Sunday, December 5, 2010

When the choice is yours

I'm a big proponent of letting kids be involved in their own reading choices. But it doesn't always work that way, and this time of year, people of all ages get choices made for them. That's part of the fun.

If you come to the kids' section and ask me for gift suggestions for a blank-year-old, I'm going to ask you what you know about the child's interests and/or other books he or she likes. But I'm also going to point you toward our Best Gifts Ever section, which is full of books that we booksellers just think are awesome, divided by suggested grade level.

When I was ten, a co-worker of my dad's gave me a couple of books. One of them looked kind of boring from the cover, so I read it first to save the more interesting-looking reads for later. Well, that dull-looking book turned out to be From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. It had kids running away from home, managing on their own, and discovering things adults hadn't discovered. (Tip: Kids tend to love books about other kids who run away from home, manage on their own, or discover things adults haven't discovered.)

My point? Besides that thing about books and covers that you probably already know? Gifts are a great, low-pressure way to introduce readers to new books. So when in doubt, give a book that's just awesome.

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