Can you believe it’s that time already? It seems like yesterday I was writing the 2017 version of this post (we still have all of those books by the way). As ever, I’ve gotten a little excited with my book-buying and it’s not even mid-November yet. However, I haven’t bought a single other Christmas-related thing yet. I will be running a market stall in two weeks and selling my book, Zombies Alive!, as well as some Christmas cards that I painted and some other watercolour paintings so that has been my focus so far. On that note, I still have plenty of copies of Zombies Alive! so if you have a zombie-loving or video-gaming loving youngster, order yours here.
So, what books are on my list this year? Or, more accurately, on my boys’ list?
This year, we are looking at ages eight and six, so we’re past little kid books. And while I still think that picture books are valuable and important, I rarely buy them these days (I mostly buy them for me) because we still have lots of older ones and I’m more focused on buying books that they can relate to and read again and again. High on *their* list are books like Bad Guys, Dog Man, Tom Gates and WeirDo. Those are the books that they keep coming back to for light relief. However, Mr 8’s main interest is fantasy and Mr 6 loves humour and action. In fact, Mr 8 told me just a few days ago that what he wants for Christmas is a Playstation 4 and a good book and while we’re still mulling over the PS4 (it’s a tricky one), I hope I can nail it with the good book, or two… or three… or four. We’re very much in Harry Potter mania right now so the come-down is going to be EPIC, let me tell you.
For Mr 8, I’ve selected some quality non-fiction. He is naturally an anxious boy and a deep thinker and I’m trying to teach him that this is a strength, not a weakness. I came across You Are Awesome (Matthew Syed) in Readings recently and instantly wanted it for him, to encourage him to realise that working hard is the way to be good at something as opposed to worrying about it or thinking you have to be a natural.
In a similar vein, Is Nothing Something? (Thich Nhat Hanh) caught my attention because I have read one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books on mindfulness and this one addresses kids’ big questions, including “Why is my brother mean to me?” which is particularly relevant to Mr 8. Even if he doesn’t want to read it to himself, I can read it to him or read it to myself and point out pertinent sections as needed.
Let’s Make Comics by Jess Mart Smiley is a fun and engaging “how to” with activities to gradually learn the art of making comics without a trace of perfectionism in sight. It’s perfect for this graphic-novel loving boy of mine.
I couldn’t go past Jane Doe The Cradle of All Worlds for a fictional read, I’ve read some great reviews about it and I’m hoping it’s a great next step after Harry Potter. And lastly, The Tom Gates book was added for extra fun, one of his favourite series.
Now, Mr (almost) 6 on the other hand, has a birthday coming up and is currently devouring every Treehouse, every Dog Man, every WeirDo, every Bad Guys and much more – over and over again. He’s a whirlwind kid who loves nothing more than to laugh. Finding new books for him is hard because we already have so much for his age from his brother, and I still haven’t decided what he’s getting for his birthday yet .
So for him, Knock Knock! Who’s There? was an obvious choice. This kid LOVES knock-knock jokes, though *I* may rue the day that I bought it, come boxing day!
The Never Get Bored Book by Usborne Books is brilliant, and probably should be shared by both boys. Packed with activities and things to learn, it’s one he can dip in and out of over the next few years. It contains things like how to make origami, how to make a Zine, how to make shadow puppets and MUCH, much more.
I bought Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different for Mr 8 a while ago and couldn’t resist getting High Five to the Boys for Mr 6. Again, something he can dip in and out of over time and use for research for Night of the Notables at school. I love that it contains one of his writing heroes, Andy Griffiths.
Dog Man 6, well that’s an obvious choice, it’s on Pre-Order. And lastly, The Journey Through Time combines his love of thick Geronimo Stilton books with his (continued) love of dinosaurs so I hope that keeps him happy for a while!
Well, there you have it. It’s probably far too many books but it should keep the boys going over the summer months – making comics, telling knock-knock jokes, thinking deep thoughts and laughing over Dog Man and Tom Gates. Sounds like a great way to relax after a swim at the beach or running under the sprinklers, doesn’t it? And, I hope, gives me some peace so I can get some work done.