You know that lovely Icelandic tradition of giving books and chocolate on Christmas Eve, and then spending the holidays enjoying both? We’ve decided to transfer that fabulous tradition over to the Family Day weekend, to help us all recharge, get cozy and share some stories together. All of these picks are enjoyable for adults reading aloud to the children, so get ready to be entertained by some great storytelling – and chocolate!
Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L Holm
Jennifer L Holm doesn’t just write Babymouse books. In the novel “Turtle in Paradise”, she has penned a sweet story of a girl – nicknamed Turtle – who has to go live with her aunt in the Florida Keys when her mom takes a job as a housekeeper to a woman who doesn’t like kids. Set in the time of the Depression, there is lots to talk about with this book, as well as the fascinating backdrop of Key West when it was a bit wilder (and with pirate treasure!). $10 | Available here
Posted by John David Anderson
This book is just so well written, adults will be hanging off every word. When cell phones are banned at the middle school, the kids are in shock – and find a way to still communicate, via post-it notes on lockers. Sadly, even without devices, bullying and broken friendships continue to plague even the best of friends. $8 | Available here
The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald
We adore Megan McDonald for giving us the Judy Moody and Stink books – and when the kids get a bit older, or if they’re looking for more from this author, the Sisters Club trilogy is a wonderful set to dive into. The three sisters (age 12, 10 and 8 at the start of the first book) are into drama, singing, writing, Little Women and other fun and diverse activities – and there are lots of hilarious times as well as the inevitable disagreements. Perfect for showing that people can have their own hobbies and interests. $7 | Available here
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Ok, this one may make everyone cry – and immediately adopt-an-animal from World Wildlife Fund. The book tells the story of Ivan, a gorilla who has lived most of his days in a shopping mall along with a captive elephant. Ivan uses his smarts and artistic abilities to change the outcome for him and his friends. Funny, touching and more real than we could ever imagine. $10 | Available here
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
Milo’s Christmas vacation, usually a tranquil time at the inn his family owns, is turned upside down with the arrival of several guests – all searching for something, and all hiding secrets. This book has it all – role-playing games, ghosts, mysteries, history, smuggling – oh, and lots and lots of hot chocolate. As fascinating for adult readers as the Harry Potter series, with equally compelling characters. $20 | Available here
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Imagine living at Alcatraz – and as an ordinary boy, not a notorious villain! Our protagonist is one of 23 other kids living on the infamous rock because their parents work at the prison. It’s an interesting slice of historical fiction set in a pretty fascinating place – with lots of humour tucked in. $10 | Available here
A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
Naturally, Madeleine L’Engle is best known for her superb children’s classic A Wrinkle in Time. But our favourite was always A Ring of Endless Light, because – dolphins! Required reading for your budding marine biologist, this book still captivates all these years later. $11 | Available here
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