Forgo a visit to the toy shop this holiday season and head to your local bookstore to stock up on thoughtful gifts: More than toys, books inspire, encourage, and give us an inside view into other worlds. Here are seven books that are sure to inspire the little girl in your life, this holiday season and beyond.

Picture Books:

Monster Book by Alice Hoogstad Lemniscaat

A little girl and her colorful crayons bring a pack of zany monsters to life in a dull city. Give your child the chance to tell you the story of this wordless book, a Harold and the Purple Crayon for creative girls. Ages 2-5

Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal Random House

Do you believe in unicorns? In a twist on the elusive and legendary beasts, Uni is the only unicorn to believe that little girls are real. If your girl still believes in magic – this is the book for her. Ages 3-5

The Snow Girl by Robert Giraud Floris Books 

This classic story of dreams come true centers on a little girl made of snow who comes to life. Beautifully illustrated by Hélène Muller, the lyrical text will sweep you away into the snowy night. Ages 3-6

Chapter Books:

My Heart is Laughing by Rose Lagercrantz Gecko Press

Ever since her best friend moved away, things just haven’t been the same for Dani. This sweet, illustrated chapter book tackles big issues like bullying with grace. Ages 6-10

Dappled Annie and the Tigrish by Mary McCallum  Gecko Press

Follow along as 10-year-old Annie sets off on a magical adventure along the coast of New Zealand, where Annie lives with her family. Bold and bright, this young girls is ready for any challenges that she meets along the way – be they magical, supernatural, or just plain ordinary. Ages 8+

Away She Goes: Riding into Women’s History by Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin Red Chair Press

You’ll never take your bicycle for granted ever again. This charming and important book reminds us of the liberation that women felt when riding bikes for the very first time in the late 1800’s. Ages 9-12

An Illustrated Treasury of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales Floris Books

You’ll find all the classics – The Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, The Princess and the Pea – and many more in this keepsake treasury, beautifully illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova.

Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific  by Mary Cronk Farrel Harry Abrams

The incredible story of the courageous army and navy nurses stationed in the Philippines during World War II is told in this comprehensive and thought-provoking volume. Captured by the enemy, starving and homesick, these real life heroes never stopped caring for their patients. Letters and diary entries bring the story closer to home. Ages 10+