It is that time of year again and many of you are like me, doing the round of shops and gathering up Christmas presents for all those loved ones. Then you pass a bookshop and you think to yourself ‘Ah ha, books, an easy present filler for the kids.’ You then walk inside, and you stop. What Beast Quest Books have they read? Were there any EJ12’s they haven’t got? What about Zac Powers and Billie B Brown? Would they read something else? And if yes, what? Are they too young for Harry Potter?
Hopefully I am here to rescue you, or at least get your grey matter working by giving you some ideas of the wealth of other books out there? This post will outline why I have chosen the books, if you want to find out more about the book or the series then please click in the book title or image and it will give you more details about the book and some options of where to buy.
I am going to start with the little ones, the ones that still love books because they are read to them. I believe you can never go wrong with any of the Julia Donaldson books, but this, my first pick, is a book given to my son that both my husband and I loved reading to him (and let’s face it all the early books have to be a little about us). Dear Zoo is a great book by Rod Campbell, where he asks the zoo to find him a pet with hilarious results. You open the flaps to find what animal they have sent and why they won’t work as a pet. I do blame this book for my son wanting a dog for years, but even that cannot stop me from smiling every time I read this book.
My second choice is an oldie but a goodie. I get that some parents find Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak a little odd, but there are reasons why it has stood the test of time. The pictures are amazing but it is the fact that the book captures life through the eyes of a child that makes it so popular. Why not team it up with the DVD for a gift package.
My next two books for the read to age group can also be bought for children of any age. One of my aunts surprised us with one of our family favourites, It’s a Book by Lane Smith. A loveable gorilla tries to explain a book to to a techno generation ass creating a hilarious tale. And if you think this is too young for older kids, think again. At book week this year some Year Six children chose this as their favourite book.
The final picture book is a twist on the age old tale of the Three Little Pigs. I picked up The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka in a bargain bin at a book shop and to this day I cannot understand why it was there. From prison the wolf tells how he was set up and how he really is such a good guy. This tale is so well written in a tongue in cheek style, and I challenge you to read it without laughing.
For my next five picks I was going to find one off books that your readers, and maybe some non-readers would love. Then I had a change of heart. Why make it hard on yourself, why not start your family on a series of books that will enable you to buy gifts for the future. So I have gone with the first book of book series, and I have tried for books that might appeal to boys and girls alike.
My first book is The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi, the first book in the Amulet Series. I have chosen this series for three reasons. Firstly, it is an action adventure series with a brother and sister as the main characters. I love their sidekick, who is a crazy rabbit. And finally, it is in graphic novel format, so will appeal to avid readers, and those not so avid readers who like to get through a book quickly. There are six books in the series and so there is plenty to keep you going in the book gift area if they like the first one.
Escape from Wolfhaven Castle, the first book in the Impossible Quest Series by Kate Forsyth is my next pick. My action and adventure loving son loves this series because the dialogue is funny, and although there are male lead characters he can identify with, he also enjoys the female characters. This is a five book series for your children to get totally lost in.
Two brothers and a sister are the leads in my next pick, The Field Guide Book 1 of the Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. After watching the movie my son started on the books, which he says are way better than the movie. The story line is great, and what I really love about these books are they are in hard cover and make beautiful looking gifts as well as being great reads. There are five books in the original series, plus three books in the Beyond The Spiderwick Chronicles Series.
Another series that has DVD’s behind them is the How to Train Your Dragon Series. Like the Spiderwick Chronicles, they are different enough from the movies or TV series to interest even the most avid fan. They are well written, fast paced and very funny and if you get the version with images then they only add to the story. How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell is the first in the series, but once hooked, your child has 11 other books to read. Not only can you follow up with movie and TV dvd’s, but iTunes have great audio versions of the story read by David Tennant which are great fun for the whole family to listen to on a road trip.
My final serial pick is a book I have not even read. I am picking it on the basis that the Percy Jackson Saga, The Heroes of Olympus Series, and the Red Pyramid Series have not only been popular, but are well written, and the characters are ones children identify with. I started reading the Heroes of Olympus series to my son as a bedtime story, but apparently I do not read quickly enough and my son has now lept ahead to book 3 on his own. Funnily though my pick is none of these series, but a recently released book called Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer by Rick Riorden. This book is the first in the new series about demi God children of the Norse gods in general and in particular Thor. This is for older readers (12+), but with the modern characters, great stories and a hero that is the son of Thor. I think this will be a winner!
And to my final pick for this top ten list. Well, it’s not a reading book at all. With google at our finger tips we sometimes forget that children can still actually learn things from books. Everything You Need to Know (an encyclopedia for young minds) from Kingfisher is a resource children can use when they do not have screen or computer time. It has easy to read to read text, great images and a wide reange of topics for enquiring young minds. And my favourite bit? It has web links so those enquiring young minds can learn even more and take their search to the net.
Hope you have enjoyed my top ten. I would be interested to know what you would have left out or included.
Happy Christmas shopping.