Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide - Books

I think books are absolutely one of my favorite things to give to just about anybody on my list. I love to read and I am sure that is largely a contributing factor. When my son was a toddler, my friend, who is a teacher, would give me the Scholastic Book order forms for her class. I started purchasing many of their $1 and $2 special offer books each month, even though my toddler was not ready for chapter books. Over a matter of a few years, I built up a collection of books that I go to for gifting needs or when my kids just need a new book.

I could spend hours just browsing through the stacks at the bookstore, checking out the books. When it comes to selecting books for kids, I like to stick to the classics, series that I have heard of or characters that are familiar.

My daughter and I are reading the Ramona series currently. It is hard to believe that those books were available when my mom was learning to read. What's nice is that my daughter was also able to watch the movie that was out a year ago, further helping to bring the characters to life.

When she was younger, we read the My First Little House Series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The series takes the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder and sets it into a short, illustrated story appropriate for reading to toddlers (and for early readers to read themselves). Now that she is 5, I plan to start reading the original Little House Series (after we finish with Ramona). I loved that series as a child, even dressing up as Laura one year for Halloween.

In addition to the classics, some other books that we have read and enjoyed are the Curious George books, the Fancy Nancy books, the Madeline books and of course, Disney Princesses. She also enjoys Cam Jansen and other early chapter books.

For my son, we are currently on hiatus from reading the 39 Clues books. We had been enjoying the books, but he was ready to take a break and read some other stories. We have read classics like Encyclopedia Brown and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We have read more recent books like the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and the Magical Treehouse Series. One thing that I find really enjoyable about the Magical Treehouse Series is the accompanying non-fiction books. It is great to take the stuff found in the stories and allow the child to expand on their knowledge of the subject, whether it be the Titanic or Space. For school, he has been reading The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back. Recently, he also started reading some of the books by RL Stine, although not those in the Goosebumps series.

When he was younger, he really enjoyed Curious George. In fact, my daughter still borrows his books, as he is not ready to give them up and when he is asked to read for a few minutes, sometimes he will still pull out a Curious George book. The Flat Stanley series was another series that we read many books from. He has started to read the Harry Potter series, but I think that those might still best be fit for us reading together.

All of the children on my Christmas list receive a book from me each year. But, books are also great gifts for adults. I love to share my favorite books with my friends and family. When I find an author that I enjoy, I tend to read my way through their collection and then find myself waiting for them to release a new book. So, I am always looking for new authors (with limited reading time, this can be a challenge - but I am willing) to help fill in those gaps. You can check out some of the books that I have read recently on my Reading List page. This is not a comprehensive list of recent books, but does include many that I have read lately (some even have links to reviews).

Books are a great gift to share with others. I even try to make a point of purchasing a book for those in need when I am at the bookstore browsing and doing my own holiday shopping. Like I said, I love to read and want to share that with others.