Welcome to our final dispatch from the front line about the Indiebound Christmas Summer Reading catalogue.
Our top pick in the Children & Young Adult section for summer is Toucan Can, by Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis. My glowing review of this can be found here – and when I bumped into Juliette at a launch of another book on the list (A Book is a Book) she said that Sarah had emailed her ‘we made somebody cry! How cool!’
Most of our suggestions for younger readers have been on the bestsellers’ lists for weeks and are all worth looking at. Since they were released, the two Scholastic titles, My Daddy ate an Apple by Craig Smith and She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain, featuring a CD of the Topp Twins singing the eponymous song, have been jostling for top spot on the Children’s and Teens Nielsen bestseller list. Another great suggestion is the Donovan Bixley-illustrated edition of Dashing Dog, by Margaret Mahy (HarperCollins NZ).
Junior fiction offerings include A Book is a Book (Gecko Press), by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins, which is a perfect celebration of reading for children and adults of any age. Donovan Bixley’s sophisticated picture book The Weather Machine (Hachette NZ) has also been reviewed favourably here, by Sue Esterman. And The Boring Book, by Vasanti Unka is a delightful dance of words, beautifully designed and illustrated by Vasanti, and published by Penguin.
It is difficult to go past Mortal Fire (Gecko Press), by Elizabeth Knox, for older readers, particularly those who enjoy magical realism (as I do). Set in the same world as the Dreamhunter duet, the story carries us on into a world post-dream palaces. Neil Gaiman also has a bit of magic in his bestselling Fortunately, the Milk…(Bloomsbury), which has received rave reviews worldwide.
John Boyne’s Stay where you are and then leave (Random House) is destined to be a classic, and is based on a boy’s search for his missing father during the First World War – perhaps something to heighten your teen’s awareness of the coming centenary?
The Divergent series of books (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant) by Veronica Roth are going to be selling out all over the country in the lead-up to the release of the first movie based on these books on 10 April 2014. The final story in this trilogy, Allegiant, has now been published, and we encourage you to pick up all three as a great gift for your teen reader this summer.
Our other top pick is by an author vaunted as the ‘next Roald Dahl’, David Walliams. High praise! Demon Dentist is ‘a hilarious and teeth-chatteringly thrilling tale about an evil dentist who has an over-the-top devotion to teeth extractions…’ This sounds like a perfect book for the Jeff Kinney and Andy Griffiths-loving child in your life.
The staff at Booksellers NZ wish you and your families all the best for the Christmas period. We look forward to carrying on reading, reviewing and recommending fantastic books in the New Year.
P.S. We ran out of time to cover the final two pages in the catalogue which feature, respectively, Kitchen, Home & Lifestyle (hint, try our article in The Read about cookbooks for tips in this category), and Travel & Sport. Whether you are a bit of Bear Grylls or one of life’s cruisy armchair readers the Christmas Catalogue has something to tickle your fancy. We hope some books from within are winging their way to a Christmas tree near you.
by Sarah Forster