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Monday 9 December 2019
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Book choices for the holidays

Debbie Jacob
Debbie Jacob

READING is a magical way for children to discover the world during these holidays, but holiday reading deserves careful consideration. Keep in mind that children’s literature is becoming darker and edgier.

The tendency for modern children’s literature to deal with issues that we once thought most fit for teenagers and adults isn’t bad if it’s done in an age appropriate manner, but I think holiday reading should be light and fun. It should be about discovery and build skills in a subtle, almost unnoticeable way because children really don’t want to feel like they’re in school over the holiday. With that in mind, I recommend the following books.


If you have an advanced reader in your family, try enticing your child to discover classics. Many of my advanced elementary level readers – especially those who like mysteries – gravitate towards classics like The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon. There’s a modern version of the Hardy Boys, but most of my good readers prefer the original series first published in 1927. Girls enjoy the original Nancy Drew series. The Black Stallion series by William Farley, first published in 1941 has been an exciting discovery also. The writing in this series is exceptionally good. There’s enough action to make these books a timeless read.

Good night stories for rebel girls

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo. Many children love nonfiction – especially biographies – and this book grabs young readers’ attention. Parents can read these stories to children too young to tackle Good Night Stories..., which are great for bedtime story time. The authors present short biographies of famous women in every field. According to amazon.com “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is the most crowdfunded original book in history. It was created with the support of 25,000 backers from 71 countries who pledged US$1.3 million to help the creators bring the first edition to life.” There’s a Good Night Stories for Rebel Boys as well.

I Survived

More readers from eight to 12 are discovering and loving this series which put young readers in the middle of a gripping historical event. There are books like I Survived the Attack of the Grizzlies in 1967 and I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic. This series makes history exciting. The illustrations are cool.

Du Iz Tak?

By Carson Ellis – Sharpen your child’s thinking skills and discover just how your child approaches language with this picture book that you should read to children from six to ten. Written totally in bug language, children try to figure out what language they’re hearing before they finally realise what is really going on. Then, they try to decipher the language. Children pay attention to the syntax or the word order of the sentences and figure out the structure of the language to make sense of it. Language-oriented children look for language patterns; other children listen to the language and pay most of their attention to the pictures. These children approach language from a visual point of view. This book speaks volumes about how your children learn and approach language. Children will have great fun with this book and parents will gather some invaluable information on how to improve their children’s reading. If your child turns out to be a visual learner, you might want to get books that have more illustrations to enhance the text.

The Lightning Thief

(Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan – This series has been around for some time, but if you’re now trying to entice your child to plunge into the deep end and tackle chapter books, you really can’t go wrong with this series based on Greek myths. You will soon find out how children love mythology.

Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Children are now as familiar with author Neil Gaiman as adults because Gaiman has been investing much of his time in writing children’s books from picture books like Instructions, a guide for children to enter magical kingdoms to early chapter books for readers eight to 12 like Fortunately the Milk, a light-hearted, down-right funny book about a father who offers a ton of absurd excuses to his children when he takes too long to bring a bottle of milk home.

The possibilities for holiday reading are exciting and endless. Ask your favourite book store to order these books if they don’t have them in stock and enjoy!

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