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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Children's Books for Christmas #StoriesForLife

Books make such wonderful gifts for children. In gifting a book, you are giving a child access to a whole world of imagination. As they enter the pages of a book they are transported to different places, embarking on new adventures and meeting exciting characters. The gift of reading will last a lifetime!

This Christmas I am taking part in the Britmums and Penguin Random House Children's Books Christmas Present Challenge. I have been sent three fantastic books to gift to some of the special little people in my life.

children's books


Girl Online: Going Solo - Zoe Sugg

Zoella


Zoe Sugg, best known as vlogger Zoella, has released a third novel in her bestselling Girl Online series. The story follows Penny, who accepts an invitation to visit a friend's performing arts school. An opportunity to meet new people and make new friends seems just the remedy that Penny needs as she faces the world on her own.

Zoella's books have proven to be a big hit with many of the YA audience who can't get enough of her fluffy, light, comforting and easy reading style of storytelling. So for her adoring fans, this latest installment will be a fantastic Christmas gift.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down - Jeff Kinney

Jeff Kinney


7 year old Freddy is a very reluctant reader, however the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series is something that has totally grabbed his imagination. Double Down is the 11th book in this bestselling series. Greg's mum has decided that video games are turning his brain to mush and wants him to explore his creative side instead. So, inspired by a bag of gummy worms, Greg decides to get his mum off his back by making his own film. He hopes he might also become rich and famous in the process! But will doubling down on this plan just lead to double trouble for Greg?

Jeff Kinney's humorous and relateable style of writing and the brilliant, funny sketches throughout the book, is perfect to keep kids thoroughly entertained. The pages aren't too wordy making them easy to read.  The series has really captured my Freddy's imagination and he will be very happy to find this latest installment under the Christmas tree this year.


The Racehorse Who Wouldn't Gallop - Clare Balding

Clare Balding


Clare Balding, is more familiar to me as a TV sports presenter, so I was surprised to discover that she is also a children's author. This heart-warming tale tells the story of horse-mad, ten year old Charlie, who accidentally manages to buy herself  a racehorse. When the family farm becomes under threat of being repossessed, Charlie plans to race her horse on Derby Day. She knows he has got what it takes to win and save her home. However, the horse has a problem - he won't gallop and he won't go anywhere without his best friend, a naughty palamino pony called Percy. Can Charlie and her family help the horse overcome his nerves and become the champion she knows he can be?

My 8 year niece is an avid bookworm and this book will definitely be finding its way to her this Christmas.

***

As a child, I enjoyed the freedom that reading gave me, allowing me to visit far flung places and experience amazing things as I immersed myself in my books. One of the books that I absolutely loved, and which has stuck with me over the years is The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden.

Kizzy


The Diddakoi is the story of a little girl called Kizzy. She is half gypsy and lives in a wagon with her gran and her horse Joe.  They embrace a peaceful life holding on to bygone traditions. This means that she is seen as 'different' to the other children in town and cruelly judged by the adults who interfere in her life 'for her own good'. When her beloved gran dies, Kizzy finds herself all alone in a hostile world. She experiences bullying and loneliness that no child should ever have to endure. This book is written with a deep sensitivity and challenges the theme of acceptance with its gritty realism. Kizzy's indomitable spirit, feisty personality and strength of character will not be beaten, and we are heartened to find that there are good people who want to help this young girl find her way in the world.

I saw a lot of myself in Kizzy. A soulful child who didn't quite fit in. I loved her grit, her refusal to be kept down, her feistiness and her stubborn determination to do what was right for her. Kizzy was my first taste of girl-power!

This book made such an impression on me as a child, that I even named my daughter Kezia (the name that Kizzy is derived from in the book). That is the extent that this book impacted my life. I highly recommend it as a gift idea this Christmas. It is a story that I have already passed on to my own children, a real classic.

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