Written for Vancity Buzz by Guillermo Serrano, writer for Vacay.ca
Book shopping guide for every kid on your list, the best present you can give.
My son and I have been reading books since he was born. No matter what age he is, I still think a book is the best present I can give him. Before he knew how to understand words, we read picture books. These days, we read books with more text than pictures, from saga adventures to classics, award-winners, and indie-authors.
The simple literacy exercise of reading books together out loud makes distance irrelevant. Wherever we are, whether that’s Ontario or British Columbia or overseas, we are connected through books.
If you ever see a grown man in a local coffee store reading a book on a mobile device via Skype with a pre-teen on the other side of the screen, come over and say hello and join us for story time.
If you’re still looking for something for every kid on your list, here are our picks:
Give the best of the force for early readers
Star Wars Epic Yarns by Jack & Holman Wang
If you love Star Wars, share these needle-felted picture books in child-friendly words from the Vancouver-raised authors who have turned their yarns into a series of successful classics. In simple words this book is the perfect vehicle for early reading at the speed of light.
Holiday classic to read before you are an adult
Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
This book was written 50 years ago and Christmas in Peanuts-land remains fully alive even today. It has all the elements of the season: snow, Christmas threes, ice-skating, music, friends and sparkly lights. Can the Peanuts gang help us discover the true meaning of Christmas? Cue the now classic Vince Guaraldi piano piece.
Recommended teenage books
Wonder by R J Palacio
Diversity as a fact-of-life is beautifully explained in Wonder with Auggie’s extraordinary face. Although born with a facial difference, that physical attribute hasn’t prevented him from going to a mainstream school.
For the silly guy/gal within
Captain Underpants (An epic novel) by Dav Pilkey
If life is getting too serious and complicated, it’s time to bring in a dose if silliness. From the Attack of the Talking Toilets, my favourite by far, to the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies, the reality is Everyone needs Underpants!
Children literary masterpiece
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
This is a book about books that inspired the Academy Award–winning short film.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and it should be in everyone’s library, no matter what age you are.
Good reads for pre-teens
The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon
I like books with illustrations. The Doldrums have the best of both worlds. It is a gorgeous written book with approximately twenty pieces of full-color artwork and black-and-white spot illustrations.
The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
This book captured the struggle of a young woman who loses her father. To protect her heart from adversity, she decides to put the emotions of her heart in a bottle. Then all the dreams and curiosity have disappeared because her feelings were safe in an unbreakable jar.