There’s nothing like the classics – movies, clothing, songs, gifts. I can’t think of a more classic gift this holiday season than a rectangular shaped parcel that will offer so much more for the children in our holiday list this year — give them the gift of lit.
The Gift Of Lit
I remember growing up as a child and even well into my teen years (I’d have to say even now as an adult) excitably ripping open my gifts on Christmas and over the moon when I realized I received a new read from a favourite author or book series I was following. Who remembers Lois Lowry, Anne Rice, Nancy Drew, The Babysitter’s Club and Christopher Pike? How about Robert Munsch, Mercer Mayer’s Little Critters and The Berenstain Bears?
I would curl up next to the fireplace or in my room with my blanket after the excitement of Christmas morning has tapered off and read to my hearts content.
This is a feeling that I still get to this day and one in which I hope my children feel as well, now and always.
The gift of reading is certainly a gift that is one size fits all and will continue to offer all the benefits and entertainment for many years in their hearts and minds — from the main recipient to their friends or family and onwards.
If you’re looking for some great new kid lit gift ideas this year, here is a list of recommendations (many of which are proudly Canadian!) courtesy of my little bookworms and our friends at Penguin Random House Canada:
Solutions for Cold Feet and Other Little Problems by Carey Sookocheff
What do you do when you’re missing a shoe? When you’re caught in the rain? Or when your ice cream melts? Solutions for Cold Feet is a sweet and gently humorous look at practical and creative answers for all the little daily problems in one young girl’s life, including her exuberant and pesky dog. Will her dog, who starts out as a problem, end up as solution?
If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle
Sam just got a hamster for a pet. But the hamster is kind of boring … he just eats and sleeps and gets his shavings wet. Inspired by her book of mythological creatures, Sam longs for a more exciting pet. But she soon realizes that taking care of these magical beasts might not be as wonderful as she thought. Sasquatches are messy, unicorns are shy, hippogriffs scare the dogs at the dogpark, and having a fire extinguisher handy at all times makes dragons seem like an awful lot of work. In the end, Sam realizes that her hamster is a pretty sweet and safe pet … or is he?
If I Had a Gryphon is a raucous rhyming read-aloud about fantastical beasts in everyday situations–and the increasingly beleaguered heroine who has to deal with them.
Christmas ABC by Nosy Crow
This fun first alphabet book introduces simple seasonal words to get toddlers excited about Christmas. Bright illustrations feature lots of happy faces and familiar festive details to spot and talk about, providing hours of shared first-word fun!
Little Christmas Tree by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
One white and snowy night, a little Christmas tree stands alone in the forest. Everything is white and lifeless. As the night goes on, there are signs of life: an orange fox, a red-breasted robin, a cloud of fireflies. By the end of the book, the little Christmas tree is transformed by nature. Another glorious lift-the-flap exploration of nature in the same series as Little Tree and Little Honeybee.
I Am Actually a Penguin by Sean Taylor
When a little girl is given a penguin suit, she decides that living as a penguin is much more fun than just dressing as one. Penguins don’t ride the bus like people do, they don’t talk like people do, and they certainly don’t eat fish sticks like people do. Her family tells her, “You’re not actually a penguin.” But she knows that she ACTUALLY is. A hilarious new picture book about using your imagination — but also knowing that sometimes your costume needs to be washed!
Goodnight, Anne by Kallie George
A beautiful bedtime picture book based on the best-selling Anne of Green Gables, introducing the irrepressible and beloved Anne to younger readers. It’s time for Anne to go to bed, but not before she wishes goodnight to everyone and everything she loves!
Petra by Marianna Coppo
The humorous adventures of an irresistible little rock who finds herself in constantly changing circumstances, Petra is a picture book that celebrates the power of perspective and believing in yourself.
Petra is a little rock who believes she is a mighty mountain . . . until a dog fetches her for its owner, and she is tossed into a bird’s nest. A mountain? No, Petra is now an egg! An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she’s flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl’s pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? But she’s a rock, and this is how she rolls!
Over the River and Through the Wood by Emma Randall
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh–so hop in, hold tight, and join the journey in this dazzling holiday classic!
In this stunning paper-over-board picture book, a blustering wind stings the toes and bites the nose, but hearts are warm and there’s lots to eat–for ’tis Thanksgiving Day! Bundle up as you navigate a winter wonderland of sparkling snow-covered trees and adorable woodland creatures in this cherished holiday tale. Coupled with Emma Randall’s delightful illustrations, the familiar poem-turned-song is the perfect way to celebrate the season. Just remember to leave room for pumpkin pie!
The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold by Maureen Fergus
Santa has a problem. This kid? Harold? Santa doesn’t think he’s real. He WANTS to believe in Harold–after all, Harold is one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Getting Harold’s letters, eating the cookies he leaves out, feeding his carrots to the reindeer… what would Christmas be without that? But Santa’s just not sure. Some of his friends are telling him they think Harold’s not real. And the Harold that sat on his knee last Christmas looked AWFULLY different. Santa comes up with a plan to find out once and for all if Harold really exists… with hilarious consequences.
The Christmas Eve Tree by Delia Huddy
In a deeply moving story with the hallmarks of a classic, a homeless boy’s rescue of a spindly Christmas tree sparks a glimmer of hope that has far-reaching effects.
