By NJEA President Barbara Keshishian and NJ Association of School Librarians President Pat Massey
The holiday season is a wonderful time to share gifts with children that not only come from the heart, but also from a shared interest. Books have the power to connect people and inspire a lifelong love of literature. There are so many titles to choose from, it can be difficult to offer a short list but here are some suggested titles and authors to help you share a love of reading with the children in your life. Although we have provided an age range, it is just a suggestion.
Books for all ages:
Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera
The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
My Weird School series by Dan Gutman
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Seven Spools of Thread: a Kwanzaa Story by Angela Medearis
The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco
Some other authors who are popular with children in this age group are: Sharon Draper, Wendy Mass, Jon Scieszka, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and Mo Willems.
Children (Ages 5-12):
The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series by Debby Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Amber Brown by Paula Danziger
Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee
Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist by Jim Benton
Freight Train by Donald Crews
Horrible Harry by Suzy Kline
The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini
Reindeer Crunch and Other Christmas Recipes by Kristi Johnson
Savvy by Ingrid Law
Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Ziggy series by Sharon Draper
Sports series by Mark Stewart
Young Adults (12-18):
Bluford High series (various authors)
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Gift of the Magi by O.Henry
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Identical by Ellen Hopkins
Twilight series by Stefenie Meyer
One way to make your gift even more meaningful – and treasured for years to come – is to give your own beloved copy of a favorite book such as Little Women, Treasure Island, or Curious George to a child.
To really make the most out of the gift of reading, take time to read together every day. Not only will you be able to share well-known classics, but you also might discover a new favorite to add to your personal library.
Finally, get to know the reading experts in your child’s life. Teachers, school library media specialists, and public librarians are happy to work with you to instill in your child a love of reading – and that’s a gift that lasts lifetime.
Barbara Keshishian is the president of the New Jersey Education Association, which represents more than 195,000 public school library media specialists, teachers, and educational support professionals in New Jersey’s public schools.
Pat Massey is the president of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, which advocates high standards for librarianship and library media programs in the public, private and parochial schools in New Jersey to ensure that students and staff become effective users of information.