Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Find Great Gift Books for Your Kids This Holiday Season!

Holiday Gift Books: How to Find Just the Right Books for the Young People in Your Life!

When you give a book to a child or teen at Hanukah, Christmas, or Kwanza it helps create emotional bonds that link love, family, and tradition to reading. It also sends a message that books and story can be as enjoyable as toys! Especially if you take the time to read that gift book together!

We asked Natacha Pouech, librarian and book buyer, for some pertinent suggestions about choosing and buying books for holiday gift giving. Natacha has many years of experience connecting kids to books. She was the Children’s Services Librarian at the Hinesburg Public Library in Hinesburg, Vermont and was responsible for buying all the children’s, middle grade, and young adult materials servicing children from toddlers through to high school students. Natacha has also worked as the children’s book buyer for a number of independent book stores.

Finding a special book for the child you love can be an overwhelming task given the huge selection available at your neighborhood bookstore. Natacha offers the following advice:

Find out what the child or teen has already read. Ask what authors he or she likes to read. Discover the subjects and topics that interest him or her. Does he or she prefer fiction or nonfiction, fantasy or reality?

Don’t be afraid to ask your neighborhood children’s librarian or children’s bookseller for suggestions or advice.

Read your local newspaper’s book section. Many newspapers and magazines feature books suggestions this time of year.

Be consumer savvy. The books with the biggest marketing budgets are not necessarily the best books for your child or teen. And conversely, a book you’ve never heard of may contain the story that changes your child’s or teen’s life. Natacha says, “We all fall victim at one time or another to ‘judging a book by its cover.’ Just because a book jacket may look promising does not mean the story is going to live up to the cover. However, an interesting looking book jacket is always reason enough for me to open it up! And remember to take into consideration the book’s content—is it pertinent to the age level of the child? I think great care needs to be taken when choosing a book, especially if a young reader is at a higher reading level. Just because a child reads at an older level does not necessarily mean that he or she is ready for ‘mature’ subject matter or content.”

Consider all the possibilities: great literature and fun, entertaining books. Natacha says, “Think of books in terms of chocolate mousse and a Hershey Kiss. There are moments for both!”

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