As a librarian books are important to me and so I naturally think of them as ‘treasure’ and am always happy to receive them as gifts. Many of you might be thinking that in today’s fast paced world – books are not an exciting present option but I would advise that you never underestimate a book! Books can still be found on the shelf long after the batteries have died in the latest gadget that only really worked for a few days or the allure of the scooter has waned.
Studies have shown that reading can improve our health and well being as well as teaching empathy. Evidence also shows that reading for pleasure has positive social, personal and intellectual outcomes. It is never too late to foster a love of reading with your family – it doesn’t matter if you’re a massive reader or even a not so confident reader, if you have books and show that you value reading, then your children will benefit. Sharing stories is one of the best (and most rewarding) ways to get kids reading, try and read together every day, it is okay if you do all the reading, even if they can read themselves as it is giving them quality time to switch off from expectations and really enjoy their story.
Normally I like to tell you all about the books I love the most but for this post I thought it would be good to showcase books that are not only great but also likely to make good presents. Of course you might not like any of my choices and if you are still stuck for ideas, why not try getting a copy of a book you remember from childhood? Chances are if you remember it then your children/grandchildren/nephews/nieces/lucky recipients will enjoy as well. I remember Meg’s Egg’s by Jan Pienkowski from my childhood, still as appealing today as it ever was…
Books with projects that you can do with your children make fantastic presents and are a promise of quality time together.
How To Be A Scientist – Steve Mould is a whirling dervish of science enthusiasm and his books really reflect this. Fun, impressive, not too complicated science experiments that you can do at home.
Home Lab – Robert Winston. We keep this book in the kitchen with the recipe books at home, you never know when the need to make slime might be upon your child or whether a simple chocolate cake will suffice (there are several edible inclusions!)
How To Be An Engineer – Carol Vorderman. DK says:
“Learn as you do in this hands-on engineering book for kids with Carol Vorderman.
Being an engineer isn’t just about wearing a hard hat and looking important while holding a clipboard! It’s about looking at the world and trying to figure out how it works. As well as simple engineering projects for kids to try, DK’s How to be an Engineer will teach them how to think like an engineer, including materials, building, machines, getting around, and energy. You can find out how engineers use STEAM subjects and their imaginations to fix problems, and take inspiration from engineering heroes such as Leonardo da Vinci, Mae Jemison, and Elon Musk.”
Outdoor Maker Lab – Robert Winston. I have to confess that this may well be one I will be gifting this year…
“This fun, fact-filled book is brimming with exciting outdoor experiments to help budding boffins explore the science in their surroundings. Using household items, construct a water rocket and blast it skywards to learn about air pressure, or blow giant, long-lasting bubbles to reveal how surface tension works. Make a wormery and observe worms tunnelling, then build a diamond kite and discover the key to aerodynamics.”
There is always room on the shelf/floor/sideboard/coffee table/ desk/beanbag/other for a festive read and this year we have the wonderful Snowball by the much loved Sue Hendra and The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo which literally exudes ‘buy me’ vibes with its loveliness! I’ve also included Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr because as far as I am concerned, Christmas would not be Christmas without this book.
Children’s publishing in 2017/18 really has been celebrating women and highlighting their stories and achievements. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls and Women in Science would make great gifts as would Stories for Boys Who Dare To Be Different. The Little People Big Dreams series of books have something for everyone and are sure to make an impact.
I do try not to mention Harry Potter in every post I write but I fear it would be remiss of me not to mention the illustrated editions – any one of which would make a more that generous gift and be sure to stand the test of time. No matter the age of the recipient these books will be well received… The Tales of Beedle The Bard would be a great introduction to the Potterverse if you are not quite ready for the commitment of starting the series!
I couldn’t not mention a few books that in my opinion everyone should read/own/keep/share/gift/other…
First up is Alex Bell’s The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club, hands down the best book I have read this year. I read it with my son and could not wait to find out what happened. We read this book fast – bedtimes were extended by another page then another chapter then one more minute etc! A good old adventure story that is funny, atmospheric and leaves you wanting more.
“It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer – tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk – but Stella really, really didn’t want that to happen, just the same.
Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .
When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?”
Next up is The Speed of Starlight How Physics, Light and Sound Work by Colin Stuart illustrated by Ximo Abadía. I am a great fan of introducing science to younger readers in an accessible fashion and this book I think really will engage young (and old), the illustrations are out of this world!
“Designed to present physics in a totally new light, this science book explores the topics of physics, light and sound alongside incredible artwork from surrealist artist Ximo Abadía. Visualise sonar sound, discover the speed of light and understand basic quantum physics with easy to understand, engaging text by acclaimed science writer Colin Stuart.”
I couldn’t not give an honorable mention to The Atlas of Heroes – hopefully you have all read my previous posts in which I am sure I have waxed lyrical about The Atlas of Monsters… Well we now have the The Atlas of Heroes by Sandra Lawrence illustrated by Stuart Hill and it is just as much fun and interactive as Monsters. I guarantee that if you leave either one of these books lying about someone will pick them up, your children, your friends, YOU, possibly even your parrot. They really look the part for a present as well; sometimes we do judge a book by its cover!
This has turned into a rather long and rambling post, I hope you will forgive me, I will leave you with a few more images of recommendations, books to inspire and kick start imaginations. Let me know if you have been inspired. All of the books in this post are available through our catalogue if you would like to have a read.