Fave books for 2010: books for girls {+ boys} + giveaway

by kath_red on 02/12/2010

in Books

Welcome to my fave books of the year series of posts. Over the next week I will be showcasing my favourite books of the year, today and tomorrow its kids books, then next week it will be cooking, sewing, yarn and general craft books too.

These first two posts of kids books are not necessarily craft related – although there are a couple of creative books included. However as a mother of 2 veracious readers at different levels in primary school I am always on the look out for interesting, different and new books that will capture my kids imagination and enhance their love of literature and help them to think outside the box. These books are not just for kids though – since throwing out our tv a few years ago we have ‘family novel’ time in the evenings, where we take turns (well its mostly me) to read a chapter (or 2 or 3) from our current novel or series of novels. Since the children are only a couple of years apart their reading interests are not so different, and we take it in turns to choose the next book. In 2009 we read the whole Harry Potter series, then this year we read all three books in the The Mysterious Benedict Society, and have polished off quite a few others too, including some old faves like The Borrowers , and some new faves which I will tell you about in this post. And you know – we all look forward to these evening reading sessions, as the kids get older they take a turn at reading a few pages aloud, and we all sit enthralled with our evening snack (a bowl of fruit, crackers and cheese and sweet treat and pot of herbal tea or hot chocolate) and can’t wait to find out what happens next. Sometimes we are so engrossed that we forget the time and end up getting to bed late. It has become a much loved part of the whole day for everyone.

Today I will giving away a copy of 2 of these fabulous books mentioned here today to 2 readers (thank you to the publishers) so please for your chance to win, leave a comment telling me your favourite books for kids. Comments will be open for 48 hours and winners will be chosen at random and will be notified via email. (Read down for which books are up for grabs.) thank you for your great book ideas – will be having fun sifting through these in the coming weeks. Comments are now closed and the winners will be notified.

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. Yearling (2010).

The Willoughbys was a surprise hit for us, I originally bought it because I am a sucker for a cool cover. It has been described as Lemony Snicket like (but as we have not had the pleasure of reading that series of books I can’t comment). But we did find it incredibly amusing, the references to other children’s literature throughout is well done and the vocabulary is fun and and educational – with ‘old fashioned’ words like Odious, Diabolical and Affable, which are all referenced in the glossary. The four children who are the centre of the story are wonderfully written, tongue-in-cheek references, comedic moments and startling truths are played out throughout, but the best thing for me and for the kids were the delightfully shocking moments when the bossy older brother Tom would dictate various rules of the game that none of the others understood but all accepted, for example during a chess game, “only boys can play, and the girl will serve cookies each time a pawn is captured,”. Such a clever, witty book that both kids and adults will surely love.

The Mysterious Benedict Society. Trenton Lee Stewart. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; (the first in the series published in 2008, the next 2009, and the 3rd 2010)

I had heard about this book and originally just purchased the first one to see if we would like it, of course we all did, then I bought the second, and of we had to pre-order the third – we waited quite impatiently for it to arrive. A set of four unusual and clever children are sort of thrown together in a most unlikely fashion in order to solve an even more unlikely mystery, with lots of adventure and solving of puzzles along the way. What kept us on our toes with this series of books was the gentle way the mysteries kept on coming, the children’s talents were carefully revealed and their skills put to the test, and plenty of new twists revealed along the way. This series has a baddy of course who is dangerous and clever and not very nice at all. An exciting series of books that everyone in the family will love.

The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman. HarperCollins (2010).

I first bought this book because of the accolades it had won and didn’t really know what it was about, except it was a dark strange tale of a boy growing up in a graveyard and raised by ghosts. I gave it to my 8 year old boy to read (he reads above his age level and is into macabre stories) but he started to read it and found it a bit scary and so it was put away for a few months. Until we needed a new book for our family novel session and I hit upon this book on our book shelves to read. My son was correct that the first chapter (where a murder takes place) is quite creepy, but its quick and not bloody, the baddies in the book tend to be a bit shadowy, but the main character is a beguiling clever and strange boy, who we see grow up and really come to love, and the premise of the story is so interesting and different, and the various ghouls, ghosts and creatures in the dark are addictive. Don’t be put off by the fact that this is a macabre ghost story – it is age appropriate and kids and adults will both love it. + I have a copy of this book to give away – so leave a comment here to be in the running to win this book – and let me know your favourite kids story – I would love to find out about other macabre, ghoulish ghost stories for kids. comments closed – winner will be notified via email.

The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter. David Colbert. Berkley Trade (2008)

Yes this is not a 2010 book, but we only just discovered it whilst looking for more books for our Harry Potter addicted kids. There are a lot of these Harry Potter offshoot books available, and it was a minefield researching which one to get my primary school age children. Not too childish, not too theoretical – this one fit the bill perfectly. With just enough facts and interesting information about all the characters, the mythological beings, information about magic and folklore and the real historic basis for many of the characters, and creatures that are in the Harry Potter series. For young serious Harry Potter fans – this book is essential reading.

Diary of a Wimpy Vampire. Tim Collins. Michael O’Mara Books (2010)

A hilarious mash-up between those awkward romantic teen vampire books and the hugely popular graphic novel series -Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I was a bit suspicious of this book at first, but my daughter had seen some of her friends at school reading it and so when we saw it at the bookstore on special we had to buy it. And to tell you the truth, after I sat down one afternoon with my cup of tea to check it out, I was a bit addicted. Its not really a read out loud book, because of the graphic novel nature of the book, but it is a laugh-out-loud, as it is full of awkward pre-teen angst, with some funny vampire stuff thrown in as well. Fantastic book for reluctant readers, but also for any kid who likes a fun book.

The Double-Daring Book for Girls. Miriam Peskowitz. William Morrow (2009)

Like the previous book Daring Book for Girls this book is full of activities, information and how-tos on all sorts of topics that every girl will want to know – from how to dye your hair, to information on notable women astronomers, to how to conduct a Japanese tea ceremony to making your own lava lamp. My daughter loved the first book and might even love the second book more – she keeps it by her bed and flicks through reading bit here and there to get ideas and then enact those ideas the next day. + I have a copy of this book to give away. Tell me your favourite book for girls or boys, a book that sparks the imagination and is teeming with creative ideas. Leave a comment here – you have 48 hours to enter. comments closed – winner will be notified via email.

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