I was inspired by a meme to get my toddler son twenty-four books – one a day for the first twenty-four days of December, a kind of library advent celebration that we can enjoy together, minus the candles, though hey, candles sound fun and we might just do that too. And then, having re-posted the meme, other people said they wanted to do the same, and now EVERYONE IS DOING IT AND SO SHOULD YOU! Even grownups. Though, granted, not all grownups have enough time to read twenty-four books in the prelude to the holiday, but maybe you need to realign your priorities.
Anyway, I’m here to encourage you to play this game too, and challenge you to give at least a few (if not twenty-four) books as gifts. Some inspiration, in case you needed any:
Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess is one of my favorite kid books of all time, and it’s also one of my favorite books, period. Yes, it’s a board book. If you’re under-one, you can literally devour it, and if you’re over one, you can savor the delightful (feminist!) story.
Plot spoiler: the princess heroically rescues the prince, then discovers he is a materialistic knob and decides not to marry him.
For more rollicking fun, I recommend:
Michael Rosen’s We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, which does not actually involve harming any bears, is wildly fun to read, though I admit it won’t calm anyone down enough to go to sleep.
For sleepytime, there is always the classic Good Night Moon, or if those pages have been turned so many times they’re falling out (or have been torn out by a parent weary of turning those same pages so many times), you might enjoy the more realistic I Just Want To Say Goodnight.
And for the garden-lovers:
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt is my favorite book for nature-minded kids, and it has helped turn my tot (who is naturally very dirt-loving) into a botanist-minded dirt- and bug-lover.
And finally, for a slightly-older (or more patient) reader, I recommend George Saunders’ The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip.
The plot is sublime, and the message is clear: we’re all in this together, for better or worse, and it’s not fun for one of us if the rest of us are miserable.
And with that, I bid you adieu, and wish you the happiest of book-shopping, and though I’ve offered handy links above, if you can, please do visit a real, in-person bookshop.
Do you have any book recommendations for young readers? If so, please leave a comment so we can add your favorites to our list!
Happy reading, friends!