Hi, everyone! As I’m sure you all have noticed, the holiday season is upon us. I always try to do some sort of bookish holiday gift guide on the blog, and for this year’s, I decided to recommend books to each Hogwarts House that I feel fit the characteristics of that House. I’ve wanted to do a series of book recommendations based on Hogwarts Houses for a while, and what better time than now, when you can add these to your holiday wishlist? (This was partially inspired by Rachel @ Rec-It Rachel’s holiday gift guide this year, which I’ve been loving.)
Today, I’m wrapping up my Hogwarts House Gift Guide series, and I’ve saved our most heroic house for last: Gryffindor. Without further ado, let’s get into all the books I’d recommend to the people who belong to the house “where dwell the brave at heart.”
recommendations for gryffindors
An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms.
Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
Like I’ve mentioned, I tried to include some nonfiction on every house’s recommendation list, and I just couldn’t think of a better one for Gryffindor than Becoming. Michelle Obama is one of the smartest, most courageous women I know of, and after reading this memoir, I respect her even more. She just embodies all of the wonderful things about Gryffindor House, imo.
When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she’s caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie’s time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.
You knew this book was gonna show up eventually, right? I think The Girl with the Red Balloon is perfect for Gryffindor readers. It’s about unlikely heroes being thrown into dangerous situations they didn’t ask to be a part of, and making a deliberate decision to stand up for what is right even amidst the danger. It raises important questions about history, morality, and the way we collectively remember and paint history. It’s just… so excellent.
A story of resilience and loss, love and family, Mark Oshiro's Anger is a Gift testifies to the vulnerability and strength of a community living within a system of oppression.
Six years ago, Moss Jefferies' father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media's vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.
Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.
When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.
Anger Is a Gift is one of the most powerful books I read in 2018. It deals with a group of high school students dealing with systemic oppression within their school and their community, and choosing actively to take a stand against these injustices, even when it’s difficult. It’s hard to read at times, but it’s reflective of reality. This is such an important novel, and I implore you to pick it up!
Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper’s farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president.
Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award and LA Times Book Prize finalist for Swallow Me Whole).
March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis’ personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.
Book One spans John Lewis’ youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.
Many years ago, John Lewis and other student activists drew inspiration from the 1950s comic book "Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story." Now, his own comics bring those days to life for a new audience, testifying to a movement whose echoes will be heard for generations.
— March: Book One (of Three), a 128-page softcover with french flaps, 6.5" x 9.5"
I just HAD to put March on the Gryffindor list. John Lewis is a hero, and his story is made even more impactful through the graphic novel format. If you want to read about a real-life Gryffindor who changed the course of history forever, this one’s for you.
Shouldn't a girl get to star in her own love story?
Seventeen-year-old Megan Harper is about due for her next sweeping romance. It's inevitable—each of her relationships starts with the perfect guy and ends with him falling in love . . . with someone else. But instead of feeling sorry for herself, Megan focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theater, and fulfilling her dream college's acting requirement in the smallest role possible.
So when she’s cast as Juliet (yes, that Juliet) in her high school’s production, it’s a complete nightmare. Megan’s not an actress, and she’s used to being upstaged—both in and out of the theater. In fact, with her mom off in Texas and her dad remarried and on to baby #2 with his new wife, Megan worries that, just like her exes, her family is moving on without her.
Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright inspired by Rosaline from Shakespeare's R+J. A character who, like Megan, knows a thing or two about short-lived relationships. Megan agrees to help Owen with his play in exchange for help catching the eye of a sexy stagehand/potential new boyfriend. Yet Megan finds herself growing closer to Owen, and wonders if he could be the Romeo she never expected.
In their fresh and funny debut, Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka break down the high school drama to find there's always room for familial love, romantic love, and—most importantly—self-love.
For some reason, Meagan Harper, the protagonist of Always Never Yours, immediately came to mind when I thought about Gryffindors in YA. I can’t exactly explain it, but she is headstrong and brash in all the best ways. I’M JUST GOIN’ WITH THE FEELING. (also, I love this underrated contemporary gem!)
In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.
Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.
This was a terrible plan.
Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.
What’s more appealing to Gryffindors than a good adventure story? River of Teeth is one of my favorites. Two words: FERAL. HIPPOS. It’s so much fun.
Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Which books would you recommend to Gryffindors?