The holidays are here! Cyber Monday has come and gone! Time to figure out what will go under the tree (and don’t forget gifts for the teachers).
Books make the best gifts — a thoughtfully selected book will hold a child’s interest long after the new toys have been tossed aside.
The biggest impact comes not from what we read, it’s THAT we read, whatever the genre or style. The joy of reading in itself is a pleasurable ritual that all thoughtful adults share.
That we lead by example and encourage children in particular, to develop a love of reading is the single most important factor for thier futures. Let’s be real. In today’s fact-free climate “Bookworm” isn’t a pejorative, it’s a badge of honor.
The real difference, though, lies in our attitude to reading. Gilbert K. Chesterton once said: “There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and the tired man who wants a book to read.” So with that in mind kind reader, I present for your perusal a curated list of the best books I’ve had the pleasure to read or review. I think you’ll find something for any bibliophile or bookworm on your list!
Though, for ease of shopping, deep discounts and free delivery, I’ve added Amazon Prime links, if you rather shop small at your local book seller? By all means do so! Most of my choices are from small publishers that we should all appreciate are still here!
The Comic Book Geek:
The Big Book of Wonder Woman- Julie Merberg
The Big Book of Wonder Woman is an action-packed, beautifully illustrated tribute to the iconic super hero.
Wonder Woman has been the most popular female super hero for more than 75 years! Smart, powerful, and kind, she is also an excellent role model for young girls. This book gives young fans (ages 4 and up) a detailed introduction to the Amazon princess–from her origin story and her extraordinary superpowers to her Justice League friends, her enemies, and her most impressive feats. Illustrated with classic DC comic book art, and packaged in a fabulous foil cover, this is a special addition to every super hero bookshelf.
About the Author
Julie Merberg is the author of the bestselling DC Super Heroes books, My First Book of Girl Power, and My Big Book of Girl Power.
The Big Book of Superman -Noah Smith
The Big Book of Superman is an ideal introduction to this iconic super hero, perfect for young fans (ages 4 and up)!
Using easy-to-understand text illustrated with classic DC comics art, this thoroughly engaging book covers everything readers need to know, from Superman’s Kryptonian roots to his amazing superpowers; from his Justice League pals (including Batman and Green Lantern) to arch-enemy Lex Luthor; and many of his most impressive feats. Beautifully packaged with a printed-foil cover, this is a must-have for every young super hero fan’s bookshelf!
The Big Book of Batman- Noah Smith
The Big Book of Batman is the ultimate guide to the Dark Knight for young fans (ages 4 and up).
Illustrated with classic DC Comics art, this engaging picture book covers Batman’s origin story, his awesome gadgets, his many entertaining enemies, and his loyal friends including Robin, Batgirl, and Superman. From the Bat Cave to the rooftops of Gotham City, readers will learn about Batman’s impressive skills and featsand will quickly understand why he is one of the most popular super heroes of all time!
The Design Geek:
Two Dimensional Man – Paul Sahre
In Two-Dimensional Man, Paul Sahre shares deeply revealing stories that serve as the unlikely inspiration behind his extraordinary thirty-year design career. Sahre explores his mostly vain attempts to escape his “suburban Addams Family” upbringing and the death of his elephant-trainer brother. He also wrestles with the cosmic implications involved in operating a scanner, explains the disappearance of ice machines, analyzes a disastrous meeting with Steely Dan, and laments the typos, sunsets, and poor color choices that have shaped his work and point of view. Two-Dimensional Man portrays the designer’s life as one of constant questioning, inventing, failing, dreaming, and ultimately making.
The Sex Geek:
Yelling In Pasties – The Wet Coast Confessions of an Anxious Slut- Kat Stark
Can you really be a shy, exhibitionistic, socially anxious slut all at the same time?
Twenty years into her marriage, Kat and her husband faced head-on the great underlying fear of most monogamous people: My partner wants to have sex with other people. For them, that truth led to a rollercoaster of new sexual and romantic adventures. After starting things off with a fun and friendly threesome, this couple explore ethical non-monogamy through swinging, casual sex, group sex, solo dating, and eventually stumble into polyamory. Kat Stark tells the story of her first three years in non-monogamy, and how her life and relationship(s) evolved; from the dirty, dirty sex to the heartbreak and back again, without glossing over the parts where she effed it right up. Along the way she discovers squirting orgasms, plays with all the awesome sex toys she can get her hands (and other body parts) on, and comes to a far deeper understanding about how her brain—and heart—work. Come on this very sexy journey; where asking is the key to getting what you want, and where rejecting the shame and associated with being a sexually audacious woman is the gateway to becoming the truest version of oneself.
This is a remarkably frank and open memoir about plunging into polyamory and non-monogamy which is 100% sex-positive and inclusively feminist. A must read IMHO for anyone wishing to broaden their own understanding of sex & sexuality.
