Seven books for the readers on your holiday gift list

Support these local authors with Baltimore and Maryland connections

Published 11/13/2022 9:59 p.m. EST, Updated 11/15/2022 1:14 p.m. EST

Illustration for The Baltimore Banner's gift guide

The indulgent nature of a book cannot be overstated. Sitting down, focusing on a story and letting it take you away. Life often pulls in varying directions, and reading can feel like a sense of meditation. And couldn’t we all use a little more creative meditation in our lives?

Growing up, both of my parents were avid writers and readers. My grandmother boasts several floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with books for all ages. I am guaranteed to get at last two books as gifts every holiday.

Being a reader in Baltimore is a special joy. This is the city that reads and, apparently, writes too. Local writers have had a prolific year. Veteran writer John Waters tried his pen at his very first novel, and Anne Tyler continues to put Baltimore on the map with her fiction.

If you’re looking for a gift for the book lover on your list, consider some of these titles:

Liarmouth by John Waters
(Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


”French Braid” by Anne Tyler — Beloved author Anne Tyler writes a moving novel again. In “French Braid,” she tells the story of a Baltimore family’s history. Tyler’s professional pen guides the readers on this journey. $25

”Liarmouth” by John Waters — Though Waters has been a prolific filmmaker, this is surprisingly his first novel. The “feel-bad romance” follows a woman known for lying until one man asks her to tell the truth. $24

No Justice, No Peace by Devin Allen
(Courtesy photo)


"No Justice, No Peace" by Devin Allen – The second book from local photographer Devin Allen compiles writing on the history of civil right protests alongside Allen’s own photography. The book is great on a coffee table and serves asa political education with writing from scholars like Keeyanga Yamatta Taylor and Charlene Carruthers. $28

"Black Women Will Save the World: An Anthem" by April Ryan – Ryan, a Baltimore native and Morgan State grad, has been known as a deft political commentator and shameless champion of Black women, as noted in her most recent book. This book is part political biography and part personal memoir. Ryan chronicles accomplishments of Black women like Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris and Regina King to show how Black Women Will Save the World. $26

"Shelter: A Black Tale of Homeland, Baltimore" by Lawrence Jackson – Johns Hopkins professor Lawrence Jackson writes a memoir about moving to Baltimore in the immediate aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray. He worries about things all parents worry about — schooling, safety and comfort for his family — and uncovers truths about Maryland history and how it affects him today. $16

Kings of BMore by R. Eric Thomas
(Courtesy photo)

Young Adult

Kings of B’More" by R. Eric Thomas – Baltimore native R. Eric Thomas writes a beautiful tale of friendship with this book. Two friends give themselves the Ferris Beuller treatment and take a tour of the city before one friend moves away. Young adults and youthful adults alike are sure to enjoy. $18

Black Heroes: Black History of Kids" by Arlisha Norwood – Dr. Norwood teaches at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore. The historian and researcher curated a list of 51 Black heroes for this book that’s great for kids and adults. The book begins in ancient Egypt and meets readers in the present day with heroes like President Barack Obama and Venus and Serena Williams. There are nearly enough heroes to focus on one every week with a young person in your life. $14