COLUMN: Give the gift of reading this Christmas

Frances Thomson, community librarian at the George Mackie Library, gives us some gift ideas suitable for readers of all ages.

North Delta's George Mackie Library.

“A book is a present you can open again and again.”

This quote is on a card in a frame on my desk. I don’t know who said it, but I like the double meaning of the message. With Christmas approaching, if you haven’t already thought of it, why not give the gift of reading?

While I love to read books, I am very selective about what types of books I want to own.

However, I love to give books as gifts, trying to select just the right one for special people. I also like to give books by British Columbian and Canadian authors whenever possible.

For babies and toddlers, board books make excellent gifts. They are durable and hold up to chewing and rough handling.

Susan Musgrave, a B.C. writer perhaps better known as a poet, has written Love You More, More Blueberries and Kiss, Tickle, Cuddle, Hug. The latter introduces emotions and facial expressions with close-up photographs of babies, which babies love to look at.

Lots of Kisses, by Lorna Crozier, is another board book with wonderful photographs of babies.

A magazine subscription is a gift that keeps on giving. Young children will be excited about getting something in the mail on a regular basis that is addressed to them. Owlkids publishes three high-quality magazines catering to various age groups.

OWL magazine (an acronym for “Outdoors and Wildlife”) began publishing in 1976. Aimed at boys and girls ages nine to 12, its topics are relevant to tweens, covering everything from pop culture to science.

For children who still enjoy being read to, Chris Colfer has written Land of Stories: A Classic Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales. Colfer first gained fame with his role on the television show Glee. His Land of Stories series is very popular with young readers.

Kids who love Lego might like 365 Things to Make with Lego Bricks by Simon Hugo. That’s one building project for every day of the year!

Teens that are fans of James Dashner’s Maze Runner series will enjoy The Fever Code. It is a prequel to the bestselling series and explains many of the questions that arose in the other books.

Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why, has a new release called What Light. School Library Journal called it “a sweet, light romance, perfect for holiday reading.”

What about the adults on your gift list? I asked colleagues what type of books they would like to receive as a gift. Their answers varied from cookbooks to gardening books to novels by Canadian writers or award winners.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thien fits both of the latter categories, as it just won the Governor General’s Award for fiction. Thien was born in Vancouver and now lives in Montreal.

If you love books and reading, share that love with the people on your Christmas shopping list. Need suggestions? Just ask library staff!

Frances Thomson is the community librarian at the George Mackie Library. For more information about books and events at the library, visit

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