Bookscoops

The Scoop on Children & Adolescent Literature

Giving Books for Christmas

Posted by hollybookscoops on December 11, 2008

If you are dedicated to giving books for Christmas, then what do you do for those on your list who are not book people? Or who think they are not readers? Well, here are some ideas for including books in ways that just might inspire a new convert to literature.

I’m a big fan of getting books that create memories- because these are the books that will be turned to again and again to bring back childhood joy. I think we all could use a little bit of that, at least I know I could! So here are three ideas to make the holidays a little more ag’read’able (full of agreeable reading).

Don’t tell my kids, but this year we will have not one, not two, but three hippopotami under our Christmas tree. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas has always been my favorite Christmas song, so I was thrilled to find this beautifully illustrated, comical book at our library last year. Illustrated lyrics to your favorite Christmas song? You just can’t beat that! So, knowing that our lists were already long enough last year, I decided to plot and plan so that this year my boys wouldn’t just get a book, but a ‘value meal’ of good reading. In June, I happened upon a Beanie Babie estate sale and was thrilled to find three little purply hippos, yes! Now, all that’s left is to order the book . . . I found the CD at Walmart for $5. Definitely worth having in your home library, this classic will bring out the kid in you and thrill the kids you know. I also checked online, there are numerous books with hippopotamus characters. Our own fellow blogger, Bookie Woogie (this is his website, not his blog) has a great title Hiccupotamus if you want to add another book to the stack. His great illustrations are even done in similarly vivid pinks and purples.

Another common holiday tradition is new pajamas for the Holidays. Who doesn’t remember at least once getting new pajamas as a gift? I said I was giving books for the holidays, right? Well, for all you pajama lovers outpercy there, I have another favorite to share with you. My boys are getting  pj’s too, but that’s not all . . .  here is one of our favorites that has yet to be added to the family library: The Practically Perfect Pajamas by Erik Brooks. I love that Percy the polar bear teaches us all, through his not so fun (but definitely funny) experiences that there is a certain dignity to wearing pajamas, despite what others might say. My boys and I all met Brooks in 2007 at a library presentation that was amazing! We loved the story behind his first book (to see more of his work go here ). That was before my blogging days, so sad to say it, I don’t have any pictures. But we all enjoyed ourselves and I’ve been determined to buy us a copy of this great book ever since. (I wanted it before that, but you know, living out in the middle of 40 acres of sagebrush with dial-up? (sigh). I rarely make it to the bookstore and trying to order books online . . . ‘nuf said.) Hopefully it will become a tradition to read it out loud in front of the fireplace on winter evenings in warm, new pajamas, Percy style. I think we’ll start that tradition Christmas night, after all the excitement has died down and the kids are getting ready for bed. What a great way to kick off the long winter nights ahead. Or, if you want to spread the cheer further, this would make a great New Year’s party gift for the kids who want to watch the ball drop the way Percy would- decked out in a pair of warm, possibly even footed, pajamas.

For the military lovers, here is a great idea to get multi-generational interaction. Many grandpas and dads have an affinity for military stories. So, get grandpa or dad a great military read, and give them a package of ‘army’ guys, a tank or two and a book that illustrates military strategies such as You Are the General 2: 1800-1899 by Nathan Aaseng or something less strategic like The Marine Corps in Action also by Aaseng to share with the grandkids. Better yet, give the grandkids the strategy books and the toys and grandpa and Dad opposing colors so they can challenge each other in battle. Of course, you may need a few ground rules so that WWIII doesn’t start in your living room. Great Aunt Gertrude can supervise. This might just motivate a heretofore non-reader to do a little reading in the name of researching a way to conquer opposing forces.

This same concept can be applied over and over again with different interests and age groups. As we all know in the kidlitosphere, no one is ever too young for juvenile literature! If Dad is a train engineer and this is the year of the new model train, get a book about trains to go along with it. The kids just might have a great time looking at it with Dad. If there’s a chef in the family, a new cookbook and some kitchen gadgets would probably be a hit. How about the gardener? A flower catalog and some landscaping books will leave them salivating for that snow to melt. We all need something to fill those afternoon hours after the gifts have been opened when we are all saying, “Now what?” My answer is going to be found between the covers of some really great books!

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One Response to “Giving Books for Christmas”

  1. Cindy Oneil said

    The illustrations in “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” book are wonderful. I especially love the imaginary hippo made from the table. And I love the picture of the mother sitting on the stair who is exasperated with her daughter’s Christmas wish. My original copy of the sheet music of this song is tattered and torn and I keep it in a sheet protector. It must be at least 45 years old.

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