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.