So tonight’s the BIG shopping night for Christmas in Australia. All of a sudden you’ve realised that you don’t have the right present for baby Bob, little Junie or that teenager James. You decide to give books, either because everyone loves books, or you’re a teacher (teachers always give books). But what to get?
Well fear no more. Here is . . .
A Subversive Reader’s Last Minute Guide to Book Presents for Babies and Children
So, it’s a little wordy, but these really are books worth getting wordy over!
Board books – great from birth through to toddlers
That’s Not My . . . Series
These are thick, hardy board books which encourage children to actually reach out and touch them. They follow a particular pattern – ‘That’s not my _____ Its ____ are too ______” This repeating pattern is a great way for talking about adjectives, and it’s a lot of fun figuring out which adjective they’ll use for yet another piece of fur 🙂 There’s also some lovely Christmas versions in this series.
Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French
There are a lot of books being made into board books these days. Not all are successful – there’s space issues in board books, of course. This one is just the right size to balance in your hands and enjoy with your baby, leaves just the right amount of room around the illustrations and keeps the story beautifully intact.
Picture Books – from birth through to adults 🙂
Good Night, Sleep Tight by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek
You’ve probably seen a lot of glowing reviews about this book around. I wrote my own yesterday. There’s a very good reason for all the good reviews. This is a gorgeous book, it’s an important book, and anyone who thinks it is too young for them should spend some time really looking at the illustrations. Go Get It!
Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems
You don’t always see this one in Australian book stores, though check out your local independent – I saw this one at Riverend Bookstore last week. This is a gorgeous book, with two lovely sequels. Little kids will appreciate the story, and the fear of a lost toy. Adults will appreciate the little details and humour (poor Trixie’s dad) in the book.
Older Picture Books – from around 7 or 8 years, through to adults
The Red Tree by Shaun Tan
I’d like to add The Arrival to this as well. Shaun Tan’s books are amazing – there is so, so much you can get out of them. I’ve read the Red Tree with seven and eight year olds and they get such a different experience with it from older kids and adults. It’s also a great book because every time you read it, there’s something new to look at and understand and find in it.
Belonging by Jeannie Baker
One of my favourite wordless picture books. This uses collage to create stories about how an inner city backyard and the streets around it can change, and again different people get different things out of it. There is so much detail in this that there’s lots of hours of fun.
Junior Chapter Books – For reading aloud from age 4, for self reading from around 6 or 7
Ramona books by Beverly Cleary
You really can’t go wrong with Ramona. She’s such an endearing character who wants to do well most of the time. It’s just that things don’t always go the way she’d planned and people don’t always seem to understand her. There’s a whole lot of books in this series, so it can be a present that just keeps on giving.
Other suggestions: Battle Boy by Charlie Carter, Beast Quest, Secret Seven by Enid Blyton
Older Chapter Books – Around 8-10 years and older
The Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan
This wonderful series of books is about Will who becomes apprenticed to the mysterious world of the Rangers. Set in a medieval like fantasy world, the series takes us through a series of lands. Now accompanied with another series – Brotherband.
Cathy Cassidy Books
I really, really love these books, though most of them probably a better from around 10 and up. There’s a whole bunch of books, but I particularly love Scarlett and Dizzy.
Other suggestions: Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte’s Web