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10 Books I Hope My Daughter Gets for Christmas

When I was pregnant, I used to daydream about what kind of little girl my daughter would be. Of course, I hoped she would share my strongest passions. I thought of all the things we would be able to share our love of, things we would be able to do together.

And in the case of reading, at least, it seems I have succeeded. She is forever thrusting books into my hands, climbing up into my lap, and waiting for me to read them over and over (and over.) When I am able to sneak away, she reads them to herself, flipping through the pages and narrating out loud, mimicking the up and down of my own voice, using her own baby babble. ("Is she mocking me?" I ask my husband.)

If I'm not careful, the Amazon wish list I've created for her (which is 99 percent books) will soon be as long as my own (eight pages).

Which books am I hoping she'll open up under the tree this year?

1. "Brave As Can Be: A Book of Courage" by Jo Witek, illustrated by Christine Roussey

I already have their gorgeously-rendered In My Heart: A Book of Feelings, which caught my eye during story time at our local indie bookshop. This book about bravery looks just as beautiful, and will hopefully teach Em that her fears can always be overcome. (Though to be fair, at this point she seems fearless.)

RELATED: 10 Picture Books to Empower Girls

2. "This Is Sadie" by Sara O'Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad

This book is about a little girl with a big imagination. I remember loving books about the power of imagination, like The Phantom Tollbooth, Bridge To Terabithia and The Neverending Story. But this is one she'll be able to read sooner.

3. + 4. "You Are a Lion! and Other Fun Yoga Poses" by Tae-Eun Yoo OR "Moody Cow Meditates" by Kerry Lee MacLean

Having discovered the benefits of yoga later in life, I want my daughter to start her own practice as soon as possible. She already has her own baby-sized yoga mat. And when she was younger, I took her to mommy and me postnatal yoga classes every week. I even took her to a yoga-themed story time and she now has the beginnings of a yoga book collection. But I want more (I'm a yoga teacher; I can't help it!) I'm hoping this book of yoga poses and this other book on meditation will teach her mindfulness, focus, and the ability to self-soothe.

5. "Amazing You!: Getting Smart About Your Private Parts" by Gail Saltz, illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath

I am counting down the days until Emily is old enough to read one of Cory Silverberg's amazing children's books about sexuality. But at this age, it's best to start with a simpler book, in this case one about the appropriate names for body parts. As someone who writes about sex on the regular, I feel strongly about the importance of early childhood sexuality education.

My intentions here are simple. I look forward to the day when my daughter understands what it means to use her inside voice.

6. "Quiet Loud" by Leslie Patricelli

My intentions here are simple. I look forward to the day when my daughter understands what it means to use her inside voice.

7. "Wild" by Emily Hughes

This book about a little girl who is raised in the wild, but who eventually comes to live with those leading more civilized lives, looks amazing. I'm hoping it will teach Em to hold fiercely to her unique sense of individuality.

8. "Not All Princesses Dress In Pink" by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illustrated by Anne-Sophie Lanquetin

Is it too soon to start thinking about raising my Em as a tiny feminist? We already read "The Paper Bag Princess," but I think this book about gender stereotyping and, again, individualism, will take us to some next level feminism.

RELATED: 11 Ways to Trick Kids Into Becoming Readers

9. "Rosie Revere, Engineer" by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Robert

I am a work-at-home-mom who never once considered giving up her career for full-time motherhood. I'm not saying it's the only right choice. I mean, it's the equivalent of working two, full-time jobs. But it was the right choice for me, and I'd like to teach Em that her ambition can be just as big, or bigger.

10. "Pool" by Jihyeon Lee

My daughter is slow to dive in when I bring her to music classes and story times or set up play dates. She is more apt to sit on the sidelines, all perfect posture and quiet and watchfulness, before opening up, becoming her usual, at-home, chatty, somewhat lunatic self. In this way, she reminds me of myself, though I don't necessarily want to label her as shy or introverted this early in the game. But I do want her to know that being shy or introverted is okay.

What books would you recommend for my tiny toddler?

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