Which books are you going to give this Christmas?

The BookDepository

Today is Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days before Christmas, so I thought I’d put together a list of ideas for anyone who is struggling to think of books to buy for their loved ones.

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The Gruffalo Jigsaw Book by Julia Donaldson
The Gruffalo is a classic of children’s literature and this jigsaw version is the best copy to have. It is beautiful and the chunky card pages means that it stays that way (as long as you can persuade them not to remove the jigsaw pieces!) Suggested age range: 0 – 6 years

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That’s Not My Bear (and all the other books in this wonderful series) by Fiona Watts
Babies and toddlers love the different textures in these books and the simple, repetitive nature of the each page means that they quickly learn to recite the words, so they can ‘read’ the books for themselves – giving them an immense sense of achievement. Suggested age range: 0 – 2 years

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The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers
A story that all book lovers will enjoy reading to younger children. Little ones will be giggling all the way through and they love seeing the place where the back cover has been nibbled! Suggested age range: 3 – 6 years

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Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus
It has been 80 years since Winnie-the-Pooh first went on the shelves, so this authorised sequel is a must for all fans. Suggested age range: 5 – adult

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The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
This novel in words and pictures is beautiful. It is a gentle mystery that I enjoyed reading, even as an adult. The book is aimed at children between 9 and 12 year old, but my 4 year old boy enjoyed looking at all the pictures too. If I knew anyone 7 – 12 years old, I’d be buying this for them this Christmas. 

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The Arrival by Shaun Tan
This is a story without words, but the depth of the emotion contained within the pictures is outstanding. Suggested age range: 10 years – adult

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The River Cottage Meat Book – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
This is the best cook book I’ve ever found. It is as much a reference guide, containing everything you’d ever want to know about different cuts of meat, as it is a source of fantastic recipes. Recommended to anyone who enjoys cooking meat.

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What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
I haven’t read this one yet, but I’d love to receive a copy for Christmas! Malcolm Gladwell’s insight into our every day lives is always fascinating – this will appeal to a wide range of adults.

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Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – Winifred Watson
If you are trying to find a present for a literature lover then you can’t go wrong with any book from Persephone. You just have to decide whether to go for one from the Persephone Classic range, or one of the grey ones with the beautiful end papers – impossible choice!

I admit that I know nothing about teenagers. Which books will you be buying for the teenagers in your family this Christmas?

Are you planning to buy books for Christmas?

Which books do you recommend?


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23 Comments

  1. Verity says:

    What a good collection, especially including the Persephone! I am actually giving The incredible book eating boy to one of my cousins; the older cousin is getting the Mrs Pepperpot adventures. Mum is getting The cloudspotters handbook (which she asked for), and Dad, although he said he didn’t want any more books, is getting the Third Rumpole omnibus, as he needs it to complement the other two which he owns. I’m still waiting for Just William in Russian to arrive for my partner!

    I didn’t realise today was Black Friday – my partner is meeting me at lunchtime and we were wondering about doing some Christmas shopping…

    1. Jackie says:

      Verity, It is weird that I feel strangely compelled to start my Christmas shopping today – although perhaps that is because I’ve just written a post about it!

      I love giving books for Christmas. It is a shame that none of my family share my excessive passion for books, but that doesn’t stop me from giving them anyway!

      I haven’t heard of Mrs Pepperpot, but I don’t know many older children, so that is good advice. Thank you!

  2. Beth F says:

    Nice list — some I’ve read, some I’ve heard of, some new! Thanks. We always buy books for the holidays, but we haven’t even begun to think about our shopping.

    1. Jackie says:

      Beth, I always buy books too – I’m thinking about it now, but need to start actually buying some!

  3. Sandy says:

    You wouldn’t catch me out and about today…insane. Still, yes, I am working on my lists. Hugo Cabret is an AMAZING book – my daughter got it for Xmas a year or two ago from the book-giving uncle. When I was at the bookstore shopping for my secret santa exchange, I bought one for my friend who owns the wine store. The book is called The Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle. Not only is it about wine, but is written by my friend’s favorite author. I think tweens would love the Inkheart series, and maybe The Lightning Thief series (the movie is coming out soon). As for teens, I don’t have them so I’m not sure! Skeleton Creek and Ghost in the Machine are pretty creative books that have the Internet tie-in, which is really attractive to that age group!

