Whether it’s a magical fantasy, a thrilling adventure or fascinating history, there’s always a book that will bring a smile to someone’s face on Christmas morning. The team at Scottish Book Trust have recommended some recent favourites for all ages, so if Santa’s looking for some inspiration for what to hide under the tree, you’ll find it here!

Books bring us magic, comfort, and joy – especially over the colder months. Too many children in Scotland do not have books at home. If you’d like to spread the magic of reading this Christmas, help Scottish Book Trust gift books to families across Scotland through food banks and community hubs over the festive season by donating at scottishbooktrust.com.

For wee ones

• Penguin Huddle by Ross Montgomery and Sarah Warburton (Walker Books)

At the end of a long day of fishing, swimming, and ice skating, penguins love to squish and squeeze together all night. But one night it gets so cold that they get stuck together like one giant ice pop! High jinks ensue as the penguins try everything to come unstuck. Bright and vivid artwork combined with a hilarious story makes this the perfect winter book to snuggle up and read together.

• Look, Touch, Learn: Sky by Charlotte Archer (Child’s Play)

Developed in consultation with infant psychologists, this beautiful book was designed specifically with very young babies in mind. With a specially-selected colour palette, tactile elements and moving parts, every feature will stimulate babies’ endless curiosity and creativity. The books in this series (‘Sky’ and ‘Sea’ so far) can stand up by themselves so are perfect for tummy time adventures.

• Little Bear by Richard Jones (Simon & Schuster Children’s)

Little Bear is a lovely story about the friendship between a young boy and a pocket-sized polar bear found in his garden one day. Too soon, the polar bear goes from pocket-sized to full-sized, so he decides to take ‘Little’ Bear home. With rich descriptions, beautifully emotive illustrations and a gentle message, this is a lovely festive book to share with children.

For young readers

• Keep Dancing, Lizzie Chu by Maisie Chan (Piccadilly Press)

An uplifting tale of friendship, family, and never giving up on your dreams. Lizzie lives with her grandad in Glasgow, and both are struggling to adjust to life without Grandma Kam. Both big ballroom dancing fans, Lizzie is determined to take him to a tea dance in Blackpool Tower to cheer him up, on an adventure that involves a makeshift goddess, an unconventional motorcycle gang, some fabulous costumes, and a whole lot of perseverance!

• The Billow Maiden by James Dixon (Guppy Books)

Intertwining the magic of Celtic and Norse mythology with modern-day life, The Billow Maiden is a unique tale set on a remote island. In a dark cave, Ailsa discovers Hefring, a daughter of the waves. With the help of new friend Camilla, the two work together to save Hefring. But events are conspiring against them. Can they save her in time? Magical and hopeful, this story will capture readers’ imaginations and hearts.

• A Beginner's Guide to Ruling the Galaxy by David Solomons (Nosy Crow)

This is a fun, laugh-out-loud family adventure that proves families can come in all shapes and sizes – and that you never know who might become your best friend. The action is non-stop, with a wonderfully diverse set of characters, both good and bad. For anyone who has always wanted to rule the galaxy, this is the book for you!

For teens

• These Are The Words by Nikita Gill (Macmillan Children’s Books)

An empowering, feminist and beautifully illustrated poetry collection that explores the things the poet wishes she’d been told when she was younger. These Are the Words explores love, family, protest, pain and friendship in a book that ignites passion, soothes turmoil and offers a warm voice of wisdom.

• Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson (Quercus Children’s Books)

This seasonal read has everything you want from a Christmassy YA rom-com! Three siblings find themselves back together in their Edinburgh family home for the holidays, but beneath the surface is a story of secrets, love and acceptance. A witty portrayal of a family seen at their worst and best, but who you can't help fall in love with – flaws and all!

• The Infinity Files by SM Wilson

Ash Yang dreamed of being a starfighter pilot. But when she crashes out of her final test – literally – she somehow lands the most powerful job in the universe. As Guardian of the Infinity Files she must secretly planet-hop through the galaxies, stealing or returning treasures that have the power to stop wars... or start them. This is an escapist sci-fi adventure, full of exciting tech and strange worlds.

For adults

• Illuminated by Water: Nature, Memory and the Delights of a Fishing Life by Malachy Tallack (Doubleday)

Shetlandic writer Malachy Tallack explores why fishing can be so thrilling and captivating in this beautifully written non-fiction book. Malachy shares his own fishing adventures in Scotland and England as well as much further afield, as well as exploring wider questions about angling – its cultural significance, moral complexities and the intricacies of fishing technique.

• Scabby Queen by Kirstin Innes (Fourth Estate)

This state-of-the-nation novel uses the death of one-time pop starlet and political activist Clio Campbell to explore themes such as the silencing of women and the celebrity machine. Stretching over five decades, Scabby Queen is a collective portrait of a woman who refuses to compromise, from her childhood on the Isle of Skye to an anarchist squat in Brixton and the beautiful shores of Greece.

• Hear No Evil by Sarah Smith (Two Roads)

Hear No Evil is an evocative literary page-turner based on a true story. In the burgeoning industrial city of Glasgow in 1817, Jean Campbell – a young, Deaf woman – is witnessed throwing a child into the River Clyde. The teacher sent to investigate moves from interpreter to investigator, as he determines to clear her name before it's too late.

Working with Scottish Book Trust, The Herald is asking you, our readers, to donate money to help buy books for children whose families are using food banks this winter. See scottishbooktrust.com to help.