Local Booksellers Gift Giving Guide

Sidekick Coffee & Books – (1310 1/2 Melrose Avenue, Iowa City) Sidekick Coffee & Books is a community coffee shop and bookstore, a hub for those seeking exceptional coffee, food, books, and conversation. Our full-service coffee bar and thoughtful collection of books for babies to adults offer the best of selections for you and your sidekick. Join us for storytime, book-themed events, or just to enjoy a good book, a cup of joe, and a tasty pastry or scoop of ice cream. We can’t wait to talk books and sip coffee with all of you.

Sidekick recommends:

Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug By Jonathan Stutzman • Jay Fleck

Tiny is determined to conquer the impossible, and he does just that by finding out how to do things his way.  This is an inspirational story about never giving up and being a good friend. I hope we see more adventures from Tiny!  It is a great gift for young readers.


Song for a Whale  by Lynne Kelly

Iris is an inspirational main character who is the only deaf person in her school.  She also happens to be amazing with technology. When she learns about a whale that is unable to sing to other whales she empathizes immediately.  She makes it her quest to make communication for this whale possible. Iris’s character will have you hooked from the very beginning. This is a must read for all middle readers. 


Fish Everywhere by Britta Teckentrup

Do you have a young animal or fish lover in your life?  This beautifully illustrated and well organized non-fiction book is the gift you have been looking for!  It covers all types of fish, from freshwater to the deep blue sea, how they stay alive, what makes a fish a fish, what fish eat, and more!  This book is sure to be a one-of-a-kind gift.  



The Captain’s Book Shoppe – (1570 South First Ave, Suite H, Iowa City) The Captain’s Book Shoppe is an independent book dealer. It markets quality pre-owned, used, and rare books at reasonable prices. Assisting world-wide clients to ethically grow, protect or liquidate their book collections. The Captain sorts, grades and markets new acquisitions during store hours. Clients are welcome to poke around the stacks to find treasure that has not yet made it onto the internet. The store owner, Cap’n Jeff, is the primary book buyer. He enjoys travelling to acquire interesting, rare and affordable books. He has over 30 years’ experience assessing and acquiring fine books. He turned his book passion into a business in 2017. If you have books for him to assess, please contact him.

The Captain’s Book Shoppe recommends:


People need stories to make sense of the world–to hold their lives together, and to fasten on to those values that last. The greatest stories are found in the Bible, enduring through the centuries. In Genesis, acclaimed television journalist Bill Moyers brings together some of the world’s liveliest minds for spirited round-table discussions of the ageless stories from the Bible’s first, towering book.


MAISIE DOBBS by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, began her working life at the age of thirteen as a servant in a Belgravia mansion, only to be discovered reading in the library by her employer, Lady Rowan Compton. Fearing dismissal, Maisie is shocked when she discovers that her thirst for education is to be supported by Lady Rowan and a family friend, Dr. Maurice Blanche. But The Great War intervenes in Maisie’s plans, and soon after commencement of her studies at Girton College, Cambridge, Maisie enlists for nursing service overseas.

Years later, in 1929, having apprenticed to the renowned Maurice Blanche, a man revered for his work with Scotland Yard, Maisie sets up her own business. Her first assignment, a seemingly tedious inquiry involving a case of suspected infidelity, takes her not only on the trail of a killer, but back to the war she had tried so hard to forget.


Epic battles between good and evil, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds, and friendships won and lost all come together in this unforgettable world, which has been enchanting readers of all ages for over sixty years.



Daydreams Comics – (21 S Dubuque St., Iowa City) Established in 1986, Daydreams is THE comic book shop of Iowa City. We present a wide selection of the most recent titles, a wealth of back issues, and an ample collection of graphic novels. We also provide an array of manga, plushes, and more.

Daydreams recommends:

DIE by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans 

A completely entrancing murky adventure of adults being sucked into the role playing game fantasy world they had been lost to 30 years previous. Cleverly constructed and gracefully brought to life by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, this twisted Dungeons & Dragons meets Jumanji  tale will enrapt and devastate.



4 Kids Walk Into a Bank written by Matthew Rosenberg and illustrated by Tyler Boss

One of my personal favorites from the past 5 years. Inventively whimsical, dynamically dark, and effortlessly fun(ny), this tale of childhood friends doing the wrong thing for the right reasons will delight all who stumble upon the caper.



On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

Set in deep space, this is a quiet and beautifully melancholic tale of the multitudes of the human experience, cheek to cheek or gallivanting the galaxy. Blending queer romance and coming of age inter-generational drama, it sweetly compels with its vast imagination and delicate depth. It’s a moving and alluring work of fiction for anyone seeking their place in this great cosmos.

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