It’s that time of year when we fill children’s stockings with books that we know will capture their imagination, making them giggle, gasp and snort…and there’s nothing like the anticipation of a new story at bedtime that makes them brush their teeth and pop their pjs on faster! (top tip from our household…you’re welcome).
Here are our faves to pop into the stockings this Christmas…
Pig the Elf by Aaron Blabey
No one loves Christmas more than Pig. And the world’s greediest Pug will stay up all night to get his presents and he has a very long list for Santa!
From the multi-award-winning picture-book creator Aaron Blabey comes another fabulous story guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. An ideal readaloud, it is perfect for teaching children about manners and Christmas spirit.
Ruby Red Shoes Goes To London by Kate Knapp
Ruby Red Shoes is a white hare who lives in a prettily painted caravan with her grandmother. Ruby is gentle and kind, cheery and enchanting. She loves animals and people, trees and nature, flowers and sunshine. Ruby is particularly partial to strawberry jam and peppermint tea. She is also rather fond of red shoes.
This is the third book in the best-selling Ruby Red Shoes series. Ruby and her grandmother love to travel and now they are in London, the home of red buses, red telephone boxes and red letter boxes. No wonder Ruby’s red shoes feel especially at home in this wonderful city!
We Found A Hat by Jon Klassen
Hold on to your hats! From the Kate Greenaway-winning creator of I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat comes the much-anticipated conclusion to the celebrated hat trilogy. Two turtles have found a hat. The hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles. And there is only one hat…Evoking hilarity and sympathy, the shifting eyes tell the tale in this perfectly paced story in three parts, highlighting Jon Klassen’s visual comedy, deceptive simplicity and deliciously deadpan humour.
Don’t Call Me Bear by Aaron Blabey
Gosh Aaron Blabey has had a super busy year, so far he’s given us the delightfully funny Pug books and the check Bad Guys books and now this wonderful book about Warren.
G’day my name is Warren, and I’ve got something to share… Just because I’m furry doesn’t mean that I’m a bear. Warren the Koala is many things: a marsupial, cute and furry, a bit of a grump, but the one thing he is not is a bear!
Marge In Charge by Isla Fisher
Jemima and Jake’s new babysitter doesn’t look too promising. In fact she looks very sensible, very old and VERY small (she only comes up to daddy’s armpit!). But the moment their parents leave the house, Marge gives a mischievous wink, takes off her hat and reveals a marvellous mane of rainbow-coloured hair! Marge really is a babysitter like no other and the children spend a wild evening with her – racing snails, slurping chocolate soup and mixing potions in the bath! But if Jake and Jemima want her to babysit again it’s time for them to take charge of Marge, tidy up and settle her down for a little sleep.
Belle and Boo and the Very Merry Christmas by Mandy Sutcliffe
Enter the charming world of Belle and Boo, a bob-haired little girl and her adorable bunny friend. Follow the adventures of this curious pair as they enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood, drawing us into a magical world of imagination and discovery. It’s almost Christmas Day. Time to decorate the tree, hang up stockings and bake delicious treats. Boo thinks the best thing about Christmas is the presents waiting for him under the tree. But, with a little help from his friend Belle, Boo learns that kindness and sharing will make for the merriest Christmas of all.
and a few for the older ones…
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling’s screenwriting debut is captured in this exciting hardcover edition of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay. When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone… Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best. Whether an existing fan or new to the wizarding world, this is a perfect addition to any reader’s bookshelf.
78 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Join Andy and Terry in their spectacular new 78-storey treehouse. They’ve added 13 new levels including a drive-through car wash, a combining machine, a scribbletorium, an ALL-BALL sports stadium, Andyland, Terrytown, a high-security potato chip storage facility and an open-air movie theatre. Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!
