Thursday, November 12, 2009

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Books for Everyone on Your Holiday List

No doubt you are (or soon will be) racking your brain to come up great holiday gift ideas. That’s why we turned to the librarians in Wellesley and Weston, and the book buyers at Wellesley Booksmith and Dragon Books, for expert advice on books that are sure to delight. You’ll find their suggestions for hidden treasures, all-time favorites, and new titles. And while you’re browsing, keep in mind the words of Garrison Keillor who said, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.”

Babies – Early Elementary Schoolers
Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies by Julie Andrews, Emma Watson Hamilton, and James McMullan
A compilation of cherished classic and modern favorites from Julie Andrews and her daughter, including poems written by Andrews herself. This beautifully illustrated anthology also includes a CD.

Waddle!: A Scanimation Book by Rufus Butler Seder
The newest “scanimation” book. These colorful animals-in-motion will inspire prancing, hopping, and stomping.

The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward
This magical story about two sisters finding a loveable creature in the wild will appeal to every child’s imagination and love of the outdoors.

The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
An easy-reader rhyming story guaranteed to make kids (and parents) laugh.

The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin, Rosana Faria, and Elisa Amado
Experience how people who are blind read through touch. Beautifully embossed line drawings accompany text (and Braille) that draws on all the senses to describe colors.

Ivy and Bean: Doomed to Dance by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall
The newest book in this easy-reader series finds the girls in ballet lessons which aren’t exactly what they had hoped for.

Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost
You don’t have to be an aspiring artist to enjoy this adventure story and instruction book all in one.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Remember this classic story and winner of the 1942 Caldecott Medal? It is still the favorite book of Mary Dalton, supervisor of the Wellesley Free Library’s children’s department.

The Brooklyn Nine by Alan M. Gratz
Nine stories in chapter form follow several generations of one family beginning in 1845, by weaving history and the game of baseball into one captivating novel.

The Lion’s Paw by Robb White and Ralph Ray
One of the most sought-after out-of-print books, this classic adventure is now available thanks to the self-publishing effort of the author’s family.

The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo and Yoko Tanaka
In DiCamillo’s newest novel, a fortune teller’s answer to an orphan’s question sets off a remarkable chain of events. In the process, the reader learns about trusting the unexpected and making the extraordinary come true.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Kelly Wood, the youth-services librarian in Weston, advises not to judge this book by its cover. Despite its scary wrap, this upbeat fantasy and adventure story is one of Kelly’s favorites.

Lost Worlds by John Howe
The extraordinary artwork of ancient and legendary cities will delight fantasy lovers. Delight in reading about some of the most captivating places on earth, real and imagined, with historical facts and mythological stories.

Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything. One Step at a Time by Sarah Hines Stephens and Bethany Mann
Illustrated instructions for amusing tricks, crafts, treats, and more. Take funny fake photos, run a ninja obstacle course, read minds, and whip up some edible fake barf. Sound fun, yet?

Teens (and their parents)
These “Alex Award” winners are a few of the ten books selected annually by the American Library Association (ALA) that are written for adults but also appeal to 12- to 18- year-olds. For the complete lists of winners by year, go to the ALA’s Web site:

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

City of Thieves by David Benioff

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders by Emmanuel Guibert
This graphic novel combines Lefèvre’s photography, with Guibert’s artwork, to tell the powerful story of a mission undertaken by doctors dedicated to mending the wounds of war.

Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book by Anita Silvey
American leaders – from actors to athletes to activists — share the books that changed their world view. Their lessons are inspiring and instructive. And the books they remember are great choices for families with kids of any age.

My Life in France by Julia Child
Julia Child’s memoir is sure to please whether or not you’ve seen the movie Julie and Julia. It’s hard to believe that Julia Child first arrived in France not knowing the language or the first thing about French food and cooking.

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Award-winning economist Steven Levitt and writer Stephen Dubner return with more iconoclastic insights and observations in this follow-up to their best-selling Freakonomics. Expect to be challenged to think differently…again.

The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence by Rachel Simmons
Sue Hamilos, the reference-services supervisor for the Wellesley Public Library, lists this book as a “must read” for parents of middle school girls. Hamilos cites in particular the useful strategies and learning exercises for parents.

White on White: Churches of Rural New England by Steve Rosenthal, Verlyn Klinkenborg, and Robert Campbell
Photographs of the 18th and 19th century architectural gems of New England by acclaimed architectural photographer Steve Rosenthal trace the evolution of church styles.

The Golden Book of Chocolate: Over 300 Great Recipes by Carla Bardi and Claire Pietersen
A chocolate lover’s dream cookbook with lavish photos comes wrapped in gold foil like gourmet chocolate.

Wicked Good Year: How the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics Turned the Hub of the Universe into the Capital of Sports by Steve Buckley
The subtitle says it all for sports enthusiasts who want to relive that magical year.

Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls
Walls, whose mega selling memoir, The Glass Castle, recalls her own upbringing, pens another true-life novel, this time about her indomitable grandmother, Lily.

Liz Suneby is the co-author of See What You Can Be: Explore Careers That Could Be For You! (American Girl Library), a 2008 Children’s Choice Book Award Winner.

The Virgin Gardener by Laetitia Maklouf
A beautiful book of inspirational ideas from the British TV personality Laetitia Maklouf.
Watch her on YouTube to get a feel for her creative spirit and accessible suggestions.

Please go to for more suggestions from Wellesley and Weston’s book aficionados.*You’ll find a book list with enough titles to keep you reading all the way through next summer.

*Thanks to the following: Kelly Wood and Donna Davies of the Weston Public Library; Patience Sandrof and Eileen Schaubert of Dragon Books; Mary Dalton, Sue Hamilos, Jan Drake, Tyson Bolles, Rob Lerman, Debra Berenbaum, Michael Wick, and Megan Flynn of Wellesley Public Library; Alison Morris and Lorna Ruby of Wellesley Booksmith


© 2009 Elm Bank Media