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‘Tis the Season for Reading

December 10, 2012
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This is a season of so many things, bustle and decorations, Angel Trees and holiday parties, wrapping and shopping and cooking and meltdowns and joy and singing and exhaustion. For me, it is also a season of books.

As you go about your holiday activities, give a moment to think about incorporating books in your holiday. There are a few important ways you can enrich the season with the gift of reading.

Books provide an unparalleled escape from holiday stress. A trip to the library or local bookstore to stock up on a few books might be just the break your kids need to help them find quiet moments in the hustle or to give something to do while stuck in holiday traffic, traveling, or waiting in lines.

If you are making holiday Angel Tree or Secret Santa donations, or if you’re participating donating to a local shelter, please remember to include a book. Books truly are gifts that keep giving, and many children who do not have much may not have any age-appropriate books at home. Why not tuck a book in with the outfit you’ve purchased? It may give just as much warmth as the sweater you’re giving.

For other children on your holiday list, don’t forget to give a book. You might spark or fuel an interest, open a new door, or provide hours of entertainment. Bookplates are another great gift that allow children to take ownership of their own libraries.

But what if you have no idea what kind of book to give for an angel tree or to a relative? There are great book ideas in our recommendations list for different ages and interests. General rules of thumb, though, if you’re at a loss—for an angel tree gift, it is hard to go wrong with a wildly popular bestseller, and there may be a certain caché to owning a book that everyone else wants (such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter, the latest Magic Treehouse book, Cam Jansen, A Series of Unfortunate Events, A to Z Mysteries, the Lightning Thief series). Please remember that 67% of low income homes lack any age appropriate books, so it may be that the book you give will be the first in the child’s own library.

Classics are always reliable, and many kids haven’t read Tom Sawyer, Heidi, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, or Hans Brinker. Caldecott and Newbery Award Winners are also good bets. And buying books from a series is also a good idea—if a child likes it, she automatically has an idea of what to check out on the next trip to the library. Nonfiction books with lots of information are also popular, such as almanacs. Some other nonfiction recommendations include the Child’s Introduction to (the World, the Night Sky, Ballet, the Environment) series; Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson, Lives of Extraordinary Women by Kathleen Krull, Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross, and Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland.

Whatever you choose, a book gives the joy of reading to a child.

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