I'm everyone's least favorite person to draw for Secret Santa. For years, I told my family to forgo buying anything other than gift certificates for me. I'm just the worst about what I like and what I don't. And nothing is worse than getting something you know the giver tried hard to get right. So, in the spirit of the holiday season, if you have someone like me on your list, here are some ideas.
THING EXPLAINER by Randall Munroe.
I love love love this book. It explains complicated stuff (how does an elevator work, how does a plane fly, how do pens work!) which is always interesting BUT il it explains all this stuff in "simple words" ie the most common thousand words, or really the most common "ten hundred" words.
You can read this book with little kids, or give it to big kids because even though the language is simple, it's not patronizing or talking down to the reader.
It would also be perfect for anyone for whom English is a second (or third!) language and is still on some of the basics.
Also by this author: WHAT IF: serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions which is perfect for your conspiracy minded uncle, or everyone you know in 4th grade.