Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Something to Read

My sister has five children. Christmas with five children can get crazy real fast, so she uses this little rhyme to guide her gift giving:

Something to wear, something to read, something you want, and something you need

I think it's brilliant in its practicality, and especially love the something to read bit. I love love love children's literature, and am always on a mission to tell people about the best books. There are too many amazing books out there to let our home libraries fill up with riff raff.

As you're thinking about placing something to read under the tree for each of your children this year, I thought it would be fun to suggest a few of my favorite must haves.

Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester. Oh Wodney, we love you so! This little rat with a speech impediment is precious and heroic. And the story is so clever that we read it over and over in each sitting. Blaine could hardly go to sleep the other night as he lay in bed giggling about the cleverness of the book, which we had read that afternoon!

Eloise by Kay Thompson. Is this a classic in your household yet? If not, it needs to be! Six-year-old Eloise, who lives at the Plaza, is without a doubt one of the greatest characters ever written!

Owen by Kevin Henkes. You absolutely cannot go wrong with Kevin Henkes. This story about little Owen's love for his fuzzy blanky is sweet as honey.

A Child's Day by Ida Pearle. This alphabet book is breathtaking. Ida Pearle's collage illustrations will wow you and I especially love that she uses verbs rather than nouns to illustrate the ABCs. Gorgeous and enjoyable for all ages.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. Such a fabulous (Newberry winning!) novel. Lots of adventure and endearing characters.

Rules by Cynthia Lord. This is one of my favorite children's novels. About a sister dealing with her brother's autism, it tackles a tough and important subject, but in a way that is still fairly light and humorous.

Holes by Louis Sachar. Such a fabulous novel! The way Sachar weaves this story together is masterful. Maybe you and your kids have seen the movie, but--as is typical--the book is sooo much better!

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. A great story of a girl who dares to be different and the way she impacts the lives of others. Love love love this book!

The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. A lot of people ask me how to get their uninterested sons to read. It's all about finding a genre or series that they love. Often non-fiction is a good fit, and for fiction, try fantasy or adventure stories like Percy Jackson, the Chronicles of Narnia, or Harry Potter.

This is just a small (SMALL!) list of some of my favorite suggestions. What books are you gifting this year?

****P.S. Don't forget about our Christmas show-n-tell this coming Friday! Please send us pics of your halls all decked for the holidays to aplacetobloomATgmailDOTcom.****


Alicia said...

I ALWAYS think of Anne when I think of Eloise. For younger children, I love all of Sandra Boynton's board books. For older kids (5th or so grade) I love From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. So good!

Jonesy said...

After such success with homemade Christmas gifts last year, my kids all wanted to do it again this year. My oldest (9) decided to make fabric bookmarks as her gift and we went to DI to get everyone a library of books to go with them! You'd be surprised what great books (and in great condition!) you can find at your local DI or Goodwill, and for pennies!!!!

Katrina said...

We always gift our kids books for christmas and birthdays and easter too! Here is my list for them this year:

Olivia, 5th grade-- Julie of the Wolves and the two sequels

Isaac, 4th grade--newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid (GREAT books for reluctant boy readers)

Grace, 2nd grade-- Roald Dahl's Witches

Asher, 2-- Art and Max by David Wiesner, Trucks by Byron Barton

Miriam, 5 months-- Counting Kisses by Karen Katz (she has lots of adorable board books)

Carrie said...

My first grade daughter and I have been reading the Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows (she was a co-author of the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society) and we laugh out loud A LOT. It has taken some searching to find something besides Junie B Jones (who talks incorrectly and has a VERY bad attitude) that my daughter enjoys reading, and this is it!!!!

The MOB said...

Books are one of my favorite gifts to give to children and adults alike. I have found great deals on used (but new condition) books at my local consignment store. I also love the idea of simplifying Christmas with less material gifts.

Laurel said...

My all time favorite picture book is "Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch" by Eileen Spinelli. It's a testament to the power of love and the difference it can make in a person's life. I actually read it at girl's camp and used it as the springboard for my keynote address there one year.

My daughter is asking for the set of the Roald Dahl series she saw at Costco. She is a big Dahl fan.

I am thinking of giving my husband "Making Haste From Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and their World: A New History." I think he would find it fascinating.

But for my 7 year old boy? I'm a little stumped. Suggestions, anyone?

Stephanie said...

Thank you so much for these suggestions. I also follow the want/need/wear/read tradition at Christmas time and I have been pondering what books to select for my two older daughters.

Bloom said...


What's your boy in to? Does he like story books still or should it be more like a chapter book?

Laurel said...

He's kind of right in between. We still do picture books, but he is wanting to do a chapter book on his own. Most seem to be just beyond him a bit, but last night we tried one from the A to Z Mystery series, and he seemed to enjoy it and even took it to school this morning.

Any other ideas I would sure appreciate.

Bloom said...


Some other chapter book series around that same A to Z level:

The Magic Treehouse
Cam Jansen
Horrible Harry
Nate the Great
Junie B. Jones
(I don't mind her incorrect speech because I used it as an opportunity to have my students tell me what she did/said/spelled wrong.)

Hope that helps!

Joan said...

La-uuve Star Girl. Such a darling story.