As regular readers will know, I review lots of books for children and parents on this blog. Which means I read a lot of books too! So, in my continual efforts to make your busy lives just that little bit easier, I have done all the hard work for you and come up with a Christmas list of the best books to buy for all the children and parents in your life. Think of it as my Christmas gift to you 🙂
For teenage girls
It has to be Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. It’s just brilliant, trust me. And while you’re at it, buy a copy for your sister and best friend too. It’s technically a ‘Young Adult’ book, but it was the best book I’d read all year when I discovered it. (See Best brave novels to inspire your teenage daughter for more suggestions).
For teenage boys
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. This is a challenging read in terms of the language, the historical setting and the harrowing emotions. But there is so much in here to appeal to boys (who, let’s face it, wouldn’t otherwise touch an historical love story with a barge pole!). A wonderful treatise on what it means to be a man and what it feels like to experience loss and war and have a deep bonded relationship. (See Best books for teenage boys for alternative suggestions).
For new dads
The Psychology of Babies by Lynne Murray is as close to an under-the-bonnet handbook of what makes babies tick as it’s possible to get. This fabulous book recreates classic developmental psychology experiments in an easy-to-follow photo format specifically designed to support parents in decoding babies’ behaviour and understanding why babies do the things they do. It won’t teach you how to sterilise a bottle or when to wean but it will fill you with admiration for the wonders of babies’ development and help you understand what they are thinking/saying before they can tell you in words.
For first time mums/mums-to-be
Life After Birth by Kate Figes is one of those books that is passed like a secret handshake from new mother to new mother. It was bought for me by a friend who had her baby a few years before me. “This book saved my life,” she said. “Don’t read it until after the birth, though. It won’t make sense.” I have since bought it many times for first time mums and passed it on with almost exactly the same words. This isn’t a book that gives advice. It doesn’t tell you to do anything or not to do anything. It’s just a collection of voices. Of different women talking about their own personal experiences of becoming a mother. About their feelings for their baby, about going back to work, about their relationships with their partners post-birth. About love and hostility, guilt and joy. This book saved my life.
For boys who hate reading
Samurai by Ian Beck is a bit gruesome but truly gripping – perfect for a generation used to sword-wielding X-box games. Even if he has never shown an interest in books before or just struggles with reading, this may be the book to light your tween boy’s fire and open his eyes to just how exciting books can be! From the dyslexia-friendly Barrington Stoke publisher. (See Books to make boys love reading for more ideas)
For little princesses with attitude
Every little girl should be read The Paper Bag Princess! It’s funny, well-written, with great illustrations and a powerful message that princesses (aka women in general) can be resourceful and resilient and do not have to put up with rubbish from their princes! Choose the paperback version (not the board book) for the full story. The Paper Bag Princess is by Robert Munsch.
For boys who dare to be different
Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different (by Ben Brooks) is the go-to book for counter-stereotypical stories about men and boys. It’s packed with 100 inspiring stories about real men from every walk of life (famous and not-so-famous) who were rule-breakers and innovators and who achieved success in ways that don’t conform to narrow versions of masculinity. Every home should have a copy. You could also check out The Good Guys: 50 Heroes Who Changed the World with Kindness (by Rob Kemp).
For parents of teenagers
Get Out of My Life by Tony Wolf and Suzanne Franks is perfect for parents who have woken up one day to find an alien teenager in the house. It’s also very funny, which is a fabulous antidote to teenage conflict and rejection. Laugh and it doesn’t hurt nearly so much! (See Books on parenting teenagers for more ideas).
For the whole family
The Board Game Family by Ellie Dix will hep you turn your annual Boxing Day board game into a regular fixture in your family time. Perfect for low tech fun family time all year round!
This is not a sponsored post – these are all books that I personally recommend. It does however contain affiliate links which means that if you click through and buy the book from Amazon, I receive a small commission (see Disclosure Notice for more info).
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