Pokemon Go: Diary Of A Pokemon Trainer by Red Smith
Did you know that before Ash becomes the exceptional Pokemon battler, he’s just a weak guy who hates to deal with social life and poor in handling pokemon? Everything changes when his dad who is a great Pokemon Master decides to train him personally. And you’re in luck to have the chance to discover Red’s journey and some of the hidden secret Pokemon tips from his first ever written diary.
Baby-Sitters Club Graphix #1-4 Box Set by Ann M Martin and adapted by Raina Telgemeier
Hold on to your seats…they are back…I adored these books as a child and now they are available in graphic!!! Squeal!!!
Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn are The Baby-sitters Club. Whatever comes up — cranky toddlers, huge dogs, scary neighbours, prank calls — you can count on them to save the day. Raina Telgemeier, using the signature style featured in her acclaimed graphic novels Smile and Sisters, perfectly captures all the drama and humour of the original novels by Ann M. Martin!
It’s time to crank up the Buble, pop the Christmas mince pies in the oven and settle down with a great book to get you into the Christmas mood.
We have scoured the bookstores to bring you the ultimate Christmas Holiday Reading List to get those festive feelings flowing…sit back and enjoy!
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
It’s a classic and it’s amazing! In this beautiful story Charles Dickens invents the modern concept of Christmas Spirit and offers one of the world’s most adapted and imitated stories. We know Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, not only as fictional characters, but also as icons of the true meaning of Christmas in a world still plagued with avarice and cynicism.
The Life Adventures of Santa Claus by L Frank Baum
Written by the author of The Wizard of Oz, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus tells the captivating story of Neclaus, a child found and raised in the magical Forest of Burzee by a wood-nymph. Among the imortals, Neclaus grows an innocent youth, until the day when he discovers the misery that rules the human world and hovers, like a shadow, above the heads of the children. Now, in the attempt of easing human suffering, he, with the help of his imortal friends, will have to face the forces of evil and of resignation, in order to bring joy to the children and teach them, for the sake of humanity, the importance of sharing and caring for each other.
Christmas Days: 12 stories and 12 Recipes for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson
The tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas is a tradition of celebration, sharing and giving. And what better way to do that than with a story? Read these stories by the fire, in the snow, travelling home for the holidays. Give them to friends, wrap them up for someone you love, read them aloud, read them alone, read them together. Enjoy the season of peace and goodwill, mystery, and a little bit of magic. There are ghosts here and jovial spirits. Chances at love and tricks with time. There is frost and icicles, mistletoe and sledges. There is a Christmas Tree with mysterious powers. There’s a donkey with a golden nose and a tinsel baby that talks.There’s a cat and a dog and a solid silver frog. There’s a Christmas cracker with a surprising gift inside.There’s a haunted house and a disappearing train. There are Yule-tides and holly wreaths. Three Kings. And a merry little Christmas time.
Letters from Father Christmas by JRR Tolkin
Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J. R. R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas.They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: How all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place, How the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining-room, How he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden, How there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house! Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories. From the first note to Tolkien’s eldest son in 1920 to the final poignant letter to his daughter in 1943, this book collects all the remarkable letters and pictures in one enchanting edition.
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
David Sedaris’s beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy’s elf and the annals of two very competitive families, are Sedaris’s tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (“Us and Them”); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (“Jesus Shaves”); what to do when you’ve been locked out in a snowstorm (“Let It Snow”); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations (“Six to Eight Black Men”); what Halloween at the medical examiner’s looks like (“The Monster Mash”); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry (“Cow and Turkey”).
The Gift by Cecelia Ahem
The Gift is a magical, fable-like Christmas story from Cecelia Ahern, the celebrated New York Times bestselling author of P.S. I Love You and Thanks for the Memories. The story of Lou Suffern, a successful executive frustrated by the fact that he spends more time in the office than with his doting wife and two young children, The Gift is a tantalizing tale.
Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie
Simeon Lee has demanded that all four of his sons visit the family home for Christmas. But the cantankerous patriarch has anything but a heartwarming family holiday in mind. He bedevils each of his sons with barbed insults, while at the same time lavishing attention on his very attractive, long-lost granddaughter. Finally he announces that he is cutting off his sons’ allowances and changing his will to boot. So when the old man is found lying in a pool of blood on Christmas Eve, there is no lack of suspects. Intrepid Belgian detective Hercule Poirot suspends his holiday sorting through the myriad suspects and motives to find the truth behind the old man’s death.
The Christmas Card by Dilly Court
The perfect heartwarming romance for Christmas, rich in historical detail. She turned the picture of the Christmas card over with her frozen hands, a pretty picture of a family gathering at Yuletide. How different from her own life; stiff with cold on the icy cobbles, aching for shelter . . .
When her father dies leaving Alice and her ailing mother with only his debts, the two grieving women are forced to rely on the begrudging charity of cruel Aunt Jane. Determined to rid herself of an expensive responsibility, Jane tries forcing Alice into a monstrous marriage. And when Alice refuses, she is sent to work in a grand house to earn her keep. Finding herself in sole charge of the untameable and spoilt young miss of the house, Alice’s only ally is handsome Uncle Rory, who discovers that Alice has talents beyond those of a mere servant. But when someone sets out to destroy her reputation, Alice can only pray for a little of that Christmas spirit to save her from ruin . . .
Phew…that should rid you of any grinchy feelings! Happy Reading!
There’s a subculture of book lovers who tour the world’s most beautiful bookshops. Who wouldn’t? We use beautiful in the figurative sense because although some of these bookshops are breathtakingly beautiful (such as Liberia El Ateneo Grand Splendid), others like the Honesty Bookshop are striking in their simplicity. Here are our recommendations for a virtual tour of the world’s most beautiful bookshops:
Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina
What’s more amazing than a bookshop built from a disused theatre? Theatre boxes are used as reading rooms, there are comfy couches scattered throughout the area and many of the original features are intact. We love that the red stage curtain is a centrepiece, which adds a touch of theatre to the room. Walls feature intricate carvings and the ceiling contains beautifully painted murals. Buenos Aires appears to be a city for bookworms with many snug cafes encouraging a love of reading. We can’t wait to visit…
Poplar Kids Republic, Beijing, China
If you’re designing a bookstore for children, there’s a great opportunity to play with structure, design and colour. Well, this bookshop in Beijing, China, completely nails the brief. There are a ton of interesting areas for children to explore the wide range of books and to find a comfy spot in which to read them. Opened by the Beijing POPLAR Culture project, the premise of the building was to encourage cultural awareness, with a focus on multicultural picture books. Designed by SAKO Architects, this organic and maze-like bookshop turns the idea of the conventional bookstore on it’s head as it is built around the needs of it’s customers. A+.
Cafebreria El Pendulo, Mexico City, Mexico
Image from mnn.com
Books, coffee and gardening! Whoever designed this bookshop certainly took into account some of my favourite things! Named after the pendulum that hangs from the ceiling, customers are invited to give it a nudge as they pass by, which allows it to swing back and forth, making patterns in the sand as it does. This double-level cafe houses books in both Spanish and English in shelves that are packed to the brim! Casually laid-out, books are placed in piles on the floor, giving the cafe a lovely casual atmosphere. Containing novelty gifts as well as books, DVD’s and CD’s, the friendly staff are on hand to offer some assistance in selecting the perfect gift.
Corso Como Bookshop, Milan, Italy
Image from Pinterest
10 Corso Como resembles an art gallery in it’s most minimalist sense. Designed by American artist Kris Ruhs, it’s becoming an institution with outlets now also in Tokyo, Shanghai and Seoul. A shopping and dining complex, it offers a range of shops that display works of art, fashion, food, design and other cultural elements. Hosting a wide range of events and exhibitions, 10 Corso Como is a regular haunt of the culture vulture!
