, Alice in Wonderland. Don’t just buy this scarf, though…search through their site. You will NOT be sorry.

Jane says, “When we’re both working, and one of us want a break, we’ll find the other and ask ‘Banangrams?’ We play almost every day.”

(Bonus: Tara found a jumbo outdoor edition of the popular game.)



selected by Tara


Available via Amazon

When I return home from an SCBWI conference, I love poring over the creative postcards and business cards of writers and illustrators. There are ones I want to keep in view because I love the artist’s style or I want to swap a manuscript with another author. This clever desk accessory is very practical…and comes in a variety of animal styles and colors. This one makes me want to write an albino hedgehog book.


selected by Tara

Available via The Library Store

I always follow this advice. I bet you do, too.


selected by Tara
Available via The Literary Gift Company

What a wangdoodle of a good idea. I bet a writing friend would love to receive this entire box…or even one sincere missive via post. Texting is so last week. Dahl is FOREVER.


selected by Tara
Available via GraphicsMore

Ah, if only we could give our favorite writer the gift of time.

Until that time, let’s continue to give them space. (Otherwise known as “the space-time continuum”?)


selected by Tara


Available via Celtic Whiskey Shop

Alas, if your favorite writer received another rejection, missed that deadline, or went out of print, this would be the perfect gift. Just remember—drink responsibly, folks.




Happy Holidays!

For more writerly nonsense and giftsense, check out my Things Writers Like Pinterest board!

For the past couple years I’ve picked out a plethora of fun holiday gift ideas for your favorite writer and bibliophile (in other words, for YOU). This year I’ve asked some kidlit elves to assist with the merry-making. Let the wish list commence! (Thanks to author-cartoonist Steve Barr for the graphic!)



THE STORYTELLING ANIMAL by Jonathan Gottschall
picked by Mark Ury, CEO and Cofounder of Storybird


Mark: “Why do we feel the need to create stories? Possibly because we—and everything around us—are made of stories, something Gottschall points out in this slim but evocative book. Storytelling is the fabric of the mind and, as writers, it’s refreshing to remember that telling tales keeps us whole—and stops us from unraveling.”

Purchase Link via Indiebound


BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert
picked by author-illustrator Arree Chung


Arree: “If you’re like me, you have a love-hate relationship with your creativity. You love words, art, stories and design. You are curious and have creative ideas that you want to bring to life. It’s exciting. But you also hate your creativity at times. You feel stuck, dread having to start over or may not be happy with your level of success. At these times, your curiosity can feel more like a curse than a blessing.

“Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic” is a refreshing perspective on how to think about and cultivate creativity. She discusses the idea that ideas are entities—needing a partner to work with to be borne. Elizabeth addresses the challenges of living a creative life and offers insightful approaches to get the most of your creativity.”

Purchase Link via Indiebound


picked by Tara


Tara: “Doodling is the perfect exercise for getting the creative mojo flowing, even if you can’t draw well. There’s something about the freedom of the doodle—the “no rules here” attitude—that lets your mind explore absurd and absorbing possibilities.”

Purchase link via The Literary Gift Company


picked by author-illustrator Elizabeth Rose Stanton



Elizabeth: “I was first introduced to The Dodo Case by my talented author/illustrator pal and critique group (The Whatsits) buddy, Ben Clanton. I thought Ben had a little book in his hand, but it was his iPhone! Up until I saw these, I never bothered with a case. I fell in love with them. They turn your iPhone into a little book! What could be better? Now when we have our crit group meetings, Ben and I have to be careful not to mix up our phones! The cases are handmade in San Francisco.”

Purchase link via


picked by author-illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton


Vanessa: “Hello PiBo Peeps, it’s holiday time again and you’re running around like the holiday turkey with it’s head cut off trying to find the perfect gift for the illustrator/artist person in your life! Well with all the wonderful things out to get them like super-duper expensive watercolor paper, or the awesome Cintque that will set you back about 2k or more, why not get them something that they will love and use and that will keep you out of the poor house. Like this awesome TruGlide Microfiber Tip 2-in-1 combo for the new iPad, iPad Mini and iPhone. This thing is awesome!!! I love it. Has really nice control and precision. Easy to carry and at a smart price too. Under $35! How about that? They will love you for it! Available at Amazon! Run don’t walk—go now!! Oh Merry Christmas everyone!”

Purchase Link via Amazon.


picked by author Elizabeth Bluemle, co-owner of The Flying Pig Bookstore

Elizabeth: “Handmade wooden words (double sided) in a bamboo box. The best procrastination tool around, because it’s creative and the little wooden words are so satisfying to play with.”

Purchase link via Magnetic Poetry

picked by Tara
Tara: “Writing is an art…and this gorgeous set of writing tools reminds us that every word should be beautifully crafted.”

