Saturday, December 06, 2008

Books as Gifts

Over the past few days, there have been numerous articles in newspapers and magazines about the forthcoming (here already?) Christmas buying rush. Or the fact that everyone is expecting there will be no buying rush this year and many shops and businesses will go under, or at the very least, make huge losses. Here in Australia, the government has given people on pensions and benefits (but not the dole - obviously you are still being labelled bludgers and deserve nothing!) a big bonus of $1000+ to inspire you to spend up big as Present Day approaches.

Well, boring old me would be taking that $1000 (which I won't be eligible for) and putting it towards my house, rather than running out to KMart or Myer and having a little shopping spree, but it seems most of "those who are supposed to know these things" think everyone is going to go berserk and buy, buy, buy. When you add in the lower price of petrol and reduced mortgage rates, of course we all now suddenly have hundreds of extra dollars to splurge. (Never mind those whose Xmas present from their employer was a goodbye letter - even where I work, there are plenty of those letters going out tomorrow.)

Anyway, in all of these reports about what the predicters predict we'll all be spending our money on, every list I have seen so far has included books. BOOKS!!! Good gracious, they'll be telling us everyone is going to be reading them next. All jokes aside, I am pretty happy that books are finally being recognised, as one pundit put it, as a value gift. One that lasts. One that can be "used" over and over by different family members. One that gives hours of enjoyment, not just a couple of minutes before it breaks into twenty pieces. Yaaaayyyyy!!!

I have joined the "books as gifts" tribe (OK, I was a founding member from way back) and been buying them for little family members, as well as recommending my own - as you do - to others who might be interested. I'm also planning to donate some copies of my own books to the Wishing Tree. And to all of you who love children's books and already know you will be buying them as gifts this year, can I make a plea? Please don't wander into a bookshop and ask the assistant for a recommendation. It's 90% certain you will be handed something that is considered a "classic" or something by a celebrity. They don't need your purchasing power! Please either ask writer friends for recommendations on new books and authors, or take the time to sit in the children's section and do some reading.

My recommendations for picture books are: anything by Emily Gravett, especially Wolves or Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears; It's Not a Box by Antoinette Portis; anything by Mo Willems (my current favourites are Knuffle Bunny 1 & 2); anything by Bob Graham; Dougall the Garbage Dump Bear by Matt Dray; Dust by Colin Thompson and 13 others. And if you want a wider selection to amble through, look at the CBCA Notables List.
There really are so many wonderful picture books out there that never get a guernsey, never get even a small mention - all you have to do is spend a very enjoyable hour or two reading to find some new favourites of your own!


Anonymous said...

Books make the most perfect gift. I always ask for books for Xmas and my birthday (also in Dec). And I absolutely hoard books. I still have treasured books from when I was a girl. I loved all Robyn Klein books, can't wait to share the ones that I own with my daughter who incidentally loves 'Knuffle Bunny' still at 7 years old. Has always been a favourite. My son discovered Julia Jarman's The time travelling cat and now wants to collect all the books in the series. I am not looking forward to the day when my kids outgrow the picture books.

Sherryl said...

But look at it this way, Cathy - when your kids grow out of them, then they all become YOURS!
Half of my collection of children's books used to be my daughter's, but now they all belong to me. I let her borrow them sometimes...
Only kidding. Sort of. It's great to have a family collection that everyone can share.