I spent close to three hours at my favourite bookstore yesterday – Vancouver Kidsbooks selecting books for a donor that wants to gift our primary students with new books to take home this holiday season. Books in hand and in home make so much difference! While my Teacher Librarian and I shopped, we were privy to many conversations between customers and the very knowledgable Kidsbooks staff. And it got me to thinking . . . Which 2013 picture books would I recommend for a gift list?
Of course, there are many amazing titles to choose from. I narrowed it to twelve. Twelve books I think are absolutely worth owning and therefore, worth gifting. My criteria? Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make the readers think differently about something? Does it celebrate something important? Is it a book that brings joy? With those questions in mind, here is my list:
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham
This is a fascinating biography that not only makes math seem absolutely engrossing but gives us a glimpse into a mind that was truly one track. A beautiful balance between the mathematical life and the other life of Paul Erdos.
On A Beam of Light- A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky
A wonderfully accessible biography of Albert Einstein. This title has all the perfect themes of wonder, curiosity and thinking outside of the box.
The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić
This is an important story of what we miss by not being in the moment. How many beautiful experiences are lost on us as we rush through our days? Based on a true event where famous musician Joshua Bell played in the metro and was basically ignored. My students shared reviews here.
The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
History, stories and memories told through unveiling of various contents of a number of matchboxes. Perfect to inspire storytelling between the generations.
Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin
Full of quotes to read, share and ponder. Love the message that peace needs to be everywhere (in our hearts, homes, schools, countries . . .) in order to impact peace everywhere else.
Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Gorgeous. Want to reveal how math is all around us? This is the book to do it. There is counting and estimating and wondering and a whole bunch of other mathematical applications – in addition to being a beautifully illustrated books with lots of fascinating animal facts.
The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty
Know a family with a new baby? Give them this beautiful book which sends the message loud and clear – we all need to be raised with daily read aloud moments.
Once Upon a Northern Night written by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Lyrical, soothing and visually beautiful. Let the text lull you to sleep with dreams of the magic and quiet of winter. A perfect book to celebrate this coldest of seasons.
Journey by Aaron Becker
Grab your imagination and enter a magical world where anything might happen. A wordless treasure.
Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Papa models the curiosity and persistence of an inventor. This book is “almost true” based on the life of Lodner Phillips who really did build The Whitefish, an actual functioning submarine.
Count the Monkeys written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Because we all need to laugh together! Interactive. Will make you want to leap out of your chair in delight! Giggle, giggle, giggle.
My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Children love to hear about what it was like when they were a baby. This nonfiction title reveals what the first moments are like for different animals. So much to discuss.
Books are gifts to treasure! This season give books!