As promised, today’s post will offer fictional gift suggestions. Let me say at the outset, that most of these books fit into the “classic” category. They are tried and true reads that have delighted readers for years. Check them out and see if they would be a good fit for a youngster (or even adult) on your list.
Keep in mind that rich fictional literature is a mirror to real life. It enables the reader to try on and reflect upon different identities and worlds, to build compassion, to consider another’s perspective and to lose oneself within the pages of an engrossing tale. Lots of bang for your buck with a gift like this!
FICTIONAL GIFT SUGGESTIONS
From One Experience to Another (edited by M. Jerry Weiss and Helen S. Weiss: I first became acquainted with this anthology when I taught middle school. Anytime, I was searching for a story that would reel in the kids and keep their attention, anytime I wanted a story that would generate discussion, this was my go-to book. Although these tales were published several years ago, they are chock full of great writing, include humor, and provide food for thought. If you purchase this book, be sure to read “The Truth About Sharks” by Joan Bauer, one of my all-time favorites!
Eight plus 1 by Robert Cormier If you’ve ever read The Chocolate War, Cormier’s most famous book, you know that Robert Cormier is a talented writer of young adult fiction. This anthology contains a mix of poignant and funny tales that take the reader back to an earlier era (1950’s). The messages, however, are timeless and the stories stay with you long after you close the book. This is a winning gift for youngsters in grade six or above.
Home for Christmas, Stories for Young and Old is a wonderful holiday treasure with stories by a plethora of famous authors.
HISTORICAL FICTION The issue of racism still dominates the news. Both of these books, engage readers and paint a realistic picture of being in the minority. They are classic books that handle this sensitive topic with humor and grace. Both of these books would make great family read-alouds and are guaranteed to spark questions and discussion. Check out Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor and The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Paul Curtis.
FANTASY I must admit, fantasy is not my favorite genre. However, most of the students I’ve had through the years absolutely love it. Today, there is an abundance of creative fantasy out there geared to upper elementary and middle school kids. Many of the popular fantasy texts are series. Purchase the first one and watch even reluctant readers gobble up the rest. Both the Golden Compass series by Phillip Pullman and of course, the Harry Potter series are great gift books that will whet the appetite for more.
CLASSIC TALES There are just certain books that never go out of date. The writing, the setting, the characters and the theme permanently enbed themselves in the heart and mind of the reader. Treat the kids on your guest list to one of these unforgettable tales: Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Pippi Longstocking, Little House on the Prairie, Robin Hood, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and Black Beauty.
Hope these gift suggestions allow you to spend less time shopping and more time reading!