Buying books for kids is about as much fun as Christmas shopping gets. A book is fun, inexpensive, easy to store and – of course – educational. It ticks every gift-giving box I know. That said, the choice is extraordinary, so here are a few of my top picks.
Babies and toddlers: 0-3
Where is Galah? by Sally Morgan
An eye-poppingly gorgeous introduction for 0-3 year olds to the sights and sounds of the Australian bush.
A powerhouse picture book about friendship for 0-3 year olds of either gender, which is big on impact and short on words.
Picture Books for Pre-schoolers and Early Readers: 3-7
The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
It’s not often a sequel matches the original, but this book is the exception. The crayons are back, and kids aged 3-8 will find them more hilarious than ever.
A World of Your Own, Laura Carlin
A creative picture book which is sure to get kids thinking about the kind of world they live in, and the one they want to live in. And all you need to make it happen? A box of pencils!
Early and Emerging Readers: 5-9
Make Believe: Reading With Phonics
Fabulous fairy-tale-based series of ‘readers’ designed to build skills and confidence in early readers.
Weir Do: Extra Weird, by Anh Do, Illustrations by Jules Faber
Australian comedian Anh Do brings his trademark humour to children’s ‘chapter books’ with a series that’s sure to entertain the 6-9 year olds.
The Hey Jack, and Billie B Brown series, by Sally Rippin
Perfect chapter books for emerging readers around 6-9 years old, featuring feisty tomboy Billie B and her best friend and next door neighbour, Jack.
For Middle Grade Readers Aged 9-13
So, I have made a New Years Resolution, and that is to read more books for middle-grade readers next year! Now, although I haven’t read in this age-group this year, I can still happily recommend AL Tait’s, The Mapmaker Chronicles, anything in the Wimpy Kid series, and perhaps a dip back into the classics – some Roald Dahl goes down a treat with this age group. Of course, I can’t go without mentioning the sell-out hit (or hits) of the year, which is Andy Griffith’s Treehouse series. The 65-Storey Treehouse this year became the fastest selling book of the decade. It’s hard to argue with a stat like that.
For Young Adults Aged 14+
Heart, complexity, wit and intelligence make this so much more than an Australian ‘Mean Girls’. This book was longlisted for the Stella Prize, Australia’s most prestigious liteary prize for women writers, and it’s easy to see why.
Clancy of the Undertow, by Christopher Currie
A beautiful cover is matched by terrific story-telling in this coming-of-age story of the smart and funny, Clancy. Funny and heartfelt and perfect for the over 15s.
Illuminae, by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff
As a rule, I don’t read fantasy or sci-fi, but I have to mention this book because the buzz around it has been so massive, and Brad Pitt’s film company has optioned it. So, it must be OK, right? Anyway, the fantasy fan in your household will absolutely appreciate you getting them the hottest book of the Summer.