There are only 25 sleeps until Christmas. For some that means they make an extra special effort to be nice, not naughty. For others, the Great Christmas Gift Buying Dilemma begins:
Would Aunty Molly like this t-shirt with built in spy camera?
Did I give Grandpa a set of BBQ tools like this last year? Would he prefer a gold plated watering can?
What do you buy for the teen who has everything?
If The Dilemma is driving you crazy, I have a one word suggestion: BOOKS. Or in the case of the teen or a relative from the Planet Zxpl, two words: book vouchers. Tell everyone you are giving only books this year, so those hanging out for a Rolls Royce won't be disappointed. Then check out the offerings from your local book store, shop online, plunder some publisher websites, or trawl the book review sites to find the exact match you want.
Don't forget audio books, e-books, graphic novels, magazine subscriptions (some Alphabet Soup would be great for kids who love to read!), non-fiction, poetry, puzzle books, books with accompanying toys, pop-up books, books about different cultures, books in other languages... and of course book vouchers. Try matching a book with another gift to double the pleasure and meaning - you could match a dinosaur toy with a non-fiction book about dinosaurs, or match a soft sheep toy with Shirl and the Wollomby Show.
Remember the precious add-on gift of your own time. If your primary aged children love action stories about warriors, introduce them to Sandy Fussell's Samurai Kids series, and add a certificate pledging help to create their own Samurai costume, or some of the other fun ideas at the website. How about adding some certificates for reading dates, perhaps at a local picnic place or a quiet cafe, to a gift basket of great books? Reading together truly does double the fun.
Boomerang Books put out a Kids Reading Guide 2010-2011 recently and there are sleigh-loads of interesting books there. They also have lots of lists to guide you.
Remember to plunder publishers' web sites! If I find a book that interests me at one, often I'll Google it to find what the book bloggers think of it, read a couple of reviews to get a better feel for it. I figure publishers are bound to think their books are great, so I do more research just to be sure.
A great place to find reviews about Australian children's and YA books is Kids Book Review.
Jeanne at A Peaceful Day has honed in on wonderful Christmas read-alouds to share with 8-10 year-olds.
If you're looking for Book Chook recommendations, try the widget top left on my blog, where you'll find recent reviews, or type Book Review into the search box on the right. Need a gift for someone overseas? Look at A Ute Picnic, by Lorraine Marwood. Lorraine has just won the Prime Minister's Literary Award for children's fiction, so she's the Australian writer on everyone's lips. If you're an Australian, you may be interested in the current giveaway here at The Book Chook.
Know any bookaholics? I have found the most wonderful gift for them! Clue: A real Tan instead of a fake one. If you guessed Shaun Tan, you're correct. How does a deluxe limited collector's edition of The Arrival sound?
This exclusive edition includes hard cover limited edition copies of both THE ARRIVAL and its new companion title SKETCHES FROM A NAMELESS LAND, along with a FIRST RELEASE SIGNED PRINT of an illustration taken from The Arrival. Each of the 1500 suitcases will be uniquely numbered and individually signed by Shaun Tan.This deluxe clamshell box set opens like a suitcase, revealing a vintage pattern (worn and stained) interior. (more at The Arrival!)
If you can't afford that Tan, how about The Robot Book, a delight I truly hope Santa brings me? Check out the trailer below.
Melissa has some great book gift suggestions at Imagination Soup.
Here are the 40 top picks from Read Kiddo Read.
And MotherReader has the most wonderful list, categorized by age from pre-school to adult, and matching specific books with extra gift suggestions.
Have I convinced you? Buying books as gifts truly is an easy option, and you have the satisfaction of knowing you're giving something that lasts, one that may make a difference to someone's life. In the case of children, you may well be giving them the key to the magical kingdom of reading.
However, if you need more than books as gifts, here are some more festive ideas and gift suggestions I found in a quick spin around the web:
- Two creative word-based games for teens from Dawn at Moms Inspire Learning.
- Christmas Presents for Geeks at Science@Home
- Christmas gift ideas at BeAFunMum
- Make a Gingerbread house at Playing by the Book and check out more Christmas craft ideas at Red Ted Art's blog carnival.
- Not a gift idea, but a wonderful Christmas booklet from Elise at Creativity Abounds. It's full of creative ideas to get kids thinking about others and finding the true Christmas spirit.
- A great home-made gift idea at teach mama - using family photos to make playing cards for Old Maid, Go Fish and Memory. I love finding ideas like this, because there's always something so special about a home-made gift. Add the benefit of a real learning possibility, and you've got something that wins the coveted Book Chook Feather of Approval. And it's free!
Stop Press! LITERACY LAVA 7 IS PUBLISHED!