Honesty Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye
Image from Nexxo
For some reason, the small Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye is a hub of bookshops and literature-related events. Its literature festival was described by the then US President Bill Clinton as “the Woodstock of the mind”. Housing over 30 bookshops in narrow streets, many tour groups offer tours to this fabulous little town. We love the Honesty Bookshop, which is basically sets of aged shelves full of books that can be purchased with a donation. All funds go towards the restoration of the town’s Norman castle – whose grounds house the Honesty Bookshop. Such a beautifully simple little shop!
Shakespeare and Company, Paris
Image from Shakespeareandcompany.com
“Be Not Inhospitable to Strangers Lest They Be Angels in Disguise,” is the theme of the bookshop; it’s written above the entrance to the reading library. So strangers do come – some of them sleep in beds tucked behind the bookshelves, often helping out around the bookshop in place of board. Since opening, an astounding 30,000 people have slept in the bookstore. Quite often they are artists and aspiring writers who make Shakespeare and Co their home for a while. For these reasons, we feel this bookshop is quite extraordinary.
Shakespeare and Company is actually the name of two different bookstores that have opened on Paris’ Left Bank. The first one closed during WW2 but was, in its day, a gathering place for such imminent writers as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce. The second still operates today at 37 rue de la Bûcherie. Operating as an antiquarian bookseller, selling new and second hand books, it also doubles as a free reading library to the public.
August usually brings new releases in thrillers, sports biographies and political/military history – typical “Father’s Day Gift” books. But what if your dad is not a typical Dad? This year, Team Booko has looked further, to see what other interesting titles we can find. So here’s our pick of quirky, challenging and absorbing reads for the thoughtful, intellectual and playful Not-Average-Dads out there.
Dads are the Original Hipsters by Brad Getty
Help your dad relive his youth with this collection of photos from the 60s, 70s and 80s, which comprehensively show that dads are the original hipsters. See these vintage dads grow big beards, ride fixies, listen to vinyl, wear tight jeans, thick-rimmed glasses, and drink home brew (craft beer!). The snarky captions lovingly make fun of modern hipsters (and dads). Dads are the Original Hipsters started life as a blog (a modern badge of quality – only the most successful blogs get book deals) and it screams “Father’s Day novelty gift” – in an ironic way, of course. Lots of fun for dads and kids of a certain age, and for new hipster dads too!
Reservoir Dad by Clint Greagan
Reservoir Dad is another successful blog-turned-book. Clint Greagan is a stay-at-home dad who has spent the last ten years tending to four young sons and a prize-winning blog. Reservoir Dad is a record of those ten years – the funny bits, the sentimental bits, the gross bits and the frustrating bits. Clint Greagan is funny, bawdy and candid as he writes about juggling parenting and relationship maintenance (with the lovely Reservoir Mum). He is insightful about his non-traditional role, and his masculine perspective on parenting is refreshing. Reservoir Dad won’t just resonate with stay-at-home-dads, but with anyone who has ever wrangled young kids; it offers comfort and solidarity to shell-shocked young parents too.
Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear 1715 – 2015 by Sharon Sadako Takeda, Kaye Durland Spilker and M. Esguerra Clarissa
Blame Queen Victoria for making men’s fashion so bleak and boring – prior to her era, elegance in menswear often meant vibrant colours and intricate decorations. Luckily for men who love to express themselves through clothes, history is coming full circle, with colour and flair returning to men’s fashion. Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear is the stunning coffee-table book accompanying its namesake exhibition at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Tracing 300 years of history, it celebrates works by iconic designers including Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Vivienne Westwood and Saville Row tailors. Designs are analysed to show how historic dress continues to influence current fashions, and how menswear, like womenswear also use padding and shaping to express body ideals. Reigning Men offers fascinating history, splendid imagery as well as design inspiration.
