Take the Boring Out of Holiday Books

Posted by: , December 22, 2008 in 11:01 am


Books For ChildrenAs a booklover and parent, I’m always searching for ways to give books as gifts without kids thinking they’ve just been served a large helping of boiled spinach.   This list of 2008 books may just well be the answer.  From doodle activity books for little tykes to swashbuckling pirate logs for older tough guys, independent publishers have created engaging, interactive books for the holiday season that should be a must on any gift list.

Dotty Spotty Children BookDotty Spotty Doodles (Barefoot Books 978-1-84686-232-8) Broad, colorful illustrations are left incomplete for the budding artist to finish on each page.  Clear, specific instructions make this book great for younger kids and sturdy card-stock will allow them to tote and color at Grandma’s house, on planes, or in restaurants without ripping pages. $6.99

holiday Cookbook For KidsKids in the Holiday Kitchen (Chronicle Books 978-0-8118-6139-7) A Holiday themed activity book for kids that will translate all year long.  The book includes easy, kid-friendly recipes like “Merry Macaroni” (Mac and Cheese), “Lots of Latkes” (Potato Latkes), and “Celebration Sticks” (Chocolate Dipped Pretzels).  The second half of the book includes Martha Stewart-esq gift ideas for kids, where they learn to make gifts for the holidays, such as painting and packaging glycerin soaps, creating handmade holiday cards, and, my personal favorite, the “Jolly Cookie Jar”, a mason jar layered with all the dry fixings needed to make holiday cookies, wrapped with a bow and tagged with a handwritten recipe.  This colorful, easy to follow activity book encourages creative gift giving and will get the whole family working together in the Holiday kitchen. $16.95

Holiday Story book For KidsPirate’s Log:  A Handbook for Aspiring Swashbucklers (Chronicle Books 978-0-8118-6435-0) In a word:  awesome!  This incredibly imaginative and downright silly book will get even your most reluctant book receiver excited.  Pirate’s Log is a comprehensive collection of pirate lessons, goofy activities, and mind games relating to all things pirate.   A “secret” reading light is included. $15.95

Travel Book For Children52 Fun Things to Do on The Plane (Chronicle Books 978-0-8118-1098-2) Though not a book, strictly speaking, this activity pack is a must for families facing air travel around the holidays.  Brightly colored, compact, and written in accessible language, kids can take this deck and occupy themselves for hours.  I particularly like the prompt called, “Your Plane”, where the child is asked to draw his/her fantasy airplane and describe it or “Seatrobics”, which asks your little one to see how many limbs they can stretch while staying seated.   These great ideas are fun for the whole family—especially if they give parents a few moments to sit back and enjoy the flight. $6.95

Hanukkah Haiku (Blue Apple Books 978-1-934706-33-6)  Beautiful illustrations and creative layout shows the lighting of the candles for each night accompanied by haikus involving Hanukkah traditions like gelt, latkes, the story of the Maccabees, and the dreidel. $16.95

Santa Cluase Chirstmas Book For ChildrenA Present For Santa Claus (Candlewick Press 978-0-7636-3858-0)  From the publishers of Dragonology and Wizardology, comes this sweet Christmas story in extraordinary packaging.  Pop-ups burst off every other page of this tale in amazing three-d effect.  The book delivers a nice message about the importance of thoughtfulness over materiality during the Holiday season.  The final pop-up, where readers view the inside of Santa’s workshop, is great fun for believing little ones. $16.99

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