Here are a few ideas for great books to give as Christmas presents if you’re still shopping. These books qualify as great gifts because they’re the type your daughters will want to read again and again.
1. Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl. I’ve read these books more than once and so has my husband and both of my daughters. It’s a pretty tall order to find something that we all enjoy more than once. Dahl’s stories of his life growing up and his young adulthood in Africa and as a pilot in World War II are fascinating historically. They also give a glimpse into the mind of this author who wrote so many original books for children. They’re both fairly small, so they can be read quickly.
2. Framed and Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce. You’ll fall in love with the protagonists of both of these books. Again, everyone in my family enjoyed them. Millions tells the bittersweet story of young, innocent Damian who has recently lost his mother. He and his brother Anthony as well as their Dad are struggling to figure out what life without her means. When Damian finds a duffel of money that drops out of the sky, he believes it is a gift from God, and he must spend it helping the poor. Anthony has different ideas, and while the tension rises throughout the book as the reader knows a resolution must come, it’s all very lighthearted and touching. Framed tells the story of Dylan and his small town in Wales where people are moving out in droves to look for better opportunities elsewhere. When art from the National Museum arrives for storing in the caves outside of town, the reader follows the path of redemption the art brings to the town.
3. West with the Night by Beryl Markham should be on every older girls bookshelf. Markham was the first person to fly solo from Europe to North America, and her story of being an aviatrix in the early 1900s is fascinating. She grew up in Africa with her father, and she knew other well known people such as Denys Finch-Hatton from Out of Africa fame. Her stories of boar and elephant hunts, flying over desert terrain and other stories of African bush life are fascinating to read.
4. Firestarters, 100 Job Profiles to Inspire Young Women by Kelly Beatty and Dale Salvaggio Bradshaw is a great book to help girls explore careers. Everything from the traditional to the non-traditional is included in this book that is easy to digest in bites.
5. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.D. White is wonderful for younger readers. The story of a Louis, a mute trumpeter swan who learns how to make his way in the world is sweet and inspiring.
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is another book that appeals to a broad range of people. My husband, my older daughter and I all rank it as one of the best books we’ve ever read. Zusak’s writing is so original that I found myself reading the tale slowly to savor every word. The story takes place in Nazi Germany during World War II, and it follows the exploits of Leisel, an orphan living with foster parents near Munich.
Here’s a list of other book club favorites to consider:
- A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck.
- Bloomability by Sharon Creech.
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.
- Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang.
- Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
- Zlata’s Diary by Zlata Fililpovic
- I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
- Light Years by Tamar Stein
You can shop online for all of these titles at my favorite bookstore, Powell’s, at www.powells.com.