It’s a new year. Our houses are bursting at the seems with all sorts of gifts that we received over the festive period and we know we don’t need any more stuff. But what about all those people with birthdays in January? What about your friend who needs a pick me up but is trying to ‘eat clean’this month? What can we do about our resolution to cut down on screen time and spend more time interacting with our kids? The answer to all of these questions is of course- get your hands on the perfect book!
I am that Auntie that ‘always buys you a book for Christmas/ your birthday’. If you are thinking of buying some books this month, here is a list of some of the books I bought as Christmas presents for my friends and family. You can even see a couple of them being enjoyed. I am confident that every parent of a child receiving a book as a gift will be over the moon that it isn’t a bulky/ plastic/ novelty item and if you match the right title to the right person then you will be onto a winner.
‘Animals’ by Ingela Parrhenius
Who I bought it for: My one year old niece
Why I chose it: It’s a huge hardback (I have my hand on the photo to give you an idea of scale) so it has the feel of being a ‘special’ book. This also means she can crawl all over it and get up close with the animals- and she does! She is at that age where she is learning lots of animal sounds so it fits in well with her interests but goes beyond the everyday animals and has some more unusual ones in there too. Plus it will grow with her as she becomes interested in letters and the alphabet. And it is unbelievably beautiful and stylish so it looks great propped up in the corner of her bedroom. Perfect!
‘Under Water/ Under Earth’ by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski
Who I bought it for: My three and a half year old nephew.
Why I chose it: My nephew is the most curious boy and is full of questions about everything. He also loves anything to do with building and construction. This book is a beautiful hardback so like the one above it feels really special. It is also clever because you can open it from either side- there is no front or back. One half is Water and the other is Earth. I did say to my sister that I thought it might be a bit old for him but he has loved all the cross sections and finding out about what is doing on down there (she says she has learnt a fair bit reading it with him as well!) I love that this book will be as relevant for him in five or six years time as it is today, there are not many gifts you can say that about. (Side note- He will be getting this author/illustrator duo’s other beautiful best seller ‘Maps’ for his birthday. Ssssh don’t tell!)
‘Kitchen Disco’ by Clare Foges and Al Murphy
Who I bought it for? My daughter (age 4)
Why I bought it: I had heard about it from some literary consultants and thought I’d give it a try. I’m so glad I did! It’s a really silly story about fruit partying in the kitchen at night but the beauty is in the rhyme and repetition that make it so easy to join in with. It is a real ear worm and after reading it I will find myself walking around the house reciting it to myself! The upside of this is that she had it memorised after a few reads and now ‘reads’ it to us, her Grandparents, herself and her toys making her feel good about reading independently. I’m sure this is going to be very popular so watch out for it this year, I think it’s going to be everywhere (unless you already have it and in that case I bet you love it as much as I do!)
‘The Building Boy’ by David Litchfield
Who I bought it for: originally my nephew but he is going through a very sensitive phase so I gave it to my daughter instead
Why I bought it: I’m a huge David Litchfield fan, ever since reading ‘The Bear and the Piano’. I absolutely love his illustrations. They are just phenomenal and make me want to dive into the page. Pair this with heart warming, emotional stories and you are onto a winner. However, I bought this without reading it first and as beautiful and senstive as it is, it does deal with the loss of a grandparent and my lovely senstive nephew would not enjoy that right now. However, my daughter, who is going through the phase where she is asking all sorts of questions about death, has enjoyed it and it has lead to some interesting discussions. I would not hestitate to recommend it but just makes sure it suits the person you are buying for.
So there you go. A few pieces of inspiration if you are struggling for a treat. And remember, children’s books can sometimes be the perfect present for big kids too so don’t rule them out for the adults in your life, especially if there is a sentiment you are trying to express. Sometimes kids books just do it best (Remember that scene in Friends where Chandler buys The Velveteen Rabbit for Joey’s girlfriend?)
Now I will leave you with the proof, if proof were needed, that these books are well loved… My sister sent me a couple of message of them enjoying there books. One said ‘This is not a set up!!! He is absolutely loving your book today. Never heard him say wow so much. Best Auntie EVER xx’ Well, I’ll take that…