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, The Inkheart series is a great suggestion! I have a copy of the first one here and keep meaning to read it.

      The Vintage Caper also sounds like a great book – I’ll have to look that one up – thank you for the suggestions!

  4. Lu says:

    For the teenagers in my life, I am buying Going Bovine by Libba Bray and How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier. My sister is only 14, so we read and recommend books for each other. She’s a big fan of The Host by Stephanie Meyer and even though I was skeptical, I ended up really liking it. Also for the 10-12 range is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, especially if they like A Wrinkle in Time. This is a great list for the little ones, because that’s where I’m lost!

    1. Jackie says:

      Lu, I haven’t heard of any of those books – shows how little I know about teenagers! It is great that you are able to share recommendations with your sister – mine doesn’t read at all.

  5. Molly says:

    The arrival sounds fascinating! I have used The Mystery of Harris Burdick as a writing prompt activity for my students. I think this book would also work well for that kind of creative writing endeavor.

    1. Jackie says:

      Molly, I’ve not heard of The Mystery of Harris Burdick – I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

  6. Although I haven’t read it, I thought The Hunger Games and the Stephanie Meyers would be good choices for teenagers (assuming they haven’t read those)?

    In my teenage years, I remember getting 1984 (Orwell), The Complete Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle), The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCoullough), and Sophie’s World (Jostein Gaarder). Most are classics, which everyone should probably read at least one.

    1. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, i think giving classics to teenagers is a great idea! There should be something to suit every personality.

  7. claire says:

    I don’t know what to give teenagers either. Although one of them I know loves the series Bones, and will probably get him an installment he doesn’t have yet.

    I highly recommend, for kids aged 4 to 8, any of Melanie Watt’s books. Particularly the first books in her Scaredy Squirrel and Chester series. My kids cannot get enough of them. And also I enjoy reading them. That says a lot because I have yet to tire and we read them almost every night. Can’t be said for some of their other books.

    I love The Incredible Book Eating Boy that you featured above. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Claire, I think the problem with teens is that they all have their own tastes, so it is not so easy to buy/suggest a book without knowing them.

      I haven’t heard of Scaredy Squirrel, but I have a 4 year old so will look into it – thanks for the recommendation!

  8. Thanks for the suggestions!

    1. Jackie says:

      J.T. I hope that you found them useful!

  9. Karen says:

    Thanks for putting together this great list Jackie! I have 7 children to buy books for this Christmas aged between 1 and 7 so this has been very helpful. I have bought other Oliver Jeffers books for them before so I am happy to see he has a new one to add to the pile.

    1. Jackie says:

      Karen, I have read most (all?) of Oliver Jeffers books, but this is his best. It isn’t his new one though – I think it has been around for a while. I hope the children enjoy it.

  10. susan says:

    Giving books to children in my family and children of my friends is a tradition. I don’t know what I’m giving at the moment but there are always books to be shared.

    Are you looking for books for teens? I’d love to recommend a few, but giving a good book means knowing the person. If you are looking for gifts tell me a little about the teen and then I’d be happy to share. To be honest, next to not getting a book, getting one that doesn’t suggest the giver knows me is a huge disappointment.

    1. Jackie says:

      Susan, Thank you for offering help, but I don’t have any teenagers to buy books for – I don’t really know any – hence my problem suggesting books for them.

      I agree that chosing a book they should read is a bad idea – trying to find one they will like is much more important.

  11. susan says:

    In my experience giving a child and worse a teen a book they should read is the book least likely to be read. :-)

  12. Stacy says:

    Thanks for putting together a gift list!

  13. Rebecca Reid says:

    I STILL haven’t read my son Gruffalo but I keep hearing about it. And I’m somewhat interested in reading the Pooh sequel, but skeptical at the same time.

    I’m all for classics, and I always suggest people search them out and let their kids give them a chance.

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