Here's a look at some of the new books your kids actually want to read.
If you've never read any of the If You Give books with your child, you're both in for a real treat. In each of these stories, there's a child and an animal star. An item is then given to the animal that necessitates something else. In the first book, readers discover that if you give a mouse a cookie, he'll need some milk, and a straw, of course, and on and on we go. The illustrations are a lot of fun in these books with lots of details to pore over with your child.
This incredible pop-up book is not one you'll want to hand to your 3 year old while you're doing the dishes. In the true tradition of reading with your child, this is a book you need to look at together. There's no story. The book simply takes you through the letters of the alphabet, but it's absolutely riveting. There's nothing simple about it. Each letter pops up and changes before your eyes, letting children explore letters visually and spatially. This book will truly astound you, and it will help your children see letters in entirely new ways.
Take two of the funniest writers alive and let them work their magic on middle school material. You then have a book that you'll "borrow" from your kids when they're not looking! This is a truly funny tale about a regular kid competing in a science fair against rich kids who buy their projects every year. And while every kid is winning the science fair (and the $5,000 prize), he's also saving the world. What more could you want? Levitating frogs? We've got that too -- it's Dave Barry. And it's all good.
If your kids have been pining away without a new Harry Potter to anticipate, this book may cure their blues. This collection of five fairy tales falls somewhere between Aesop with an edge and Brothers Grimm without the gore. But one special addition makes this collection all Rowling: the comprehensive commentary provided by none other than Professor Dumbledore. He offers the backstory necessary to understand the tales without the benefit of years of Wizard history classes. Your kids will devour this book. It's another one you'll find yourself lifting from their shelves for your own entertainment.
Got a teen who likes to read? Try this novel about high school seniors who have lived next door to each other forever. The day they find a dead body in the park at age 9 marks a turning point in their friendship. Now just before graduation, they reconnect. Then one disappears, leaving clues for the other. Teens will appreciate the vibrancy of the characters. An intelligent story that should keep your teen engaged for the full 300 pages.
Imagine you're a high school kid just trying to get by. Your name is Shakespeare. Your first name. So you develop all kinds of ways to portray yourself as a victim of a darkly comic universe until one day, you realize that you'd actually like to take yourself seriously. It's a great novel that doesn't write down to teens.
Books are a great holiday gift for kids -- and not just your own kids. Make a great book your go-to gift for any special kid in your life. You'll undoubtedly find a few good reads for yourself along the way.
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