It’s late on Christmas Eve, and the little fir tree is the only tree left in the shop. What a poor thing I am, it thinks. But then a young boy enters the store, drawn in from the damp by the warmth and lights and the wonderful smell of Christmas, and he doesn’t seem to mind that the scrawny tree isn’t tall and straight like the others. . . . This magical story, beautifully illustrated by Emily Sutton, captures an unexpected and unforgettable moment of happiness that brings a whole city together.
The Magician’s Secret by Zachary Hyman (A CAC Kidz Fav!)
This action-adventure picture book featuring a grandfather and grandson duo celebrates the power of imagination and the magic of make believe.
Charlie loves when Grandpa comes to babysit because he always brings his magical imagination. Grandpa was a magician who knows the most amazing tricks; he can pull a rabbit from a hat and make a coin disappear. But what Charlie loves most are his wonderful adventure stories, and they all begin with something his grandfather has saved in his Magic Story Chest. An hourglass is a reminder of how he defended the treasure in King Tut’s tomb from raiders. A long white scarf inspires the story about Grandpa’s dogfight with the notorious Red Baron, the great First World War fighter pilot. A coconut shell heralds the story about his encounter with a nasty Tyrannosaurus Rex. Charlie’s parents, though, aren’t too sure they like Grandpa’s stories and warn Charlie that they’re just “tall tales.” What is Charlie to believe? How can his grandpa convince him that all you need to do is believe and a dream can be turned into something real?
Go Show the World by Wab Kinew
“We are a people who matter.” Inspired by President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing, Go Show the World is a tribute to historic and modern-day Indigenous heroes, featuring important figures such as Tecumseh, Sacagawea and former NASA astronaut John Herrington.
Megabat by Anne Humphrey
A sweet and hilarious chapter book about a boy and a bat, two unlikely friends who bond over loneliness, jellyrolls and Darth Vader.
Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It’s big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it’s haunted . . . or is it?
Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he’s living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there.
Daniel realizes it’s not a ghost in his new house. It’s a bat. And he can talk. And he’s actually kind of cute.
Megabat realizes that not every human wants to whack him with a broom. This one shares his smooshfruit.
Add some buttermelon, juice boxes, a lightsaber and a common enemy and you’ve got a new friendship in the making!
This charming, funny story is brought to life by Kass Reich’s warm and adorable illustrations. There’s never been a bat this cute — readers will be rooting for Megabat and Daniel from page one!
Anne Arrives by Kallie George
The charming first book in a new early-reader series, starring the spirited — and outspoken — Anne Shirley as she first arrives at Green Gables.
Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert need help on their farm, so they’ve adopted what they hope will be a sturdy, helpful boy. Instead, Matthew finds Anne awaiting him at the train station — imaginative, brash, redheaded Anne-with-an-e. With her place at the Cuthberts’ at risk — particularly if nosy neighbor Mrs. Lynde has anything to say about it — Anne will have to learn patience, understanding and what it takes to make Green Gables her true home.
Lovingly adapted by Kallie George with beautiful, nostalgic illustrations by Abigail Halpin, Anne Arrives is perfect for new fans of Anne and old.
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier (A CAC Kidz Fav!)
A brand-new novel by one of today’s most powerful storytellers, Sweep is a heart-rending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and hope.
For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on “climbing boys”–orphans owned by chimney sweeps–to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived–and a girl. With her wits and will, she’s managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature–a golem–made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire.
Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a life together–saving one another in the process.
The Nose from Jupiter (20th Anniversary Edition) by Richard Scrimger
A 20th anniversary edition of the classic, bestselling story of a boy and the alien who happens to live in his nose.
How do you shut up when your nose is doing all the talking?
Alan is not big or strong. He hates playing soccer and can barely keep up in math class. Moreover, he’s fodder for every bully for miles around. But all that changes the day Norbert, an alien from Jupiter, comes to earth on an exploration mission and moves into . . . Alan’s nose. Soon Alan isn’t acting like himself, but is Norbert really to blame? Loud, pushy and hilarious, Norbert teaches Alan to stand up for himself, even when the odds are stacked against him.
Very Rich by Polly Horvath (A CAC Kidz Fav!)
From Newbery Honor– and National Book Award–winning author Polly Horvath comes another magical novel featuring a time machine, money, food and lots of family.
Ten-year-old Rupert Brown comes from an ordinary family. They live in a small house in the poorest section of Steelville, Ohio, and have little money or food. So when Rupert inadvertently finds himself spending Christmas at the house of Turgid River — the richest boy in town — he is blown away to discover a whole other world, including all the food he can eat and wonderful prizes that he wins when the family plays games, prizes he hopes to take home to his family so they can have Christmas presents for the very first time. But this windfall is short-lived when Rupert loses it all in one last game and goes home empty-handed. Each member of the Rivers family feels guilty about what happened and, unbeknownst to each other, tries to make it up to Rupert in their own unique way, taking him on one unlikely adventure after another.
Two of our CAC Kidz Faves as featured our KidLit Holiday Gift Guide can be yours by simply commenting below telling me what your favourite book was as a child.
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Contest is open to Canadian Residents. Winner randomly drawn on December 3rd, 2018.