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The Yankee Express

Books make great gifts for children young and old

Dec 04, 2020 02:38PM ● By Deb Horan, owner of Booklovers’ Gourmet

We are all aware of studies that have shown the importance of reading to children starting at very a young age and how this one act shapes their future in numerous positive ways. A special bond is formed on several levels. The basic nurturing, physical contact of a parent or guardian while holding a book, hearing the fluctuation and expression of voice that brings a story to life, and the mental focus of following a storyline while relating it to visual illustrations further ignites the imagination. The earlier a child is exposed to a pleasant reading experience, even observing a parent engaged in a book themselves, the more likely they will make it a lifelong habit.

Here are some suggestions this holiday season to get you started, from toddler to teen. Take advantage of these unprecedented times by spending quality time with a book! Your children (and you) will reap the rewards for many years to come.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, especially true in a beautifully illustrated picture book. Some standouts this year are: Becoming a Good Creature, a wonderful adaptation of Sy Montgomery and Rebecca Green’s grown-up bestseller How to Be a Good Creature, where animals teach us lessons about friendship, compassion and how to be a better creature all around. Another special title is All Because You Matter by Tami Charles and Bryan Collier, tackling subjects like bullying, racial inequality and compassion in a lyrical, affirming way. Mo Willems, of Elephant & Piggy fame, comes through again with Unlimited Squirrels: I Want to Sleep Under the Stars, the third in a series of nutty laughs along with fun facts. The classic bestseller Angelina Ballerina is refreshed with a beautiful new edition of Angelina and the Princess, written by Katharine Holabird and illustrated by Helen Craig. Get into the holiday spirit with the zany, interactive Cocoa’s Cranky Christmas by Thomas Nelson and Beth Hughes, will have you singing, clapping and even barking along with a somewhat grumpy dog.

Moving up a level to early chapter readers, the first in a new series worth a look is Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake and illustrated by Jon Klassen. The book follows an odd couple who eventually come around to being friends but only after some bumps and miscommunication along the way. Graphic novels are a great way to introduce reluctant readers to the joys that await them. Max Meow: Cat Crusader by John Gallagher is a secret superhero with CAT-ITUDE in a purr-fectly adventurous new middle grade series. Twins #1 by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright features, you guessed it, twins and best friends who start to spread their wings in separate ways. How will middle school change their relationship? A debut graphic novel about making and keeping friends by Maria Scrivan is Nat Enough, where Natalie, on the first day of middle school finds she is not cool enough for her best friend. Perfect for anyone who has ever felt inadequate or out of place.

Want to make science fun? Try The Kid’s Book of Elements by Theodore Gray. Filled with amazing photographs that explore the periodic table, this book is great for curious kids who want to learn all about atoms and elements and even includes handy flash cards.

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? The Ghostly Tales of New England by Carie Juettner (and adapted for young readers from famed local ghost hunter Tom D’Agostino) is a collection of haunting stories from America’s first colonies that jump off the page! Another local bestselling author for young adults, MarcyKate Connolly, just released a new fantasy, this time a spin on Romeo and Juliet called Twin Daggers. What if Juliet and her twin sister both happen to be spies with magical powers? And finally, in Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer returns to the Twilight world with a companion story of Bella and Edward but told from the vampire’s point of view.

For these and even more great reads for children of all ages, visit your local bookstore today.

Happy holidays and happy reading!