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Holiday Gift Guide- Our Favorite Family Gifts

December 2, 2010

This week, we are excited to share our Holiday 2010 Gift Guide with you! Please check out Tuesday’s post for our picture book and preschool picks, Wednesday’s post for our picks for middle readers and teens, and today’s post to see our picks for great family gifts! Also, today we are featuring a PDF shopping list of all of the titles we featured this week so that you can easily print it out and take it with you when you do your holiday shopping (just below- click on the link that says RAOR Holiday Gift Guide) . Next week we will be blogging about more specifically holiday-themed titles, so be sure not to miss that if you love a great Christmas book!


 RAOR Holiday Gift Guide

Erin’s Picks:

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

This book is the perfect introduction to the hilarious author and researcher Bill Bryson. Parents and kids of all ages will find the information and facts about science, history and a wide variety of other trivia totally fascinating. I know I am already getting questions from my children that I can’t answer knowledgeably and this book really helps with common queries on topics like what happened to dinosaurs and whether or not a meteor will hit us. There is an “adult” version of the book, too, but this is simpler and just as full of amazing stuff.

His Dark Materials Boxed Set by Philip Pullman

I could have listed this boxed set in the middle reader guide as well but I wanted to include it in the family gift list since I think this series by Pullman, which includes The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, makes a wonderful family read aloud. We have published several different editions of these popular books but my favorite are the trade paperbacks here, which feature covers with beautiful embossed gold leaf detail. For anyone who has not yet read His Dark Materials, the books are a fascinating blend of fantasy, magic, epic storytelling, adventure and much more. Parents will love reading the books just as much and kids will enjoy listening to them. I highly recommend the audio books as well, which are performed by a full cast and are totally riveting.

The ABCs of Rock by Melissa Duke Mooney and Print Mafia

I featured this book on a blog post not too long ago, and Sarah chose it as one of her picture book picks, but it really is the perfect holiday gift for hip parents, young children who love music, and even adults who like graphic concert posters. The book features 26 rock posters corresponding to the letters of the alphabet starting with AC/DC and running through such terrific acts as Bob Marley, The Clash, Green Day, and many more, and ending with ZZ Top.

Great Migrations: Whales, Wildebeests, Butterflies, Elephants and Other Amazing Animals on the Move by Elizabeth Carney

National Geographic ran an amazing miniseries called “Great Migrations” this past month, and while many people may have missed it, the book that ties in with the show is just as gorgeous and informative. This book is full of vivid photographs of animal migration and address climate change and other environmental factors affecting the animal world, as well as basic facts on the what, why and where of migration. The pictures are action-packed and spectacular. This book is perfect for animal lovers of all ages. National Geographic published an adult version of this book which is a beautiful coffee-table gift idea, but this children’s version is much more approachable for kids who are interested in science and nature.

Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up  by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson

My preschooler is getting to the age where she would love to be in the kitchen with me helping me make dinner or bake cookies, and while I would certainly love the help, I sometimes struggle with how to get her involved in a safe, age-appropriate way. This cookbook is a great gift for families with small children for several reasons: one, each recipe is designed for parents/adults and children to make together with different roles for each, and two, the 20 recipes are healthy and nutritious while still being appealing for kids. I love the idea of teaching my daughter to cook while subtly sharing my love of fresh, healthy food with her.

Sarah’s Picks:

Today I Will A Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promises to Myself  by Jerry Spinelli and Eileen Spinelli

This is a unique daily journal of sorts, written by two beloved authors who also happen to be husband and wife, Eileen Spinelli (bestselling author) and Jerry Spinelli (Newbery Medalist).  Daily entries feature quotes drawn from children’s literature – from Louis Sachar to Roald Dahl to Charles Dickens (example: “The little birds sang as if it were the one day of summer in all the year. – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery) – followed by kind advice from the authors, and complete with a daily promise (Today I rejoice in this, the first day of summer!). The broad spectrum of topics covered each day is sure to make for entertaining and uplifting family dinner conversation, and the small size of the book makes it a perfect stocking stuffer this holiday!

The Nine Pound Hammer and The Wolf Tree by John Claude Bemis

For lovers of American folklore and fantasy literature, The Clockwork Dark trilogy is for you!  Like His Dark Materials which Erin mentioned above, these books are written for the middle reader but are equally enjoyable for adults, so I’ve included them with our family gift recommendations.  In the first two books in the series Bemis creates an innovative and compelling fantasy world with fascinating characters based on American folklore where good and evil face off in a battle of epic proportions!  Fast-paced, full of adventure, and appealing to girls and boys alike, this is an exciting trilogy from a talented new author.  (The third book in the trilogy comes out next August so even though it may be hard to think past the holiday, you’ll all have something to look forward to months from now!)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 2, 2010 11:37 am

    I read my first Bryson book this year, and fell in love with the author, so seeing his book on the list made me smile. I think I am going to be grabbing this one for my uncle, who would just love it. Thanks!


  1. Christmas Books to Read with Your Family « Random Acts of Reading

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