Celebrating the Season (to read!): A #GiveBooks Giveaway

If you’re anything like me, you don’t need much of a nudge to choose books as holiday gifts. I’ll admit it…I am officially “the book aunt.” My nieces and nephews never have trouble guessing their presents, even when I’ve disguised the books by wrapping them in a lumpy package with candy or a nice fleece blanket.

All through the holiday season, I’ll be making book recommendations for like-minded friends, but I get to start of f the season with a bang this year, thanks to Chronicle Books. Chronicle, which publishes my picture books OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, SEA MONSTER’S FIRST DAY, and SEA MONSTER AND THE BOSSY FISH, just launched its 2013 #GiveBooks campaign, encouraging all of us to become book aunts and uncles, as well as book spouses, book friends, book sisters, and…well..you get the idea. Give books!

The great logo for this project is by Gemma Correll. Click on it, and you can sign Chronicle’s #GiveBooks pledge. For every #GiveBooks tweet, pin, or online signature, Chronicle Books will donate a book to children in need through First Book. The goal is 10,000 books!

The Chronicle folks asked me a fun question: Which ten items from their list would I most like to share as holiday gifts? My list is below…and the best news of all is that you can enter a drawing to win the same amazing stack of books.  Read on to find out how – and click on any book cover to read more about it.

For the Dog Lover in Your Life:

With titles like “DOORBELL!” and “I Lose My Mind When You Leave the House,” I COULD CHEW ON THIS AND OTHER POEMS BY DOGS is the perfect stocking stuffer, a charming and funny collection of poems in the voices of our canine friends. And don’t feel left out, cat lovers…there’s I COULD PEE ON THIS for you.

For Your Favorite Chef:

SIMPLY ORGANIC, A COOKBOOK FOR SUSTAINABLE, SEASONAL, AND LOCAL INGREDIENTS is one of those cookbooks that’s almost too beautiful to use in the kitchen. You’d hate to spill olive oil on it, but then again, Chard and Feta Pie is too delicious to be left between the pages.

For the Word-Nerd:

I am so smitten with A COMPENDIUM OF COLLECTIVE NOUNS (from an Armory of Aardvarks to a Zeal of Zebras) that I’m going to be hard pressed to actually wrap this one up and let it go. It’s rich with fascinating etymologies as well as lovely, lively, illustrations depicting everything from a prettying of doves, to a whoop of gorillas, to an opera of canaries. So. Much. Fun.

For the Tech-Geek on your List:

THE STARTUP PLAYBOOK: SECRETS OF THE FASTEST-GROWING STARTUPS FROM THEIR FOUNDING ENTREPRENEURS is a book that just oozes cool, from its sleek yellow-black-white design to the technology gurus profiled inside. This is a great how’d-they-do-that book that looks behind the scenes at some of the biggest start-up success stories through the eyes of their founders. Kind of like going out for drinks with Chris Anderson of TED and Wired, Caterina Fake of Flickr, Charles Best of DonorsChoose, and all their smartest friends.

I fell in love with the title of THE TOASTER PROJECT: OR A HEROIC ATTEMPT TO BUILD A SIMPLE ELECTRIC APPLIANCE FROM SCRATCH because I have some experience in this area. When the power went out years ago, my son built us a rudimentary toaster out of some batteries and nichrome wire from an old hair dryer. (It was neat but left the bread tasting kind of metallic.) This is a more complicated story because author Thomas Thwaites set out to build a real toaster…really, truly from scratch. That involves things like smelting one’s own metal and more. Fascinating, funny, and so eye opening for those of us who don’t always think too much about our toast.

For the Creative Kids in Your Life:

HOW TO BUILD A HOVERCRAFT: AMAZING DIY SCIENCE PROJECTS is an absolute treasure for kids who are always experimenting. You know…the ones who use up all of your kitchen staples making secret potions while you’re in the other room? They’re going to love this collection of awesome, messy experiments. The projects are fascinating and challenging, the directions are clear and detailed, and the science is explained in a way that shows real respect for young readers.

DOODLES: A REALLY GIANT COLORING AND DOODLING BOOK is just what it sounds like, an oversized invitation to imagine. The doodling challenges in this book go beyond the usual “finish this picture” sketch-starters to get young artists thinking about story and action. This spread, for example, says the two elephants have a problem. What is it? That’s up to the young artist to draw!

