Thursday, December 08, 2011

Presents, presents, presents!

The holidays will be here soon and the snow last night helped me realize how little time I have. I always look forward to shopping and picking out books for family and friends. If you are looking for suggestions, I'm ready!

Board books for the youngest children can be found from TV characters (please don't) to classic books that have big chunky pages (but the board book is not always the best format for some of these titles). My favorite board books have bright colors, little text, and lots of noises or pictures that help babies and toddlers learn vocabulary from animals to toys. Babies love to look at babies, so choose some that have real babies in the pictures. I also love board books that can be sung. From nursery rhymes to lullabies, to silly songs with crazy rhymes, all will be read and re-read by babies, toddlers, and you.

Picture books are next. I've got some new titles and some favorites. My favorite book this year is easily Meadowlands: a Wetland Survival Story by Thomas Yezerski. Every border around each two-spread page has animals, birds, and more that are part of what has been lost and found in the meadowlands. It's an "I Spy" book and a science story. The illustrations are lovely.
Another new book I love this year is Grandpa Green by Lane Smith. It, too, has an ecological message but fun and playful. An older book, and Caldecott medal winner, that is a lovely addition to "good night" books is The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson. It is dark, with striking white and gold light on every page. And another old favorite for kids of all ages is Steve Jenkins' Actual Size. Parts of animals on each page is the actual size of that animal - from a hand, to a head, to a tooth or the whole animal. At the end of the book are all the animals and information about their size and habitat. Another one for kids to read and re-read.

Chapter books for independent readers are popular. There are many series which are perfect for these readers. At our library we are very fond of the "Ready Freddy" series by Abby Klein, "Pony Tales" by Bernadette Kelly and "The Buddy Files" by Doris Hillestad Butler.
For young people who enjoy a longer book, you might want to give Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. This book is really two stories, one wordless with no text and the other with text and no pictures. The two stories eventually converge and it is a book to view over and over again. Richard Peck has a new animal fantasy called Secrets at Sea that is a delight! For your mythology fans don't forget Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series or his newer series. And George O'Connor is the comic artist behind "The Olympians" - 12 graphic novels. Right now there are 4 finished in the series.

As I write out these titles, I'm thinking of so many other books. Come in and ask us for favorites, or visit your local independent book store. Happy reading!