Elaine's Favorite Books for Giving this Year

What book do you give a child this season?  I'm getting ready to package some for mailing.  Here are some of my favorite titles for gifting.  -Elaine B.

cover of AlphasaursThis cleverly illustrated dinosaur dictionary from a to z uses the first letter of the dinosuar's name to create the body of the dinosaur.  Every two-page spread highlights a different letter of the alphabet.   The examples used to illustrate the dinosaur facts also start with the same letter as the dinosaur's name.  For dinosaur fans who love dino facts and letters







cover of Building Our HouseBean shares an autobiographical story of his family built their own house from ground up when he was a child.  Fascinating.  Jonathan Bean also published Big Snow this year, about a boy who is waiting for the snow to fall - a very difficult thing to do!







This is a mystery in the tradition of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and the game element of Charlie  and the Chocolate Factory.  In a town that has not had a public library for 12 years, all of the twelve-year-olds are invited for a chance to be the first to enter the brand-new public library, financed by the wealthy Mr. Lemoncello.  Once chosen, the kids reallize that the really hard part is going to be getting out.







cover Follow Your MoneySylvester and Hlinka share fascinating information about where the money goes when you buy things like jeans or a movie ticket.  What a surprise!








cover Frog TroubleBoynton scores again with fabulous music, clever lyrics, and hilsarious illustrations.  Included is a cd of the music.






cover for Look Up!Cate encourages kids to get out pencils and paper to make their own observations about the outdoors.  Dialog balloons, silly asides, and talkative birds add to the appeal of this package.







cover My Very First Mother GooseOne of my favorite gift books for parents ofnewborns or young children, this book pairs traditional nursery rhymes with Rosemary Wells' whimsical and mischief-making cast of animals.  Here Comes Mother Goose is the fabulous sequel, also worthy of gift-giving.







cover National Geographic book of Animal PoetryTo quote Kevin Henkes - "Wow.  That's just about all she could say was 'wow.'"  This book features the photographs you would expect from National Geographic, combined with classic and accesible children's poetry.  A delight for the eyes and ears!







cover Nic Bishop SnakesSnakes is part of Nic Bishop's animal series.  He combines his amazing photography with words in different sizes and fonts draws in readers of various abilities motivation.  Equally as information and entertaining are the author's notes at the end of the book, describing exactly how he managed to capture some of the moments in the book.







cover The One and Only IvanApplegate's new chapter book was buzzing around our office even before it won the Newbery last year.  How on earth could a book that is narrated by a gorilla be any good?  And then I read it.  Minimalistic writing allows the emotions of the story to surface easily, and provides a link to good and reluctant readers alike.  In addition, this story, though fictionalized, was inspired by a true story.







cover switching on the moonAnother favorite gift book for parents of young children, perfect for reading aloud before bed.  Karas' playful illustrations, combined with Yolen and Peters' well-chosen poems are hard to resist.  Children will love the playfulness and child-centered imagery.  A wonderful companion book, also selected by Yolen and Peters, and illustrated by Polly Dunbar, called Here's A Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry is equally as fabulous for sharing.







cover WonderThis is the story of Auggie, a child born with a severe facial deformity.  Auggie doesn't share exactly how he looks.  He just tells us that whatever we imagine, it is worse.  This chapter book is is a slice of Auggie's life as he enters fifth grade at a public school and becomes the target of bullying.   The story is told from several different perspectives, for example:  Auggie, his sister, her boyfriend, Auggie's supposed "best friend."  Palacio really makes the reader feel as if they are right there in the middle of the story, getting to know the characters personally.  Ultimately, Palacio's story, never pedantic, is about every child's desire to be seen beyond what is obvious to the eye.