Stumped about what to get the bookworm on your list? Here are some great ideas!
ABC: The Alphabet from the Sky
$14.17, hardcover from Amazon
Alex read this book and thought it was a cool visual effects book. She was impressed with how many people were able to find letters in everyday aerial scenes. Even though it's a “picture book” and “look and find book”, it held her interest as an older child because of the novelty and because it was a different way to look at the world. Also, it was even a little difficult to find some of the letters, making it a fun activity that older kids can share with younger kids, and that even will keep adults interested during storytime!
Amy, mom of Alex (12)
The Lost House
$15.26, hardcover from Amazon
Wendy said it’s a book about how the granddad will take the kids somewhere, but first they have to find all the stuff in his crazy house like his green living room or red kitchen. Because everything in those rooms is the same color, it makes it more difficult to find the things you’re supposed to find. Wendy liked the novelty of a look and find book that’s all the same color, and it was complicated enough to hold her interest. She also appreciated that there was a story involved, so it’s like a book and activity combined in one!
Amy, mom of Wendy (8)
$5.99, Kindle from Amazon
This book is one of those stories about learning the true meaning of Christmas. It’s different than the standard though because there’s no bad guy; basically, everyone is working together to try to save Christmas, and even the bully isn’t really a bad guy, just more interested in his own toys than those of other kids. It’s also different than regular picture books because there are no pictures! There is enough visual interest (through different fonts and colors and designs) to keep non-readers interested during a storytime. One word of caution though – it’s a long book, a story long enough that even 12-year-old Alex was interested enough to listen to it being read. The length of it and lack of pictures made 8-year-old Wendy restless, but she did enjoy the story. It would be a perfect story to stretch out over a few nights during the Christmas countdown!
Amy, mom of Alex (12) and Wendy (8)
Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior
$6.61, paperback from Amazon
The biggest thing I liked about this book was that it was accurate enough to satisfy Minecraft fans, but different enough to be interesting for anyone, and have a unique story. The characters were slightly adapted from the real game, but spins were added to increase interest.
I like the message the book sends, that you should stick up for yourself. In so many other books I read, the main character will let himself be pushed around by the bully. In this book, Runt stands up for himself. The book also had all types of font shapes and sizes, making it fun to read. It also had great illustrations, like depictions of the “mobs”, or enemies, in the games, and Minecraft-style block buildings.
$13.24 from Amazon
This lush book is filled with gorgeous photos that you and your children will love poring over while you plan your nature build. The ideas here can be started with clothesline, a backyard tree, picnic tables, cardboard boxes and piles of leaves (yes, really!)
"Fantastic Forts" will teach you how to build, whether you're handy or not. You'll find tips on how to reinforce, how to waterproof, plan for, decorate, and purpose your nature abode. There's even a section on miniature fort building for forest fairies and elves! You can transform a cozy tree nook into an exciting night-time hideaway with a string of sparkly lights.
Me & Miranda Mullaly
$11.98, hardcover from Amazon
This is an extremely accurate depiction of middle school life, which I think makes it a great read for any teen in grades 7-9. I loved the ending, and it wasn't predictable at all. The story didn't feel rushed, and I got to know each of the characters and take a peek into someone else's life. There are moments in the book that make you embarrassed for the characters and laugh too. That's what makes a good book, when you feel you are right there in the story. I recommend this book as a fun read, but not realistic as a plan to get anyone to like you.
$17.36, hardcover from Amazon
There were brand-new illusions in this book that I had never seen before, and they worked to trick me every time. I learned about tricks of the eye, double drawings, forced perspective (really cool) and tricks to do with a mirror. Have you ever seen the neat 3-D sidewalk chalk art that artists do? This book shows you how they make it look real. The way optical illusions work is they trick the brain. The best feature of this book was that it gave tips on how to create either by hand or by photograph your own illusions. You can take pictures so you look like a giant or like you're holding someone's head in your hand. That was the selling point for me, and the reason I liked this book so much more than other optical illusion books.