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Education Matters

The Gift of Reading

November 1st, 2015

By Candice Putnam

The holiday season can be crazy and stressful, and much of this stress comes from the pressure of finding the perfect gift for each of the special people in your life (and not spending a fortune!). This can take away from what the holidays are really about -- spending time with family and friends, honouring family traditions (and making new ones!), and creating lasting memories.

A few years back, after my family and I grew tired of spending endless hours pacing the busy mall trying to think of gift ideas, we came up with a new approach to gift-giving. It is much simpler, much less expensive, and much more enjoyable for us all: we buy each other books for Christmas, and nothing else. Okay, we do make a few exceptions for the little ones, but EVERYONE gets new books! Every year I look forward to seeing what each person chooses for me (leading to a very big “To-Be-Read” pile!), and I absolutely LOVE choosing books for everyone in my family. And so, our new family tradition was born, and we are never going back!

As the Manager of Red Deer Public Library’s Timberlands Branch, I get to choose books for everyone in Red Deer -- from babies to adults -- to enjoy, so I come across many books in my day-to-day life. If you are looking for the perfect gift for the book lover in your family, here are a few of my favourites for each age group.

And don’t forget -- while it’s fun to buy books as Christmas gifts, children can get a FREE library card at Red Deer Public Library to enjoy the gift of reading all year round!

Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown - A classic! There is nothing cuter than hearing your toddler say “Night!” on every page.

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers - The much-anticipated sequel to The Day the Crayons Quit.

Polar Bear’s Underwear by Tupera Tupera - Kids will love helping Polar Bear find his underwear!

Elementary & Middle School Children

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier - Raina and her little sister always seem to be fighting. But in this graphic novel memoir, Raina reflects on what it truly means to be sisters, and how much they need each other.

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo - An adorable tale of an unlikely pair: a cynical pre-teen and a superhero squirrel! This book is part novel, part graphic novel.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan - An intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.

Young Adults

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - Anyone who loved Fangirl will love this follow-up novel!

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story.

Another Day by David Levithan - This companion novel to Every Day tells the other side of the story…


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - This was our 2015 Red Deer Reads book! An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - A profound and compelling portrait of two French sisters living in a city under siege at the dawn of WWII.

Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book by Johanna Basford - Adult colouring has become so popular! We even have a “Colouring Time for Adults” program on the first Thursday of each month at the Downtown Branch!

Candice Putnam is the Manager of Red Deer Library’s Timberlands Branch.


Tags: advice, Books

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