While by no means a new trend (ever heard of a newfangled thing called the printing press?), as resident trend watcher, I’ve done my research and talked to the experts to bring you a list (and a prize pack) of some of the hottest titles in children’s literature for your holiday shopping.
Shall we begin at the very beginning (a very good place to start)…and look at first books for infants and toddlers?
Anything by Sandra Boynton’s a hit in my house, and her newest, Let’s Dance Little Pookie is no exception. This is a book whose simple illustrations will captivate young children, and whose simple words and rhythm will have you all up dancing, shimmying and boogie-ing!
Olivia was the first book my daughter received as a gift, and since that day we’ve read it hundreds of times. I never tire of the dry humour and classic drawings, and she never tires of Olivia’s spunk and attitude. Here’s a great gift set to introduce a child to Ian Falconer’s modern classic.
Mem Fox is recognized as a world leader in children’s literature. Her newest story, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes will worm its way into your heart, and your child’s. This one will be repeated over and over as part of many bedtime rituals.
For preschool children, consider Bear Feels Sick, by Karma Wilson. It will comfort any child suffering from the sniffles, and teach a valuable lesson about caring for others and empathy. I’ve bought a copy to put aside for a sick day to cheer someone up.
Another author sure to become one of your child’s favourite, as well as yours, is Jamie Lee Curtis. Ms. Curtis seems to be one of the few celebrities whose childrens’ books are actually enjoyable (for kids and parents). I love Today I Feel Silly for its elaborate illustrations, and as an introduction to talking about the feelings my children are experiencing. Her latest, Big Words for Little People is perfect for anyone under five on your list. Kids will love the pictures and appreciate that Ms. Curtis is empowering them with some awfully big words.
A few years ago, I gave Wild About Reading to all children on my Christmas list. This year, the author has a new one, Born to Read by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown. It promotes books and reading with a fun, up-beat story. If the illustrations look familiar, it’s because Marc Brown is the creator and illustrator of the beloved Arthur television series.
Finally, for its creativity and originality, check out The Big Bug Book, by David Carter. It’s imaginative, colourful and fun to look at…just what a pop-up book should be!
For school-aged children, the selection’s great, too. Bill Bryson’s A Really Short History of Nearly Everything will be popular for all. The New York Times wrote that it “brims with strange and amazing facts . . . destined to become a modern classic of science writing.” I spent an hour flipping through the pages and had trouble putting it down.
Another book I couldn’t put down was David Macaulay’s The Way We Work Macaulay’s a master at making the complex understandable, and with this book he shows how the parts of the body work together to make us work. This would be a great resource for kids (and I imagine would also be a help to many adults).
You and your child (of any age) will both enjoy Imagine A Place with gorgeous trompe l’oueil illustrations by Rob Gonsalves. This is a book that feeds the imagination and takes you on a journey, forcing readers to think “outside the box”.
I can spend hours in the children’s section of a bookstore searching for the perfect gift. I hope this overview of some of the best of the new books out there starts you on your own search!