When you next need to give a gift to a child, why not make it a book? When you give a book as a gift, you invest in the future of a child! Good books last for a long time and can be enjoyed over and over again.
But, when you are in the bookshop surrounded by hundreds of inviting books, how do you pick one that a child is likely to want to read again and again – especially if you do not know the child very well? Here are some suggestions. (They apply to choosing books for children from the library too!)
Look at the shelves and displays, and choose a book that catches your eye. If it is a picture book, read the whole story. If it is a longer book, then read the beginning, a page or two in the middle and the ending. Then think about these things:
* If it is a picture book, could you bear it if a child asked you to read it again and again?
* If there are illustrations, look at them closely. Do they have interesting details in them that would fascinate a child? Do they help to tell part of the story?
* If it is an information book, do the words and pictures seem clear, accurate and interesting?
* Did you want to keep reading? If so, chances are it will hold a child’s attention too.
* Does the book use words in ways that help you to create pictures in your mind and make you want to read on? For example, perhaps a picture book uses rhyme, or a chapter book uses an informal, chatty style which is well-suited to the action in the story.
* Did it have a clever and/or satisfying ending?
* At the birth of a baby (or at a baby shower) Together with five friends, give a book for each of the first five years of the child’s life.
* At different milestones in a child’s life Help a child prepare for or deal with new experiences, like starting a new preschool or new (primary or high) school, or welcoming a new baby home, by giving them a storybook or novel about this.
* At birthdays Books make great birthday presents for any child, but you can also help to create or expand a classroom or school library by donating a book to your child’s school on his or her birthday.
* As encouragement Give a book to show your child you have noticed how hard they have tried to do something at home, with friends or at school. Then comes the real reward – time spent reading the book with you!