Purchase link via Brass Binnacle

picked by author Josh Funk
Josh: “I’m gonna go with the library card T-shirt, ’cause when you walk into the library wearing it, no librarian will be able to resist you! (Or they might assess you a late fee.)”

Purchase link via Etsy seller Shop Just Wish


picked by author & poet Kelly Fineman
Kelly: “I chose this nifty kit because, like most writers I know, I always dreamed of running my own library when I was a kid. I see this as the perfect gift for anyone with a home library, and for a lot of kids I know who wish they could be a librarian as well.”

Purchase link via The Library Store


picked by agent Marietta Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency
Marietta: “I am a big fan of embossers (and funny enough, one my clients (Dana Alison Levy) sent me one for the holidays this year!!). For the many of us who are constantly lending out books, it’s good to have a stamp that reminds friends and family members where the book need be returned once it’s been read! Besides, it’s so much fun to emboss a page in the book—classy, reliable, and effective! Perfect for every writer (who, inevitably, is also a reader!!!).”

Purchase link via Etsy seller CustomDesignsbyJill


picked by author Shutta Crum

Shutta: “Time is a tricky little devil. Just when you think you’ve got a leisurely afternoon to get some writing done, it snickers at you and runs off. And then you wonder where the heck did time go? The next day is the same, and the one after that. And everything you planned to do ‘some day’ never seems to get done. I like this clock because it’s a constant reminder of how time keeps spiraling away, down some universal drain at the center of one’s life . . . and there will be no future good time to finally write that book you’ve always wanted to write. It has to be NOW. Now is the only time to put one’s butt in the chair and write. Each day, we writers need to wrestle old Devil Time down and make it do our bidding. And it’s not a battle you win once. It’s a battle with that trickster every day, and simply part of the job of being a writer. Looking at this clock is a reminder that writers are also time warriors.”

Purchase link via Cafe Press


picked by Tara

Tara: “This Etsy artist turns books into light you can read by. I love the variety of shapes and would like to have one in my office. But first, I need an actual office.”

Purchase link via Etsy seller BomDesignNL


picked by Tara
Tara: “The black smudges concealing titles of banned books disappear once you fill this mug with the hot cuppa of your choice. An ingenious way to remind you that it’s time to refill!”

Purchase link via Uncommon Goods


picked by Tara
Tara: “Two words every writer is striving toward. Plus, we also like warm feet.”

Purchase link via Stubbs & Wootton


picked by Tara 


Tara: “Speaking of warm feet and not having an office, I often write in my kitchen at the bay window. With the ceramic tile floor and three windows, my feet get really chilled in the winter. I therefore covet this foot covering. Freezing tootsies make for terrible stories.”

Purchase link via Amazon.


picked by Tara

Tara: “Homina, homina, homina.”

Purchase link via Not on the High Street


picked by Tara
Tara: “Now you can write anywhere with any Bluetooth-enabled device. Better than a hoverboard!”

Purchase link via Uncommon Goods


picked by Tara

Tara: “Like mind-mapping software, but not as complicated, Scapple allows writers to make free-form connections between ideas. It’s like scribbling on a piece of paper with arrows darting here and there…except now you won’t run out of room…or lose that haphazard-brilliant outline.”

Purchase link via Literature and Latte


picked by Tara

Tara: “Keep your PiBoIdMo fire aflame all year long!”

Purchase link via Barnes & Noble


picked by Tara


Tara: “Remember, as a writer you’re also an artist. The creative process is never a straight line. This original artwork by Carolyn Fisher reminds us of this…plus it’s just cool to stare at.”

Purchase Link via Society6


There are plenty more gift ideas on my Pinterest board THINGS WRITERS LIKE. So go take a peek!

Thanks to all the gift contributors!

I hope you get just what you wish for this holiday season!

A very happy and merry to you all!

♩♪♫♬ Oh the weather outside is frightful… ♩♪♫♬

…and so is my voice so you really don’t wanna hear me sing!

But what you do want is snazzy stuff for your favorite writer friends, maybe even for yourself. So I’ve combed the Internet for some unique and writerly gadgets, gizmos and gifties you’ll be proud to give or own this holiday season. Grab a cuppa cocoa, shop and share!



1. USB Warming Things (Mug warmer, foot warmer and writing gloves)

If you’re attached to your computer all day, why not take it literally by plugging in and warming up? Keep your coffee hot, your tootsies warm and your fingers flying across the keyboard.


Hot Cookie USB Cup Warmer available from


Sea-son to Snuggle Narwhal Foot Warmers available from


USB Heated Writing Gloves available from


2. Maria Cristina Bellucci Jewelry

Do you want to make a statement? How about “I love to write (and live) in color”?

Maria Cristina Bellucci hand-carves colored pencils into the most unique and fun jewelry pieces you’ve ever seen.