Who Stole My Spear by Tim Samuels
What does being a man mean, in the age of man-buns and paleo diets? Societal expectations about “good masculinity” is changing rapidly, with efforts to destroy long-standing blokey attitudes that favour sexism and violence. Men as a gender is still advantaged, but on an individual level, many are struggling against expectations to be everything to everyone: career high-achiever, committed spouse, hands-on parent. Who Stole My Spear is Tim Samuels’ survey of what men and masculinity is all about in modern society, with discussions on corporate culture, monogamy, relationships and parenthood, religion, pornography and mental health. Its lightheartedness makes for easy reading yet does not detract from the confronting questions it poses.
Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food by Jeff Potter
Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food is not the usual grilling/barbecuing-themed cookbooks normally pitched at men; instead it aims to explain the science behind cooking and tasting. Understanding why particular techniques are used will turn cooking from black art to logical process – which helps beginner cooks achieve better and more consistent results. It also helps more experienced cooks learn how to cook beyond following recipes. And not only the explanations are good, the recipes sound delicious too – from simple dishes like pancakes to fancy ones such as duck confit. Written by a software engineer and published by O’Reilly Media (better known for computer-related texts), its geek pedigree is never in doubt, but Cooking for Geeks will also appeal to anyone who loves to understand the “why” of everything.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Recently I saw Outlander referred to as “a good starting point for men to get into romance novels” and can’t resist sharing this suggestion.
It works because Outlander is not just a love story; as we follow the adventures of Claire Randall, a 20th-century nurse who unintentionally time-travels to 18th-century Scotland, her story encompasses fantasy, history, action (and war), political intrigue, and sex as well as burgeoning romance. Fans love it for its clever mix of genres, historical detail, excellent character development as well as Diana Gabaldon’s emotionally-affective writing. An acclaimed TV adaptation offers another way to engage with this beloved book series.
For more Father’s Day ideas (even the more traditional kind), check out our Pinterest board.
Last week we looked at how the Booko Alerts feature keeps you up-to-date on any sales or discounts. This week we will look at the Lists function that Booko also offers. Booko Lists is a great tool that can help you to plan and manage your purchases, whether it is for a one-off event (such as Christmas or a birthday), or for a longer period (such as managing an annual book budget for work).
1. The Lists feature is available to registered Booko users. To Sign In (or to Register), click on the “Sign In” button at the top left corner of the Booko Homepage
2. At the next screen, Registered users can Log In by either entering their Booko password on the left hand side; or by connecting through a social network using an icon from the right hand side. New users can also use the social network icons to login; or they can create a separate Booko account using the link on the bottom right.
3. Booko takes you back to its homepage once you are signed in. Click on “My Lists” at the top left corner of the page, which brings up a new box. Click on “Manage Lists” at the bottom right of the box.
4. At the Manage List screen, you can start to create your lists. Simply enter a name into the box on the left, and click “Create new list”. Name them as specifically or as generally as you like, such as “My wish list”, “Christmas gifts”, “Milly’s birthday”, “FY 15/16 professional development” etc.
5. Once you have created your lists, they will appear under the My Lists heading on the left. Now you can start populating those lists using the search box at the top of the page.
6. At the Results List, click on the Book Title or its Cover Image to go to its detailed record.
7. At the detailed record, click on the “Add to a list” button directly below the Cover Image. This brings up a box with a drop-down box showing all of your personal lists. Select the preferred list, then click “Add”
8. Keep browsing and adding to your lists as required.
9. To see the items in each of your lists, click on “My Lists”, then click the “Manage Lists” button at the bottom right. This box also shows the contents of the last list you have used.
10. At the Manage List screen, click on one of the lists on the left to see its contents. You can change the quantity for each title using the “+” and “-“ buttons (changing a quantity from 1 to 0 deletes that item). To see detailed price comparisons for each item, click on the “View” button. Booko also helps you find retailers that can supply all the books on a list – and compare their prices.
Other functions on this page include: click the “Export” button to download list data in a spreadsheet format; and click the “Delete” button at the top to remove an entire list.