Monday, November 21, 2011

Ideas for Children's Christmas Gifts

Are you beginning to think of buying for Christmas? Books make great gifts. As Stephen King said, “Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn't carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”

A book paired with a toy is a wonderful idea too. This year, I hope Santa brings me a Llama Llama doll to go with my Llama Llama Red Pajama book.

I've been keeping an eye open for literacy-related gifts. Here are some ideas you might like to buy or create for a child you love:

*a magazine subscription
*a reading nook, or perhaps one complete with special comfy seat and optional furry friends
*a book suitable for writing secrets in
*a bundle or box of fun comics, novels and/or activity books
*a voucher for a special literacy-related activity like a trip to a pantomime, puppet show, art gallery or concert
*a torch/flashlight for secret reading under the covers
*a really special pen with some art materials
*a Mo Willems' Pals Read Poster
*a how-to book for a favourite activity, craft or sport
*Erin, of Small Types, has a wonderful list. She says, "What is the perfect gift for a young child?  I think it's one that includes something wonderful to read, something creative to do, and something to inspire unstructured, imaginative play."
*a digital reader and some e-books
*a Little Librarian kit (via Jen Robinson's Book Page)
*Zoe at Playing by the Book is the Queen of Book-Related Gift Suggestions!
*And here's the motherlode of Ways to Give a Book, from Mother Reader.

I asked some friends for their book recommendations.

Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase

1. My Little Bookcase recommends The Great Expedition- This book is a charming springboard into Australian history for little adventurers.

2. My Little Bookcase recommends The Aunties Three- An unruly and side-splitting story, which children will want to read over and over again.

3. My Little Bookcase recommends My Grandma’s Kitchen- A picture book and cookbook in one (with recipes from an iconic Australian cook), which would make a perfect gift for budding chefs.

Dee White of Kids Book Capers

Kids' Book Capers recommends Silvermay by James Moloney - Beautiful language, gripping action and great characters for readers 10+

Kids' Book Capers recommends Tantony by Ananda Braxton Smith - A hauntingly beautiful book for young adult readers. First in a trilogy.

Kids Book Capers recommends The House of 12 Bunnies by Caroline Stills and Sarcia Stills-Blott and illustrated by Judith Rossell - A fun read with gorgeous illustrations and a storyline that small children will relate to.

Emily of play talk learn

Emily recommends The Wonkey Donkey for children who like rhyming, have a great sense of humour and might need a little bit of extra practice with their /k/ sounds.

She also loves The 2011 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year for Young Children, Can We Lick The Spoon Now? - a beautiful book that sequences the steps needed to make a cake (including some mishaps along the way).

And her third favourite book is You Choose - each page asks a question about your imaginary life and you can choose one of the scores of alternatives to make up your own exciting life.

Tania McCartney of Kids Book Review

KBR recommends Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School by David Mackintosh – a whimsical take on how wonderful it really is to be different.

KBR recommends Nanberry: Black Brother White by Jackie French – an astonishing and moving tale from our white settlement past.

KBR recommends The Heart and the Bottle ebook by Oliver Jeffers – heart wrenching, beautiful and brimming with hope, this stunning ebook is one of the best we’ve seen.

Rebecca Newman, managing editor at Alphabet Soup magazine, recommends:

1. Raven's Mountain by Wendy Orr (Allen and Unwin). A young girl sets out to find help when a mountain-climbing adventure with her sister and stepdad goes wrong. A novel about courage and inner-strength.

2. Mbobo Tree by Glenda Millard & ill. Annie White (Scholastic Press). A picture book for lovers of folktales and myths. When a village is under threat, a girl the village has adopted as their own shows great courage and love.

3. Mr Tripp Smells a Rat by Sandy McKay & ill. Ruth Paul (Walker Books Australia). Perfect for kids reading their first chapter books - funny stories about a teacher and his school class.

Vicki Stanton of Buzz Words Books recommends:

For All Creatures by Glenda Millard, ill. by Rebecca Cool (Walker Books) - a vibrant picture book with lyrical text espousing gratitude for all the wonders of nature.

The Heroes of the Kokoda Track by Nicolas Brasch (black dog books) - junior non-fiction which covers this pivotal moment in Australian history in a way younger readers can readily access.

Northwood by Brian Falkner, ill. by Donovan Bixley (Walker Books) - a wonderfully quirky action/adventure/fantasy with balloon houses, girls who can talk to animals, and hidden kingdoms.

Jackie from Ready Set Read recommends:

Bailey by Harry Bliss- A humorous story of a dog's day at school. Entertaining for kids and parents alike.

Limelight Larry by Leigh Hodgkinson- A book about a peacock, written by a peacock. He thinks it's fantastic and so do we.

Follow the Line to School - Follow a line as it weaves through illustrations of a typical school day in this beautiful interactive picture book.

Angela Hall from Bug in a Book recommends:

Lazy Daisy, Busy Lizzie. (Mary Ellen Jordan & Andrew Weldon Allen & Unwin).  This book is simply fun rhymes about a dysfunctional farm. Instant favourite in our house.

Sounds Spooky. (Christopher Cheng and Sarah Davis, Random House).  This is one of those picture books which is more than meets the eye, and it's a little bit spooky. But in a fun way. Just gorgeous.

Out of Bed Fred! (Lucy Davey and Harriet Bailey Scholastic NZ).  So much fun can be had with a big family.  Brothers can be a handful and they will try to be tricky but there is no doubt that the rivalry is much loved.

If you still haven't found the best match for a special young reader in your life, click on Reviews in the right sidebar here at The Book Chook. Happy browsing!
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