Friday, November 25, 2016

Christmas 2016 Gift Guide: Little Readers

So all week I have been posting Christmas gift guides for readers, but don't think I forgot the little readers! If you have been here for any amount of time you know I am a strong supporter of encouraging kids of all ages to pick up a book. Munchkin has definitely been spoiled in this aspect as he has a library as big as my own.  For gift giving I also try to stick to the guideline for kids: Something to wear, something they need, something they want and something to read.
So anyway here are a few gift ideas for that young reader in your life and some book recommendations from infants to middle grade readers . . .
A Reading Buddy
Your child may already have a favorite book, so maybe get them a reading buddy. A plush character from their favorite book, there are tons of them available, but here are a couple of Munchkins.


A Reading Nook:
Give them their own little corner of the house to cuddle up with a book. Maybe a little bookshelf for their books, a cozy blanket, some pillows and maybe a bean bag chair, or one of those little couches or chairs for kids.
Activity Books:
Maybe your little one isn't quite ready to read on their own yet but loves learning, maybe try getting various activity or workbooks that will make learning fun for them. I have loads of these for Munchkin and he loves pulling them out and working on them from time to time.
Everyone loves electronics in this day and age, and that includes kids, but you don't have to just get loud annoying toys or video games, there are great reading electronics out there. These are obviously on the expensive end of gifts but worth every penny!
Last year we got Munchkin the LeapReader pen for his birthday and this has been a great tool. If you are busy doing something they can still sit down with a book. This pen has so many great features, it will read these books to your child, or help them identify words, sounding out the letters etc.  It also has the ability to download regular audio books (we have Pout Pout Fish on ours), music and you can also get the paper for the pen and they can practice writing their letters on up to words. They also offer games that you can use with this pen.
This year for Christmas we are getting Munchkin his own Kindle for kids. There are loads of apps and games obviously but what I found to be the best thing is that there are books that will read with your child or to your child. Munchkin has also been using my Nook for the past year for books and learning apps, so electronics don't have to be just mind sucking distractions.
Book Recommendations:
There are some really great board books out there for babies, but I am going to share some of our favorites with you, the ones that have stood the test of time and that even now we still reach for.
This book is great for little boys, it is all about tools and even problem solving, it also is interactive. It has a little wrench and hammer that you have to figure out which to use on each page.
This is such a classic and little ones will want you to read it again and again. The story is very simple and can be embellished upon or read as is.
It is actually the 50th anniversary of Brown Bear Brown Bear so you can find some great editions of this book and gift sets. It is another one that has a great rhyme that kids love, and the large bright images are great for babies.
Any of the Dr. Seuss Nursery books are amazing, they are board books with interactive features for babies and young readers. We still have many of these books on our shelf but this one is our favorite.
All of the Hello Genius books are fantastic, babies will love the small size and the big bold images and you will love the lessons taught in each book.  We have Bear Says Thank You, Duck Goes Potty, Pony Brushes His Teeth, but there are so many great ones.
Picture Books:
There are almost a limitless supply of picture books out there and so many are great, and obviously your choices may be different as each child has different interest, but here are some of our favorites (I will try to add in some lesser known books too).
We LOVE Pete the Cat, there are so many great books out there and they all have fun rhymes and pictures. We really can't get enough of Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, it is among our favorites.
The Elephant and Piggie books have been extremely popular with young readers, we were a little late to the game but this is by far Munchkin's favorite of the series.  The author has completed this series of books so it is possible to complete your collection.
I probably never would have picked this book up on my own, but Munchkin received it for Christmas from a friend a couple of years ago and it has become one of our favorite books! It is simple but there are so many lessons in it about rules, and how even though Mommy might yell but she still love you.
This is one of Munchkin's favorite books, it is more boy themed but my nieces also love it. It has a wonderful rhyme and rhythm and it is definitely soothing for bedtime.  The wonderful part about this book is that you can create great themed gifts, there is a plush excavator, a few puzzles or even a game that can be given together.
We also love Llama Llama books, we are so saddened by the news that the author has passed. But we can really enjoy the books that she did give us while she was here. Llama Llama Mad at Mama is one of our favorites and is so relatable for both kids and parents.
I had never seen this book before Munchkin received it for Christmas last year but it is a really fun book. So always be on the look out for those unheard of or obscure books that you can find, you never know when you will find a real gem!
Early Reader:
We have only recently gotten into these books but there are a wide variety out there and you are sure to find one for every kid.  Even if the little one in your life isn't ready for these yet, it doesn't hurt to start their library, and they can be read as a regular story as well to help familiarize your child with these books. Here are some of the favorites we have come across so far.
This was one of the best ones we read this year, we will definitely be seeking out more by Candice Ransom, she does a great job of integrating simple words, rhymes and even different lessons into the story.
We all have loved Little Critter picture books, but do not hesitate to pick up the early reader books by Mercer Mayer, they might be a little more advanced that some of the other early reader books but they have the familiar characters, great stories and excellent lessons that kids and parents will enjoy!
If you have a somewhat reluctant reader in your house, think about picking up an early reader featuring some of their favorite cartoon characters. Munchkin LOVES Blaze and the Monster Machines, so this was a great one (there are also Doc. McStuffins, Paw Patrol, etc options for every interest). This one was even a book available on my Nook that had a read to me option.
The same goes for favorite movie characters, it is a great way to draw children to books when they see something they already love in a book. Often times it also helps children learning to read to recognize words because they already know what happens and character names.
The early reader books also have a wealth of non-fiction options, it is a great way to introduce this reading genre to kids. You can find a variety of interests for young readers including trucks, nature, animals, jobs, etc. Finding their interest will also help draw them into books.
Middle Grade & Early Chapter Books:
This is most often the next step for young readers, they start reading short chapter books that still have some pictures and into middle grade books before moving into young adult. Some of the favorite books I read this year have been middle grade so even if you are reading with your child you will still enjoy them.
These What Is books are a great transition from early readers to first chapter books and there are a wealth of non-fiction topics including historical events and important people.
I have been reading The Magic Tree House series all year long and have to say it is a fantastic series for readers ready for adventure and books with a little more to them. There are still illustrations throughout and they slowly build upon basic world building and plot lines.
This book may have been one of my favorite reads of the year, the whole book had a variety of poetry styles but tells a complete story throughout. It really was a fantastic book, and I just found out the author will be releasing another one later this next year!
If you have a young boy who is a somewhat reluctant reader, this may be the perfect series. I have been following it from the beginning and it is so entertaining. It is along the lines of diary of a wimpy kid in story style and illustrations but features a prankster main character. There is always laughter and fun to be had in this series of 6 books so far (I have actually purchase a couple of these books for the child of a friend for Christmas this year).
Here are two series that are a great way to introduce a young reader to mythology in a very fun way. They have fun spins on the classic god and goddesses of mythology and are full of fun that will have young readers wanting to keep the pages turning.
I hope this little list has helped you find some great gifts for the young reader in your lives. Do you see anything you want to get for your young reader? Any other great suggestions? I would love to hear from you!
So this concludes my 2016 Christmas Gift Guide series, I hope you have enjoyed all the posts and that I have given a good variety of ideas! Enjoy your holiday shopping and gift giving!

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