No Snowflakes Here, but Preparing for the Holiday Season

Around this time of year, like many of you, I start thinking about the gift season fast approaching. As a librarian, my nieces and nephews have always had to contend with gifts of books. Often times I have signed books that I horde after meeting authors who write age appropriate material for my relatives.’  That is my favorite gift, a book personally signed by an author.

This year my nephew in seventh grade will receive signed copies of Middleworld by J & P Voekel, a fun fantasy romp through Central America as well as Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. Since my nephew is a fantasy fan, I happened to give him Leviathan last year, and now he will have a signed copy of Westerfeld’s sequel. The Leviathan series is a steampunk alternate history to World War I.

His brother is a junior in high school, and I don’t think he is as big a reader as his brother. Jennifer Donnelly made a stop at my library on her recent tour, so I purchased Revolution for him. A book that I enjoyed reading, and I hope with all the history of the French Revolution included in the story that he might too.

What else would be on my gift giving list this year? For high school students who might not pick up a book without you putting it under their nose, I suggest: Bruiser by Neal Shusterman that has a lots of humor mixed in with the pathos; Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce for those girls who want some werewolf in their life; or By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Peters for those angst-filled teens. For middle school aged students, I would give The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan if they haven’t already purchased the book. It is a better than the original series, and my students have loved it. Jewell Parker Rhodes, Ninth Ward‘  is another winner. Since the setting is New Orleans where I live, it is so appropriate to kids who went through Hurricane Katrina. With the sequel to Incarceron due out just after the holiday, now would be a good time to get someone hooked on this fantasy. Some kids really would rather read a series all at once than having to wait the year or more for the subsequent titles to be published.

I think that books make the best gifts. If the recipient has an electronic reader, then it would be so easy to give an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card along with some suggested titles for purchase. Or maybe you can hook a non-reader with an audio book for their MP3 player by giving a gift card to iTunes or Audible.com along with some suggested titles for them to purchase.

I am all for getting books into the hands of teenagers—it doesn’t matter the format of the book, be it paper and print, electronic, audio or in manga form with lots of pictures. Since all these options are readily available, the trick is to give a book in the format that would be enjoyed the most. Happy Holidays!

Post written by Elizabeth Kahn

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