About the Author
Kat Stark is a sex-positive, geeky, Canadian, queer, bisexual, deviant, slutty, feminist pervert who came to ethical non-monogamy 21 years into her relationship with her husband, Flick. After a quick toe-dip to test the waters (and hours of obsessive reading and podcast consumption), they dove in and she almost can’t imagine they ever lived any other way. Labels never give a totally clear picture, but she considers herself non-monogamous and polyamorous, though she also occasionally swings. As well as writing blog posts and toy reviews regularly for OnTheWetCoast.com, she co-hosts the podcast On The Wet Coast with Flick, and has lent her voice as an audiobook narrator for Cooper S Beckett’s novels A Life Less Monogamous and Approaching The Swingularity. Her writing is regularly featured on Life On The Swingset.com. She lives in Vancouver, BC, with Flick and their two cats.
The “Mary Sue”
Color Me Powerful – Sarah Parvis
144 pages of inspirational prompts, coloring pages, creative drawing exercises, uplifting phrases, and other fun entries all featuring DC’s fearless female super heroes Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, Bumblebee, Katana and other favorites! All rendered in awesome classic Silver-Age renderings you remember growing up with a fun retro design by Georgia Rucker! Readers are encouraged to doodle, create their own super hero name, design a motto, create a costume, dream up a backstory & design their own secret hide outs!
“I don’t think there can be enough fun, empowering titles for young women and girls”, said author Sarah Parvis. “Color Me Powerful” offers a little bit for everyone. Readers can answer questions about their talents and what makes them unique!”
Price: $12.99, $14.99 Can / Ages:6 +
The “Space Monkey”
Bait – Chuck Palahniuk
New York Times bestselling novelist and cultural trickster Chuck Palahniuk will publish Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color, his first ever NC-17 coloring book for adults, with Dark Horse Books. Is both the coloring book debut and the second short story collection for Palahniuk, author of Lullaby and Fight Club. The book contains eight bizarre tales, illustrated in detailed black and white by Joëlle Jones (Lady Killer), Lee Bermejo (The Suiciders), Duncan Fegredo (Hellboy), and more. Each story is paired with pieces of colorable original art, nearly 50 in all.
Palahniuk’s short stories are provocative and not for the faint of heart. (His public readings are notorious for making audience members pass out.) Bait continues in that vein with stories like –
A passenger on the Titanic who finds a surgical solution to the obstacle of “women and children first”
A Hollywood star, whose fading brand faces a viral (and scatological) internet campaign
An animal psychic who coaxes a statement from a fish that witnessed a political assassination
Increasingly terrible birthday gifts that place a girl at the center of an extinction-level event
The best geeky coffee table book anywhere and only adult coloring book you’ll ever need!
“Bleek Girl” magic-
Meet ClaraBelle Blue – Adiba Nelson
Adiba Nelsons’ feisty protagonist ClaraBelle Blue from her debut children’s book “Meet ClaraBelle Blue”, is a beautiful black girl who loves everything any little girl her age does. Making new friends, playing on the playground, ribbons and bows and her mama tickling her toes.
ClaraBelle Blue just happens to be in a wheelchair. And as the story progresses—in a charming sing-song cadence school age children and early readers love and richly illustrated by Elvira Moranado—the book goes on to show that though ClaraBelle Blue may have some special needs, the things that are most important to her we all share.
As a parent of black children, I’m always on the hunt for books featuring people of color. Countless psychologists attest an immense benefit to self-image comes from children seeing people like themselves reflected in the stories they read.
This marvelous softcover not only delighted my young daughter with a bold, black female character she could relate to. Her older brother is dyslexic and has ADD. He has some accommodations in school, he understands everyone is unique and may have their own challenges to a greater or lesser degree.
You can read my full review here. Suffice to say this is a special book that all children can benift from embracing!
About the author
Adiba Nelson is mom to a beautiful daughter with Cerebral Palsy, and she is a disability rights and inclusion advocate. She is also a freelance writer for various online outlets, such as The Huffington Post, Everyday Feminism, and My Brown Baby.
The Culture Geek-
A is for Ackees: A Jamaican Alphabet Book – Rebekah Henderson
A is for Ackees is an alphabet book in short rhymes with a Jamaican theme. Colorful folksy illustrations by Nancy Mc Bride, framed as artwork bring this A-Z book to life. Factual information is also included for those who wish to learn more about Jamaica’s unique culture.
Being from Barbados I loved the familiar cultural takes on food, music and lifestyles and my kids recognize so much as we compared and contrasted Bajan & Jamaican Culture. It’s a slam dunk and only $15 bucks on Amazon Prime. A must buy!
About the Author
Rebekah E. Henderson is a mother, librarian, world traveler and considers the island of Jamaica her second home.
The Noir Geek:
Buenos Aires Noir – Edited by Ernesto Mallo
From the introduction by Ernesto Mallo –
“Buenos Aires city of contrasts. contradictions; always on the edge of chaos in love with it’s own disorder despite the crude, transitory violence, the lack of Lauren order do ubiquitously hurled insults the thunders boom of traffic and honking Hearld curses isn’t habits love hate the city in the language of the Port Weller‘s irony is currency the multi millionaires of Puerto Madero deal in this earliest fluently as the workers in the misery cities which is what we call the poorest neighborhoods and more Buenos Aires this shared language comes from the mansions in the shanties that are built side-by-side separated by nothing but a single street or railroad track contradiction with an eyesight in the stories that make up this volume we glimpse what bonus Aris really is distinctive points of you as well as the narrative potential of a city that has reinvented itself many timesOver this collection highlights the relations between the social and economic classes from the tensions from the cruelties and also from there love deep inside in habitants of rosaries live this contradiction.”
