What you give your children says something to them. So when you are buying gifts for children, always include books. They’ll know that you think books are special and gift-worthy, and you will be building a family culture that puts reading at the center: we read and talk about books together, we read books on our own, and we give special books (lovingly chosen) as gifts to people we care about. Make book-giving a habit early and stick with it through the years: you want a solid connection between family, books, reading, and good times.
Great read-alouds: some holiday book recommendations
So this year, what might you buy at the holidays? How about some great read-alouds that are either laugh-inducing for all involved, or interactive and thought-provoking?
Books to make you laugh & talk
On the funny front, while surely a matter of taste, Robert Munsch’s books were always a favorite in our house (Thomas’ Snowsuit is a classic for this time of year, but hard to find in print), and Tedd Arnold’s books, too (Parts is entertaining for the slightly older child, and like many of Arnold’s book could double as a way to incite good conversation about common idioms/how language works). There are also lots of sites that give examples of funny picture books online, but I think these two lists from Brightly are good ones, and include many of the great titles in the potential laugh-out-loud category. Some old titles on those lists are timeless; even almost 75 years later you can’t go wrong giving your children a book like Henry & Ribsy or Beezus & Ramona, and setting up the whole family with read-aloud fun this winter. (Remember to try these types of harmless and compelling stories with children you might think are too young to engage…the preK child often surprises us!) .
Books to make you think together & talk
On the interactive and thought-provoking side — books that will inspire all sorts of great conversation — I’d recommend:
- The Eleventh Hour and other books by Graeme Base (the clues are mostly in the pictures, and the pictures are fantastic!)
- Any book in the Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald Sobol, which will provide hours of communal crime solving
- Mistakes That Worked: 40 Familiar Inventions & How They Came to Be by Charlotte Foltz Jones and John O’Brien. (Kids seem to really enjoy books that talk about other people’s mistakes, especially when they have a happy ending)
- Number Devil, for the whole family to dive deeply into a wild adventure through the amazing world of numbers and math.