Pair DOODLES with a nice set of colored pencils, and you’ve got a winner of a gift.

THE STAR WARS COOKBOOK – ICE SABERS: 30 CHILLED TREATS USING THE FORCE OF YOUR FREEZER is entirely too much fun. I’m not that much of a Star Wars fan, but I still can’t resist the idea of sword fighting with a homemade juice pop.

For Kids Who Love Nature:

I’m a big, big fan of both author Lola Schaefer (writer friend and super nice person) and illustrator Christopher Silas Neal (awesome guy who illustrated my picture book OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW) so I was expecting great things from LIFETIME: THE AMAZING NUMBERS IN ANIMAL LIVES, and I wasn’t disappointed. How many pairs of antlers will a caribou grow and shed in a lifetime? How many flowers will a giant swallowtail visit? These are things I need to know, even if I didn’t realize it until I picked up this gorgeous book.

UNUSUAL CREATURES: A MOSTLY ACCURATE ACCOUNT OF SOME OF EARTH’S STRANGEST ANIMALS is a Messner family favorite. From the Fairy Armadillo to the Yeti Crab, the animal profiles in this book are accessible and truly fascinating. My daughter was particularly enchanted with the hagfish, which produces its own slime as a defense mechanism.

Want to win all these books? We’re going to give away this whole huge pile in a random drawing.

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email before midnight EST on November 30th. I’ll contact the winner, and Chronicle will send you a box of bookish awesomeness shortly thereafter, in time for holiday giving, should you decide to share the loot.

Whether or not you win the drawing, Chronicle Books is offering 30% off your entire order (excluding personalized products) and free shipping with a special #GiveBooks promo code. The offer is good through December 31st. Just enter the promo code GIVEBOOKS when you check out. And if your order includes one of my Chronicle picture books, I’d be happy to mail you a signed book plate! Just send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Kate Messner at P.O. Box 1857 – Plattsburgh, NY 12901.







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  1. Bernice H
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Books are the best gift t give & receive! Some great recs here!

  2. Karen Cingiser
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Hi Kate,
    What a fabulous collection of books. I love your choices for nature lovers and have a group of nature loving 1st and 2nd graders. The book about numbers in nature is especially intriguing as we are always looking for ways to make math come alive on our Tuesday morning (for 3 whole hours) journey into our school forest for ECO (Educating Children Outdoors).

  3. Melanie McClaughry
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for these great recommendations! From one “book aunt” & teacher to another!

  4. Posted November 4, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Please enter me! There are some books my kids would really love 🙂

  5. Maureen Taylor
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Super fun! I’d love to be the book aunt this year!

  6. Sandy Wolfinger
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    I love to give books..to family, friends and students!

  7. Emily Barlow
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad I’m not the only book aunt! I love the suggestions here!

  8. Karen
    Posted November 5, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I am also known as the person who gives books as gifts-this would be a great start to my holiday shopping!

  9. Posted November 5, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    This is an awesome collection of titles! I’m super impressed with your son’s tinkering abilities too!

  10. Denise
    Posted November 5, 2013 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Love Chronicle Books. Great group of books!

  11. jpetroroy
    Posted November 5, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    What great choices!

  12. Posted November 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I love giving books! Chronicle has some wonderful titles. (I love Over and Under the Snow, by the way.)

  13. Mrs. McDaniel
    Posted November 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I am the book Mom and Aunt too. My boys have always gotten a new book every Christmas, and they are my traditional gift for holidays for grand-nieces and nephews. What is not to love about a new shiny book?!?!

  14. Chris Heim
    Posted November 5, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    These look awesome! Thanks for entering me into the drawing!

  15. Katy P.
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the drawing. The Toaster Book looks fascinating.

  16. Posted November 6, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I love your list! I hadn’t heard of a lot of them, and I could think of exactly who would like what on my Christmas list (including me – ha)!

  17. Rob
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    This is a great list. My fifth grade class would love these!

  18. Rachel Woods
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I just ordered some books as gifts today – these would be great additions to my gift-giving list (and if it saves a trip to the mall, I’m all for it). Thanks!

  19. Kim McM
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Books are the perfect gift, and I know a few people who would love some of the ones on your list- myself included!

  20. ikkinlala
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if this is open to Canadians, but I’d definitely going to be looking for some of these books!

    ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

  21. Pauline Schmidt
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    This is awesome! I always GIVE BOOKS!!

  22. Lisa H
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I just saw the Lifetime book in my local bookstore – it’s gorgeous! Great list!

  23. Janet W
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    I am a Book Aunt too! And a Book Mom. remember going Xmas shopping with my dad as a kid, One store: Waldenbooks 🙂 IThank you for this awesome pffer and to Chronicle books thanks for the promotion ! Great campaign! janflocor at Aol . com

  24. Posted November 7, 2013 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Wow! These are some great suggestions! I found one for each of my six grandchildren. Thanks!

  25. Stephanie
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    Great suggestions. I especially like the doodle book. What a great way to encourage a kid to write his or herown story!

  26. Heather Elia
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Excellent suggestions!

  27. Beverly Bullock
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Of course, I give books! What could be a better gift? B-)

  28. Posted November 7, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Great post, Kate. These books seem like they’d be inspiring to writers, young and old, which would come in handy now that I’m teaching creative writing. Thanks! dgep [at] hotmail {dot} com.

  29. Posted November 7, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Yes, please! I thought of someone for each of these books. Thank you for this opportunity to win them!

  30. Posted November 7, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    OBSESSED with Chronicle cookbooks – would love to win!

  31. jess
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    More folks ought to give books! Thanks for helping us out with some great titles.

  32. Posted November 7, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Such a great giveaway! I’m an avid reader, so I’d love to win!

  33. Kim Ward
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I generally don’t enter for chances to win stuff, but this one is impossible to pass up! Cross your fingers!!!!! 🙂

  34. Posted November 7, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Chronicle books are often the subject of my PB blog posts, and giving books as gifts is my favorite choice. Fingers crossed here- you can’t go wrong with these titles!

  35. Cheryl Holsonbake
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I can’t wait to #GiveBooks this Christmas. Maybe some of these, if you please! 😉

  36. Posted November 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    What a fantastic promotion and giveaway! I’m a book aunt too-I always give everyone I know books-best gifts ever I think! 🙂

  37. Posted November 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    What a fun list of titles–thanks for sharing them. The Hover Craft book looks like a lot of fun and I know a kid or two at my house who’d love the Doodle book.

  38. ben lee
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    thank you! these look awesome.

  39. Elise
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful giveaway! Love these books, thank you for the introduction to them!

  40. Christine
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the link to a great project! I will sign up–and I plan on getting the book about science projects for experimenting kids for one of my favorite kids! Thanks for the rec!

  41. Posted November 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    You always amaze me! This is a great list. Takes care of my shopping!

  42. Posted November 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    This is an amazing list. You never fail to amaze me, so I should not be surprised!

  43. Nicole
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Love the Unusual Creatures book. I will definitely be tracking that one down.

  44. Danielle Hitle
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the giveaway! We love books at our house and we love giving them as gifts also : )

  45. Kristina Paustian
    Posted November 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I love matching books to people for special occasions!

  46. Mary from Madison
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the gift of books you recommended and for those you have written. I have been the “Book Auntie” for my nieces and nephews and now find myself the “Great Book Auntie” (that might be a book title…hmmm)
    for their children.
    I can’t thank you enough for your vision and enthusiasm for Teachers’ Write. Just another reason to be grateful.
    (I have had difficulty posting, so if you find this is a second post from me, feel free to delete it.)

  47. Mary from Madison
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Greetings! Thank you for the recommendations! I am finding myself in your debt in so many ways…Teachers’ Write, GRA, amazing book recommendations and wonderful books you have authored. All this and a giveaway, too… Many, many thanks!

  48. Sonya
    Posted November 13, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    What a great collection of books!

  49. Posted November 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    We have loved reading with your books. Global Read Aloud introduced us and we are now followers. We would love to win this wonderful collection.

  50. Posted November 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    What a fantastic collection! My kids would be thrilled to have any of these titles, much less all of them! I am loving this campaign by Chronicle, so we’re buying/donating more books for the project, too! 🙂

  51. Maria Selke (@mselke
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Wow! There are some amazing choices here. I definitely want to check out the hovercraft book. I have so many science/crafty kids on my list 🙂

  52. Posted November 18, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I love to give books! That big stack of books would be amazing. 🙂

  53. Megan Fuller
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Love love love giving books! Unusual Creatures is an awesome suggestion! And now I must check out Lifetime…looks fabulous!

  54. Posted November 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Such good picks!!!

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