Best books to give as gifts for the holidays

oh-no-candace-flemingPurchasing books for a loved one can be a tricky endeavor. Will she like it? Will he read it? Does she already own it?

This holiday season, whether you’re seeking a gift for the office exchange or your picky 14-year-old niece, York County librarians have a few suggestions.

For kids

Younger kids should enjoy the interactive aspects of “Oh, No!” by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eric Rohmann, said Deborah Van de Castle, director of branch services for the York County Library System.

The read-aloud book “will have children exclaiming ‘Oh, no!’ each time an animal takes a tumble into a deep, dark hole,” Van de Castle said.

Other titles she recommends for children 3 to 4 years and older include “Charley’s First Night” by Amy Hest and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, a tale of a child’s first experience caring for a puppy; and “Life-Size Farm” by Teruyuki Komiya, with fun facts and life-size photos of farm animals.

And, don’t forget the classics.

“The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats, first published in 1962 and winner of the 1963 Caldecott Medal, “never fails to enchant parents and children as Peter experiences the joys of a snow day,” Van de Castle said.

For an older child who classifies himself or herself as a bookworm, she recommends “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” by Chris Grabenstein, which tells the story of a boy who wins one of 12 coveted slots in a library sleepover.

“This library was built by Luigi Lemoncello, the world’s most famous gamemaker, and participants can’t escape the library until they solve the puzzle and win this real-life game,” Van de Castle said.

"Bone Season" by Samantha ShannonFor teens

What’s the newest series for a teen formerly obsessed with “Twilight” or “The Hunger Games”?

According to Nancy Duncan, youth services program coordinator at Red Land Community Library, it’s “The Bone Season,” by Samantha Shannon. The first title, released in August as the beginning of a seven-book series, follows a young girl imprisoned in a dystopian society set in 2059.

Along the same dystopian veins is “Allegiant,” the third book in a series by Veronica Roth that is being adapted for film.

“Another book coming out as a movie is ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak,” Duncan said. The novel, first published in 2005, tells of a teen girl in Nazi Germany who learns to read through stolen books.

Alien- and zombie-obsessed readers might be intrigued by “The 5th Wave” by Rick Yancey — “Aliens are among us!” Duncan said — “This Is Not A Test” by Courtney Summers or “Surviving the Zombie Outbreak” by Gerald Kielpinski and Brian Gleisberg.

“Always be prepared,” Duncan added.

For teens who swoon over romance novels, she suggested “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell, a story of first love between misfits.

Enders Game by Orson Scott CardFor adults

Adult readers are often attracted by best-sellers, which this year means E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades” series and Dan Brown’s “Inferno,” said Gina Mumaw, centralized collection manager for the York County Library System.

As with teens, books to hit the big screen are always popular as well.

“We see a surge in circulation for these titles,” Mumaw said, adding that “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, “The Wolf of Wall Street” by Jordan Belfort and “The Monuments Men” by Robert M. Edsel are just some of the holiday season releases expected.

If you have an amateur chef in the family or workplace, niche cookbooks are often well-received, too, Mumaw said. Organic, vegetarian, home-brewed beer, gluten-free baking and cake decorating are just some of the trends she’s noticed.

“Well-known chefs — those with their own cooking show and those specific to a network” are also in high demand, she added.

Mumaw also offered one word of caution: Although biographies are often purchased as gifts, they’re also time-sensitive.

“These types of books should be purchased closer to giving time,” she said. “The most relevant (titles) are the most popular.”

About Sarah Chain

I'm an avid reader and book lover living and working in downtown York. Follow me on Twitter at @sarahEchain.
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One Response to Best books to give as gifts for the holidays

  1. Pingback: Book Buzz | Review: ‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell

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