Monday, December 15, 2008

Books for the Holidays

I probably should have talked about this earlier, but I have a feeling there are some last minute shoppers out there (me included). Books don't make the most exciting holiday gifts, but if you give a good one, they can end up making a huge impact. Here are five that I came up with that are relatively new and well-reviewed. Think about picking one up as a last-minute gift for your young reader. And if you do give any of these, whether it's next week or down the road sometime, be sure to let me know what you think...

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Flint native and award winning author Christopher Paul Curtis is back with this tale of Elijah, whose parents fled slavery and are living free in Canada. Elijah faces difficult challenges as he returns to America to help free family members who were left behind. This would be a terrific book to read together as a family!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

11 year old Reynie Muldoon responds to a classified ad seeking "gifted children looking for special opportunities" and his life changes forever. It's a bit lengthy (512 pages) but it's great for an avid reader because it's full of plot twists and dramatic characters. It has a sequel, too!

The 39 Clues: Book One The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

First in a series of 10 books (each one by a different author, how cool! I might have to buy this as a gift for myself), The Maze of Bones is a tale ripe with adventure. When an old woman dies, she reveals a secret: 39 clues are scattered around the globe that reveal the family's secret. Plus, he or she who finds them all will inherit the family fortune. A five-line description of this book's plot can't do it justice. It is action packed!

Julia Gillian (And the Art of Knowing) by Alison McGhee

Much of the novel takes place in Julia's head while she is walking her dog -- it's the first summer she's been allowed to do so on her own -- and she has plenty of time to consider things: what she's good at, what she's afraid of, how her parents are not quite as perfect as she thought, how she dreads finishing her summer reading book because she can see a sad ending on the horizon. McGhee's book may sound slow-paced, but this is exactly what kids this age are thinking about, and boys have been as crazy about this book as girls.

Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Nikki Grimes (illus. by Bryan Collier)

Collier's beautiful illustrations and the award-winning Nikki Grimes's beautiful story make for a gift that your family will cherish for generations to come. This will be one of those books that your kids will show their grandkids someday.

There are SO many more. I'll try to make book recommendations a more regular part of my postings from now on. Happy shopping!

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