Jr Biblio-file – December 2021
It is officially December and I know many have been in the Christmas swing for a month already. Your house lights and the tree in your front windows are beautiful.
Now comes the (maybe stressful) part of Christmas. The gifts. It is looking like another “interesting” Christmas, with visiting restrictions still in place and shipping and supply of things a bit “unusual”, but have no fear. Books to the rescue! They are readily available, and easy to mail or transport, and make great stocking stuffers. Even better, buy 2 copies, one for them and one for you, and you can read to them over the phone or internet. It is a truly special way to connect with your people far away. They will know you better, and love the book more, and treasure the memory for their whole lives, and I have never met anyone of any age who does not like being read to.
To make choosing book gifts easier here is a suggestion list by age. Any of these can be purchased online and shiped directly to your lucky person. This month the books will not be linked to our library. If the books are in our library already I will make a note of that, so you can come in and preview them. I have also not linked to any purchasing sites, you know them already, and I’m not telling you where to spend your money.
Infant and Preschoolers
That’s not my … : It may be a reindeer or a snowman, a parrot or a teddy bear, but little kids love the excitement of going through all the almost right to find the perfect one. To make them even better there is a touch and feel bit on each page. This is a collection we have a few of in our board book bins and they are always story time favourites.
Sandra Boynton: This is an author with a true genius. Every book is written in rollicking poetry, with crazy stories and adorable art work. Another library favourite.
Robert Munsch: A Canadian treasure and a perennial favourite, every book is a classic. You cannot go wrong. If in doubt come preview ours I think we have them all.
Peppa pig, Paw Patrol, Pete the Cat, Spiderman, just to name a few: Any child will love a book based on their favourite tv character. If they can take Peppa pig in the car, or look at Paw patrol six times at bedtime they will be very happy.
The true classics. : There are some books that stand the test of time, whether because the art is beautiful, the story is universally relatable, or for some other indefinable quality. Every person can enjoy these, and parents will appreciate not having to do Daddy Pig’s snort (you know what I mean) Here are some to try: The Snowy day by Ezra Jack Keats, Corduroy by Don Freeman, Paddington by Michael Bond, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Goodnight moon by Margaret Wise Brown, and Just go to bed by Mercer Mayer
This is my favourite group of books. I have limited myself here because otherwise we would have an enormous list. Maybe one day I’ll do a post of just these. If you want more options, contact the library, I’ll give you a list.
Elementary and Beginning Readers
Early readers need small amounts of text and lots of pictures for context.
Usborne and DK books are excellent for this age group. Their books are sturdy and high quality in their materials. Their stories and vocabulary are perfect for this age group, and their illustrations are bright and cheerful, but not chaotic. They also cover a wide variety of interests and ages. Come look at some examples in our collection.
There are great leveled reader sets like the ones they get in school. including stories with their favourite characters in them. And you can buy them online for a very reasonable price.
If electronics are your thing they will like LeapFrog books. Some sets even come with a “pen” with which to follow along and it will read the story to them. This can help with word recognition, pronunciation, and “just twenty minutes to make dinner!”
Andrea Beaty, Jory John and Pete Oswald, and Mo Willems are some fantastic authors for this age group.
Andrea Beaty writes inspiring stories of kids adventures in STEM fields. They have lyrical wordplay and uniquely beautiful illustrations.
Jory John and Pete Oswald write charming stories about being your best, kindest self. The art work is excellent and the characters are food, what is not to like?
Mo Willems is the creator of Piggy and Gerald, and that inimitable Pigeon. These books never get old. They have simple language, big heart, and even the high-schoolers sneak them from time to time.
Then we have the stories for older elementary, the kids who have reading down, and want adventure, friendship, and a magical world to escape to. For these kids we have Geronimo and Thea Stilton. They claim to be written by a mouse and there are about a million of them. There are adventure aplenty and the varied fonts provide a colourful challenge most kids love.
Narwhal and Jelly by Bill Clanton are the new dream team. It is an undersea friendship full of sweet lessons and gentle adventures.
For kids who want a magical adventure with a bit of history thrown in, (or for kids who say they don’t like history), The Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne. Each title is a funny word play and each adventure takes place in a different time and place. Also, there are about a million of them.
Come on in and check these out we have lots of these.
Elementary age is when kids interests start to divide. There are usually 2 obvious camps, but there are also many niche interests which also make great opportunities for book buying.
One group of kids like relatable fiction with gentle adventures. These books are usually directed at female readers. They are books like the American Girl stories and The Baby-Sitter’s Club. The babysitters club now come in graphic novels which are great for younger readers and kids who love more visual stimulation than a standard novel provides.
The other group of kids like more funny, rough and tumble sort of adventures. Even kids who say they hate reading may like these, especially if they are graphic novel formats. These books are more likely to have a make protagonist. Look for books like Dog man, and Cat kid by Dav Pilkey or Diaries of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.
If the kid you are looking to give a book to is adamant that they hate reading, it’s very likely that they just don’t like fiction. That is far more common than most people think, and it’s not a bad thing. These are the kids that will most likely spend hours with a Ripley’s Believe it or Not book or a Guinness book of World Records. And for these ones look for anything in their interest areas with DK (Dorling Kindersley) as the publisher. You will probably want to read these yourself they are so good.
Middle school, or ages 11-14, is when a lot of kids stop reading for fun. But it doesn’t have to be that way. These kids can be tempted with graphic novels and audio books. They are also growing into their own interests and skills, so non-fiction books are a good option. This is also the age for Harry Potter and Rick Riordan’s mythological adventures.
If you think your kids are full of Harry Potter because they have read all seven books and watched all eight movies, you are in for a whole new world. There are so many books related to this series. The textbooks the Hogwarts students use, and some of their other reading have been made into books for us muggles as well. There are spinoff series and so so many bits and pieces available to make them feel like they are part of that world.
Rick Riordan is a very prodigious author and a former English history professor. He writes for adults as well, but he is best known for his series which take inspiration from ancient world mythology. He has a series for each of Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Norse mythology. Every story is engaging and funny. They all involve teenagers saving the world which is always a popular theme. We have all the original series and a number of the spinoff books for both authors in our library.
Also try the Wings of Fire series by Tui Sutherland, and the Last kids on Earth by Max Brallier.
Another good option for this age group is practical activity books, such as cookbooks and science experiment books, and craft books.
We all know what high-schoolers really want for Christmas. Cash. You could just give them an envelope of money and call it done, or you could hide some in a book, or just give them the book. Just as with most adults, teenagers phones are standard kit, much like shoes or air. But not all time spent on a phone is wasted time. Ebooks and Audiobooks are excellent for teenagers (or adults).
There are many themes that go over well depending on your teenager. There are LGBTQ stories like They both die at the end by Adam Silvera, there are Murder mysteries like One of us is Lying by Karen McManus, there are fantasy stories like Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. All of which we have in our collections.
Non-fiction can also be popular with this crowd. They are looking at the world they will have to go into soon and trying to understand why it is the way it is and how they can add value to it. Try :How to fake a Moon Landing by Darryl Cunningham, Flowers in the Gutter by KR Gaddy, Dr Seuss Goes to War by Richard H Minear, What If by Randall Munroe (I have on good authority this one is fantastic), and anything by Uncle John’s (aka John Scalzi) Bathroom Readers’ Institute.
I hope this helps make your gift giving al little less stressful, and I hope you all have a truly Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.