Recommended literature for the 2015 Holidays

We are always surprised that all our friends do not spend their days reading picture books or books written for K-12 kids.  It appears that staff here at the Doucette are a special bunch of characters who read funny picture books, graphic novels, teenage angst and adventure, pretty much the same way we breathe. 

At this time of year especially, Tammy and I are often asked for recommendations for good gift books for kids.  We usually respond by email, listing scads of books we love.  This year, we did it up properly and spent a whole afternoon at Chapters, searching for just right books for all the kids in your life.  Watch for the movie version next year, as we video our frank discussion of good and bad, interesting and not, while slurping a festive drink.  The result of our one afternoon at the store and some other recent reads will be published over the next 4 days.  Day 1, today, will contain lists from Pre-K to High School crossing into Adult books.  These books are all fiction books.

Day 1.      Picture books
                Middle grade novels
                Young Adult novels
                Crossovers: adult books for teens

Books suggested on days 2 to 4 usually have more than one grade-level attached to it and are divided into categories including “Making and Doing, “ “Fan-based Lit,” and “Subversive Choices for the Holidays.” These titles will be a mixture of fiction and non-fiction.

Each title is linked to the Chapters website for further information and quick ordering if you are doing it soon.   For you last minute folks, the listing will let you know that your nearby Chapters has 0 copies but the one in Chinook has 10.

Day 2.     Hard-to-buy-for
Making &Doing
                Play, Play, Play
                Pretty Pictures

Day 3.     Chick lit
                Guy lit
                Fan-based lit

Day 4.     Christmas books
                Advice for the ages
                The subversive Grinch

Happy Holidays and enjoy your families at this special time of year,
Tammy and Paula

Christmas Books
We not of the “naughty or nice” Christmas custom but we thought we should add a couple for good cheer.

            *grades K-3 *ugly sweaters *picture books *humour 

           *grades K-3 *Canadian *picture book *humour 

            *grades K-3*Christmas *picture books *plasticine art 

            *grade 7-up * short stories *Christmas

Advice for the Ages
For those on your list who need a little advice.  From the very young to the older student, we can all use a little social story to help up when the going gets tough.  These are a few suggestions…

            *high school*social media *articles  *life lessons *advice

            *grades preK-4 *humour *life lessons

            *grades K-3 *humour *belonging *picture book

           *grades K-3 *building things *inventing *creativity *life lessons 

The Subversive Grinch
These few titles seemed to imbue a certain anti-Christmas, hipster vibe that didn’t necessarily fit in other categories.  So if the schmaltz of the season is getting to you one of these may be an antidote.

                *high school *art *counter culture *parody

                *high school *art *journals *free-spirit *travel *writing

                *grades 3-6 *novel *humour

                *high school *art *body art 

Chick Lit

This is a great category for those “girl” readers in your life! Spanning pre-K to adults, we have chosen something for everyone and, of course, slipped in some of our favourites…

            *non-fiction * autobiography *memoirs *education *grades 6-9

            *classic *adventure *humour *nonsense *150th Anniversary *new edition

            *Canadian *grades 5 and up *adventure *fiction *classic *new edition

            *non-fiction *crossover

            *grade 7-up *geeks *non-fiction *humour

            *grades K-4 *princess books *humour

            *graphic novel *grade 7 and up *fantasy

            *graphic novel *grade 7 and up *humour

            *fiction *Canadian *collection *humour *grades K-3

            *grade 5 and up *fiction *sisters*classic *new edition

            *grades K-4 *princess books *humour

            *Canadian *grades K-3 *humour *rhyming

            *grades 2-5 *humour *series

Guy Lit

Boys can be a difficult group of readers to buy for. We’ve included a few nonfiction titles plus several books that should tickle the bathroom-humour funny bone.  A couple of the books were selected with an eye to those guys who are so into gaming that the only way to get them to read something other than gaming manuals would be to give them books about gaming. Good luck.

            *high school, adult crossover *hockey *sports *memoirs *Canadian

            *high school, adult crossover *hockey *sports *Alberta

            *grades K-4 *picture book *art *imagination *fiction & nonfiction *memoirs

            *grades 3-7 *novel *humour *science *inventions

            *grades 7 and up *novel *gaming *computers *suspense-fully creepy *mystery

            *grades 4-7 *mystery *suspenseful

            *grades 7 and up *gaming *computers *dystopias

            *grades 8 and up *nonfiction *physics *astronomy *space exploration *science

            *grades K-3 *picture book *boys *digging *deep hole *treasure *humorous

Fan-Based Lit

It doesn’t matter what these people write, people will buy ‘em and read ‘em.  We all have our favorite authors that we’ll follow through hell and back if it means staying loyal.

                *grades 10 and up *contemporary *mystery *romance*monsters *magic – oh, my!

                *grades 10 and up *adult crossover *tv *historical

                *grade 7 and up *short stories *contemporary *love *kissing *humour

                *grade 7 and up *contemporary *romance *adventure *humour

                *grades 9 and up *fantasy *sequel/companion book *dragons *Canadian

                *grades 9 and up *contemporary *mystery *relationships *footnotes! *Canadian

                *grades 9 and up *fantasy *heroes *powers

Hard –to-buy-for…

Seeking a book for someone who is hard to buy for, look through this list for some great fact books, trivia and interesting topics.

