Family Gift Idea: Anthologies

anthology kid storiesIt is nearly impossible to go wrong with an anthology as a book gift. Because it is a collection, readers not only have lots of options, they can start on any page they want!  What I love most about anthologies, though, is that they fit EVERY reader: from the 13-year-old who doesn’t like “long stories,” to the 8-year-old who decides what to read based on the illustration, to the bookworm who wants to devour them all.

Anthologies make a great family gift, too. Whenever we traveled, we took one book with us for bedtime reading with Catherine. Ours was The 20th Century Children’s Book Treasury, because it had many of her favorite picture book stories, but there are many wonderful collections out there. We’ve got three different types of anthologies below: poetry, biography, and multi-format.

Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton 
| ages 0 to 8 |

This is a book filled with poems, hymns, and songs all about different aspects of everyday life. Authors range from William Shakespeare to Shel Silverstein. There is also original poetry by the authors. The poems cover lots of subjects (humor, love, nature, caring for others, etc), and some are silly. Ultimately they show that you can write (and have fun) with just about anything. There is such a variety that everyone will find poems/songs they enjoy!

Parent reviewer: The collection is divided into sections that make them very easy to read and enjoy: Growing Up, Bedtime Blessing, Talk to the Animals, etc. I selected this to read with my daughter (5) and am so happy. This is one of the first poetry books that I think she really liked. She loved listening to the CD and related to so many of the poems.

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Pair with a soft pillow or cuddly lovey.

A Pizza the Size of the Sun by Jack Prelutsky
| ages: 4 to 10 |

Circles and triangles; short stanzas and long; words you are familiar with and some that are much too long (Fummawummalummazumms!). More than 100 poems cover topics from food to pets to school and avoiding chores. Humor and great imagery will have everyone laughing.

Our child (10) likes being able to open the book to any page and decide what to read. The cool thing is that we learn all the poems that are hits because we hear “listen to this, mom …” This is an exceptional choice for developing and struggling readers, as the rhymes help with word decoding practice.

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 Pair with anything pizza: pizza puzzle (ages 3 and Up), ingredients for pizza, pizza-making kit, an IOU for ordering a pizza, et al.

never too youngNever Too Young! 50 Unstoppable Kids Who Made a Difference by Aileen Weintraub
| Ages: 8 to 16 |

No corner of the globe is left untouched in this collection of biographies about children and teens who have – and are – changing the world. The collection shows that kids have been making a difference for centuries. These include Louis Braille, Ann Frank, Helen Keller, Joan of Arc, Amadeus Mozart, and Sacajawea among others. From overcoming personal adversity to tackling some of the world’s biggest problems, readers meet young people who have found their passion.

Each life sketch is a two-page spread with a biography, illustrated image, and a quote from the featured child. Readers will recognize some of these inspiring kids as peers or heroes (particularly in the sports realm). Being able to start reading anywhere (maybe with someone they know) creates huge appeal among reluctant readers. The features are well done and can easily encourage more reading on the person or subject. Last but not least, each story is written at a level that can be easily understood by younger audiences not quite ready to read books at this level.

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Pair with a bookmark or sticky notes so that readers can mark their favorite people or quotes.

brazen rebel womenBrazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Penelope Bagieu
| Ages: 13 and Up |

Using a comic-strip style presentation, the author offers biographies for 29 women in history, including artists, scientists, athletes, explorers, activists, and warriors. They come from different parts of the world, different walks of life, and made an impact in different cultural, social, and political areas. The names of many of these women are unfamiliar to us today. However, they are powerful, revolutionary, and, as the title states, have rocked the world.

Teen reviewer (16): The biographies may be comic style pictures, but they get out the information about the rebels effectively, and they are stunning!  I received this book as a present, not knowing anything about it. Once I started to read it, I could not put it down. Because I like to learn about powerful women, I really enjoyed it. The book presented these women less like an idol and more like a person I could see myself in. I would recommend this book to anyone, especially young women.

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Pair with a journal or sketchpad and pen(s) or bookmark and sticky-note to mark favorite biographies. See also Rachel Ignotosfky’s Women in … series with books, cards, diary, calendar, and games.

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