The noir Siri’s drives deeper into Latin America into a city with long history both glorious and sinister. Akashic Books continues it’s award-winning series of original noir anthologies launched in 24 with Brooklyn Noir each book comprises all new stories each one set within a distinct neighborhood or location within the respective city. With Buenos Aires Noir, the Noir Series dives deeper into Latin America into a city with a long history both glorious and disturbing!
The Self-Help Geek:
How to Catch & Raise a Husband: A Practical Guide for Finding a Man and Making Him Behave – E.H.Baker M.L.I.S.
In her hilarious disclaimer for this mini marvel of a advice book she acknowledges it’s heteronormativity and spelling errors, but if you can get over those shortcomings this is the funniest advice book on dating I’ve ever read.
Ok, I’ve only read like four but this is by far the wittiest!
About the Author:
Author E.H. Baker is a Librarian and self proclaimed love expert that likes to write and give unsolicited advice about finding love and how to get pregnant. She annoys a lot of people but really wanted to write a short affordable book to help single gals find good husbands and help married gals get their husbands to behave properly. She lives with her well behaved husband, son and dog in Colorado, although the dog is not very well behaved. At. All.
avalable from Barnes & Noble here.
The Nat Geo Geek-
National Geographic Kids Books is featuring FIVE new titles that are perfect gifts for the explorer in all of us. From the big “WOW” books for middle graders, to a wonderfully touching picture book for young readers as well as new and expecting moms, to affordable stocking stuffers, these bright, beautiful titles cater to bookworms and reluctant readers alike. They are fun, visually stunning, totally engrossing AND educational (but don’t tell kids that last part!).
Weird But True! Christmas: 300 Festive Facts to Light Up the Holidays — (ages 8-12, 208 pages) The PERFECT stocking stuffer! Ready for some totally festive facts? Even Christmas can be weird — it’s true! Did you know that Santa’s reindeer are probably all female? Or that artificial snow can be made from seaweed? Or that “Jingle Bells” was the first Christmas carol sung in space? Every kid will ho ho ho when they unwrap this book that is chocked full of the most random and fascinating facts about their most favorite holiday.
Ultimate Dinopedia – (ages 7-10, 296 pages) Attention dinosaur fanatics! This is a big, gift-worthy hardcover that is also the most complete and comprehensive dinosaur reference ever. Although these amazing creatures roamed the Earth ages ago, new dinosaur discoveries are still being made today. The new edition includes favorites, like the fierce T-rex and the gentle Brontosaurus, plus audacious new finds, like the Anzu, Kosmoceratops, and Yi. Every dino profile is colorfully illustrated and features descriptions of when they roamed the Earth, how they lived, what they ate, and more. There are more than 600 dinos featured in all, including 10 profiles of recently discovered dinosaurs and new entries in the Dino Dictionary. Reports from paleontologists present the latest news and insights from the field.
Bet You Didn’t Know: Fascinating, Far-Out, Fun-tastic Facts – (ages 8-12, 192 pages) “…the whole outing is really tailor-made for dipping and flipping at random….A bodacious wellspring of random knowledge.”— Starred review, Kirkus Reviews. BIG, packed with gorgeous photos and illustrations and guaranteed to keep kids occupied for hours and hours, Bet You Didn’t Know is the perfect holiday gift for the fact-lover or for your kid’s favorite teacher’s classroom. Did you know that the first stop signs were black and white? Or that a litter of kittens is called a kindle? Or that butterflies can see more colors than humans can? Based on a favorite department in Nat Geo Kids magazine, this book is overflowing with fascinating facts, silly stats, and catchy little knowledge nuggets in all kinds of cool categories, from astronomy and sea creatures to revolutions and breakfast. Special features include Extreme Weirdness, Strange Places, Wacky World, and more.
Just Joking Jumbo — (ages 7-10, 288 pages) What do you get when you have 1,000 giant jokes and 1,000 funny photos? A stocking stuffer that adds up to some seriously big laughs! If you have a budding stand up comedian on your list this year – this is the perfect book for them. Knock-knocks, puns, riddles, tongue-twisters, photos of silly situations and even the craziest info about the history of funny business – it’s all here!
Hey, Baby! A Collection of Pictures, Poems and Stories from Nature’s Nursery – (all ages, 192 pages) Sweet dreams are made of this! Join National Geographic Kids on a trip around the globe to celebrate nature’s nursery.This collection of stunning photography of wee ones of the wild world will inspire, awe and awww. With dynamic profiles, clever poems, time-tested folktales, amazing rescue stories, and unlikely animal friendships, this book will be a favorite with sleepy little ones, new parents and moms-to-be. Featuring everything from wobbly baby bison to teeny turtles, mini-monkeys to fluffy foxes, this is the perfect keepsake book for the baby animal lover in us all.
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All art – listed publishers