            *all ages *trivia *outrageous *browser

            *all ages *trivia *outrageous *browser

            *grades 3-6 *trivia *browser

            *grades 3-8*browser *facts *science

            *grades 8 and up *animals *environmental interest * nature

            *social media *dogs * humour *all ages

            *high school and adult *science *humour *browser *social media

            *grade 7-up *geeks *non-fiction *humour

 Making & Doing

Just to prove that we have diverse tastes and that it’s not ALWAYS about reading we’ve included a few books that take a more hands approach.   Make way!

*grades 6 and up *trends *colouring books *because ‘everybody’ is doing it *hobbies

*high school *stories with related projects *building things *crafts *hobbies

                *grades 6 and up *building things *hobbies *crafts

                *young adult *cookbooks *cooking

                *grades 5-8 *building things *hobbies *crafts

                *grades 2-6 *writing *creativity *art *stories *poems

                *young adults *cookbooks *cooking *keeping it real

Pretty Pictures

We love coffee table books so we naturally assume everyone else does, too.  With that in mind we selected a variety of titles that have photographs, illustrations or maps that should capture the attention of the most inattentive viewer.

                *all ages *coffee table books *photos *building things

                *grades 3 and up; all ages (for those who just can’t let the boy wizard go) *illustrated novel *fiction *fantasy

                *all ages *coffee table books *photos *animals

                *high school crossover *geography

                *high school *coffee table books *photos

                *all ages *coffee table books *photos *animals

Play, Play, Play

All of the following books have an interactive component. The Book with the Hole is a little off the beaten track but well worth finding as its loads of entertainment figuring out what could possibly fill that hole on each 2-page spread. Polar is also a favorite with fabulous moving images.

                *grades 1-6 *imaginative *fun, fun, fun

                *grades K-6 *optical illusions

                *grades 3-6 *interactive (cool chain game) *art *artists

                *all ages *optical illusions *animals *moving images
Picture Books – PreK-Grade 3
What a great way to have a before bed chat with your kids or to quiet the pace during the day. We love funny picture books but we tried to add variety to the list.  Looking for a downer, they are all in YA (young adults), not a one in Picture Books.

*humour *fiction *read aloud
                *wordless *fiction *adventure
                *animal stories *fiction *read aloud
               *animal stories *non-fiction
                *creativity *Canadian 

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by M. Barnett
                *adventure *life lessons *humour
                  *humour *nonsense *read aloud
                  *adventure *creativity *invention *humour
                   *humour *read aloud *identity *belonging
                  *belonging *identity *read aloud *humour
             *humour *identity *fiction  *life lessons

Middle grade – Upper Elementary/Junior High – Grades 5 to 8 or 9

There are SO many terrific titles for this age range.  It was very difficult to list just these few. There’s something here for everyone – funny, scary, mysterious.

                *magic realism *fantasy *touching story

                *graphic novel *short stories *adventures *fantasy

                *animals *fantasy *dreams*touching story

                *historical *contemporary *storytelling *gold-gilt edges!! *touching story *illustrated

                *contemporary *magic realism *suspenseful *little creepy *Canadian

                *loved the cover *adventure *humour

                *animals *adventures *dreams *touching story 

                *contemporary *friendship *grief

                *contemporary *latest-in-series *humour *illustrated in scrapbook style

                *loved the cover *historical *mystery *illustrated

YA – Young Adult – Teens – High School Novels

Okay, young people typically like stories that are intense, suspenseful, dramatic and otherwise fraught.

Which is good because going by this list there seems to be a fair amount of each of these.  Obsessions, dysfunctional families and mental illness predominates here.  But these are the titles that are getting rave reviews.  Check The Prom Goer’s Interstellar Excursion or Hold Me closer for lighter reads.

                *grade 10 and up *contemporary *friendship *romance *mental illness

                *grade 9 and up *historical *war *suspenseful

                *grade 9 and up *contemporary *historical *war *mystery *Canadian

                *grade 10 and up *contemporary * romance

                *grade 7 and up *historical *coming-of-age

                *follow up to Will Grayson, Will Grayson *humour *musicals

                *grade 9 and up *award winner *art * suspenseful *fractious siblings *ghostly mother?

                *grade 9 and up *contemporary *mental illness

                *grade 8 and up *contemporary *humour *fantasy *extraterrestrials

                *grade 9 and up *historical *mystery *suspenseful *betrayal *New York

*grade 9 and up *historical *fantasy *fairy tales

*grade 8 and up *contemporary *romance *mental illness *Canadian

*grade 9 and up *contemporary *suspense *mental illness

Crossovers – Adult books for teens, young adults

Picking adult books for those strong, mature readers is an interesting exercise.  We could have listed many more but decided to just remind you of books that are kind of ‘in’ because of movie or TV tie-ins, big in publishing or was a hit with a real-live, actual teenager.

                *contemporary *mystery *suspense

                *science fiction *science *suspense *against-the-odds *movies

                *fantasy *heroes *science *real-live teenager loved this

                *contemporary *nonfiction *tv

                *contemporary *suspense *movies *Canadian

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