Colored pencil jewelry available from


3. Litographs Shirt

The best book you’ve ever worn. Litographs t-shirts are comprised from the text of your favorite classics. Yes, those are green words!


The Secret Garden tee available from


4. My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop

Before you take out a second mortgage, let me clarify: I’m not suggesting you buy a bookstore, but rather a book. Eighty-four authors tell tales of their favorite independent bookstores–with witty, heartfelt and inspiring words.


My Bookstore, available at your favorite indie.


5. Lumio Folding Booklamp

When bibliophiles open a book, they get turned on. Well, open this book and it turns itself on.




Lumio available from


6. “Writer” Bookends

What better place to display your growing collection of authored titles?


“Writer” bookends available from Etsy seller KnobCreekMetalArts. (Thanks for the suggestion, Julie Segal Walters.)


7. Speech Bubble Bookends

Yes, another pair of bookends. But they’re worth it. You can make them say whatever you please!


Speech bubble bookends available from


8. Library Due Date Card Tie

This is for the guys, if you want to be “checked out”.


Silk-screened library due date card tie available from Etsy seller Cyberoptix.


9. BookBook for MacBook

A sophisticated, leather-bound book cover for your more modern “book”.


BookBook available from (Thanks for the suggestion, Mary Zisk.)


10. Boogie Board Sync

No, we’re not catching waves. We’re catching ideas! Ever lose those scraps of paper onto which you’ve scribbled what MUST be a NY TIMES BESTSELLER idea? Well, fret no more. Capture your thoughts on the Boogie Board and then sync it up to your smartphone or computer.


Boogie Board Sync available from


11. FlipNote by Wellspring

For those who prefer the tried-and-true pad and paper, there’s FlipNotes. Stick it in your purse or pocket and never be without a place to store your thoughts.


FlipNote available from


12. Old Books Scented Candle

Give the gift that keeps on smelling (like a used bookstore)!


Old Books scented candle available from Etsy seller Frostbeard Studio.


Well, this is so much fun I could go on for ages. But alas, I must pause to get back to PiBoIdMo activities.

However, you can keep shopping via my Pinterest board, Things Writers Like. Hundreds more goodies there!


Enjoy and Happy Holidays, writers!

Now I know PiBoIdMo participants are awaiting a final post from me, your fearless leader.

Well, that is still to come, once I am feeling better. Perhaps tomorrow? Monday? It shall come soon, never fear, says Fearless Leader.

In the meantime, I have something to make YOU feel better.

Gifts for writers! And by gifts for writers, I mean gifts that you shall immediately place on your wish list. Why? They’re just THAT awesome.

I’ve put together this list of my 10 personal favorites, but I have a more than 100 other literary lovies to tickle your holiday fancy on my Pinterest board Things Writers Like. So hop on your sleigh and slip over there once you’ve perused this pile. (Geesh, enough with the corny alliteration, Tara.)

Let me know which gift is your favorite, and feel free to add to the list in the comments!


1. Modern Wooden Alphabet Necklace available via SevenSparrowGoods on

Men, don’t leave. I know this first gift is for the ladies. Don’t worry, I have plenty for you. See #2.



2. Famous Author Action Figures available via ebay.

Ka-pow! Bam! Zonk! NEVERMORE!



3. USB Typewriter available via

If you miss the satisfying click-clack of an old-fashioned manual typewriter, here’s the perfect solution for you. It remains modern with a USB link to your preferred device–a PC, Mac or iPad.


4. Notebook Paper bed linens available via

Can’t find a piece of paper in the middle of the night? Write on your pillow. Yep, this duvet set comes with washable markers. You won’t even get mad at the kids for drawing on them.



5. Storymatic Game (Kids Version) available via

Maybe you’ve heard of Rory’s Story Cubes or Haikubes or even The Amazing Story Generator. Well, this is a writing prompt game with over 6 million possibilities.



6. Book Rest Lamp available via

Ah, there’s no place like home. Home for your latest read, that is. The soft glow of the lamp is enough to read by, plus you’ll never lose your page.



7. AquaNotes available via

No more great ideas down the drain! (And while you’re getting clean, may as well use “Wash Away Writer’s Block” soap.)




8. The 3Doodler available via

OK, so maybe you wouldn’t want to write a novel with this, but wouldn’t it be cool to give your fans your characters or signature in 3D?


9. Vintage-style custom bookplates available via oiseaux on

Every writer is a reader, and your books are cherished keepsakes. So treat them that way with gorgeous vintage-style bookplates. This shop offers over 100 other vintage styles.



10. Charlotte’s Web tee available via

A classic gift. Out of Print Clothing offers tees inspired by your literary favorites, from Goodnight Moon to Call of the Wild, from Charlotte’s Web to The Great Gatsby. You can never have too many books or too many book tees.



Happy shopping for that special writer in your life!

And remember to stop by my Pinterest board “Things Writers Like” for even more!


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