Things to Read - Last Minute Gifts for Everyone On Your List



*For Babies and Toddlers
In My Tree

Sara Gillingham wrote a whole series of these books, including - In My Tree, In My Nest, In My Den, In My Flower (In My... (Chronicle)), and In My Pond. We don't own them yet (though we will after Christmas), but I'm a huge fan of the work of the books' illustrator, Lorena Siminovich , so I'm sure these will be beautiful in every way (the reviews have been stellar), plus apparently the books' characters turn into "puppets" - how cute is that?

*For 2-4 Year Olds
When You Were Small

Sara O'Leary's When You Were Small has become one of our family's family books. We especially love the beautiful illustrations by Julie Morstad. Even though F's somewhat outgrown it, she still likes to get it out and laugh at all the pictures (esp. the one of the small little boy in his father's pocket).

* For 3-5 Year Olds
How to Build an A

I had never heard of Sara Midda before Kelley's fantastic guest post (click here) on her favorite picture books for big kids. While purchasing Growing up and Other Vices, I decided to purchase on of Midda's children's books as well. P loves How to Build an A. After watching F spend the last year learning to write letters, I realized how much young children struggle with basic calligraphy, especially when each adult likes to put their own "spin" on how they write a letter. So for P this book has been a great tool. It comes with a set of blocks that kids can use to craft all the letters (the book illustrates how). P thinks of letter making as a game and she continually challenges us to beat her ("Can you build a Z mom? It's really tricky."). Seriously, best alphabet book ever.

*For 5-7 Year Olds
Why?: The Best Ever Question and Answer Book about Nature, Science and the World around You

F loves this book so much that she sleeps with it. The book contains short, simple answers to many preschool-type questions (Why does popcorn pop?, How does my cut stop bleeding?, Why do ducks waddle? Why do I have to brush my teeth?). The book divides the material into six categories - bathtime, supermarket, nighttime, outdoor, kitchen, & farm animal. I even learned a lot that I never knew before. All F's friends seem to like the book as well (I've spent many a playdate reading it to them), so it's sure to be a hit with your own children as well.

*For Children 8-12
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

A first grade teacher in my bookclub recommended this book, even though the story is geared at children it stood out as one of the best books I read this year. Kate DiCamillo's perfect story of the adventures of a china rabbit may make you cry at times, but the story is so beautiful you will love her for it.


*For the Traveler
The Shadow of the Sun

Earlier this year, a friend recommended this series of essays on Africa to my husband and me. We both loved them and have subsequently loaned the book to other friends as well. I often find most writing on Africa overly sentimental or unbearably depressing, whereas Kapuscinski - a Polish journalist who has covered Africa since 1957 - strikes a nice balance between the two. The book gave me a feel for the country that nothing else I've written ever has. I highly suggest it.

*For the Person Who Needs To Know Why
The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

Yes, we all know a recession exists. And we all know that credit default swaps have something to do with it. But for most of us, a large fog surrounds those two statements. Micheal Lewis's The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine explains the mortgage crisis in layman's terms. The book may make you tear your hair out in frustration over what occurred, but it does a great job explaining HOW it occurred.

*For the Mom
Life Among the Savages

Despite the fact that Jackson wrote this novel in the 1950s, it's amazing how much in common today's mothers have with Jackson's life (except we know longer smoke on the way to the delivery room). Jackson's antidotes about raising small children are funny and timeless. Several of her tales had me laughing out loud.

*For the Environmentalist
The Year of the Flood: A Novel

Atwood's no stranger to futuristic fiction (The Handmaid's Tale (Everyman's Library) has become a modern-day classic) and in the last few years she's returned to creating imagined prospective societies Oryx and Crake and, its more recently published companion novel, The Year of the Flood. I found this book an easy read (though snarky) based on an underlying message of environmental woes and corporate greed. Sure to make every environmentalist say "of course, of course."

*For the Foodie
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table (Random House Reader's Circle)
In this book, Ruth Reichl, the former editor and chief of Gourmet magazine, chronicles her memoirs through food. Reichl's stories are both funny and well-told. Plus, each chapter ends with a recipe. A great read.

*For the Bookclubber
The Help

I've noticed that most bookclubs tend to read the same books. Though I'm not sure why this occurs, if one "bookclub" must-read exists for 2010, it is surely Kathryn Stockett's The Help. The fictional novel centers on the interactions between white women and the hired black "help" in 1960s Mississippi. It's an incredibly easy read (I couldn't put it down) and it really does make you think about racial relations then and now. And how we treat people in general.

*For the Comic
Holidays on Ice: Stories

I haven't read that much Sedaris and I've been told that this is not his best work. Still, I think it's worth reading if only for the first essay, where Sedaris chronicles his experiences working as a Macy's Christmas Elf. It had me laughing out loud. Pee your pants funny.

*For the Creative Type (or the Person Who Hopes to Become the Creative Type)
365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life!

This journal looks amazing. Full of daily tasks to keep the artistic juices flowing, such as Day 26 "Make something portable (or that seems portable) that normally isn't" or Day 53 "Make something in which the sense of smell is the essential component."

For more suggestions, DesignSponge has a WONDERFUL book gift guide. Click here to check it out.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for these suggestions! I must get Owen The Why Book - it sounds right up his reading alley. And the collection of essays on Africa sounds right up mine. Merry Xmas!



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