December 11, 2017 - Comments Off on Goodwill Gifts to Give this Christmas
If you’re looking to spread some seasonal goodness with your gift-giving this Christmas, then take your pick from this selection box of brilliant books for young readers. From a rollicking re-working of a Christmas classic, to tales that ooze empathy, these storytelling treats are guaranteed to enthral and entertain while sharing heart-warming messages of compassion and hope.
Bah! Humbug!: Every Christmas Needs a Little Scrooge by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Tony Ross
This inspired pairing of Michael Rosen and Tony Ross makes for an entertaining read-aloud experience, and sees eleven-year-old Harry Gruber playing Scrooge in his school production of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. But the real Scrooge of the piece is Harry’s work-obsessed dad, who’ll most likely dash to work before the performance is over. Then, as the play unfolds, and the on-stage Scrooge receives his visitations, so Harry’s dad is struck by a succession of parallel revelations, and maybe – just maybe – the Gruber family might get to experience their very own Christmas miracle.
Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig, illustrated by Chris Mould
This third book in the author’s sequence of festive heart-warmers (see also A Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas) positively shimmers with seasonal charm. After a difficult life in London, brave Amelia Wishart now lives in Elfhelm with her adoptive parents – none other than Father and Mary Christmas! But life is Elfhelm is pretty tough for a human, not least when a wayward elf seems set on ruining Christmas. Matters worsen when the jealous Easter Bunny rocks up with his army of evil rabbits, and it falls to Amelia and her new family to hold things together. This is perfect for sharing with young readers still rapt by the magic of Christmas.
Coming to England by Floella Benjamin, illustrated by Michael Frith
This twentieth anniversary edition of Floella Benjamin’s honest, inspirational child’s-eye view of racism and prejudice is an absolute joy – a glorious ode to standing tall and feeling proud of who you are. As a young girl, Floella came to England from Trinidad with hope in her heart, anticipating that the Motherland would welcome her with open arms, but the reality was very different. Everything was different. No more garden filled with ‘exotic, sweet-smelling flowers’. No more ‘exquisite butterflies and hummingbirds’. No more thrilling trips to the spectacular market, and no more feeling sure about her place in the world. ‘It’s not easy having to live and exist in two cultures at the same time, but that is what I had to get used to’, and that’s exactly what young Floella does in the face of prejudice. She stands taller, works harder and, through courage and determination, feels the ‘barrier crumble’.
The Snow Angel by Lauren St John, illustrated by Catherine Hyde
Makena dreams of climbing Mount Kenya like her beloved mountain-guide dad, but when tragedy strikes she’s forced to try to survive, alone, in the slums of Nairobi, where it’s impossible to know whom to trust. Fresh hope comes when she’s relocated to Scotland and there encounters a fox that links Makena to her homeland, as do the majestic Scottish mountains. While – importantly – this book never shirks from conveying harsh truths, Makena’s story teems with hope and humanity, and this memorable tale comes extra recommended for readers who love adventure and animal stories. The author’s evocation of nature is second to none.
Girl with a White Dog by Anne Booth
Compassion abounds in this timely novel in which a girl draws parallels between the horrors of Nazi Germany and intolerance her own community. Jessie is beyond excited when her gran gets a white Alsatian puppy, and when Gran falls ill Jessie looks after the dog herself. While worrying about her gran, Jessie learns about Nazi Germany in school, and discovers another girl with a white dog. Jessie sets an inspirational example to young readers, and this is a powerfully moving tale about the importance of empathy.