I assume many of you give books at the holidays. I do, especially to my nieces and nephews and children of close friends. I have a "No toys that require batteries or make noise or a huge mess" rule when giving gifts to other people's children. Some years, it's a no-brainer, because I've been to a conference and met authors and got signed copies. I love that. Last year, after the SCBWI Mid-Atlantic Fall Conference, most of the kids got signed Jane Yolen books. How cool is that?
Having not recently met any authors of books appropriate to the current ages of the kids, last weekend I went to the book fair. Talk about choices! Yes, they had a lot of remainders and the like, including previous years' editions of travel books and Writer's Market. But they also had some fantastic deals on kids' books.
I got books at every reading level from board books to adult novels. My favorite find was a bunch of Curious George books with CD's, which only cost $3.50 each. For the cost of about what I'd pay retail for four hardcover picture books, I got two board books, nine paperback chapter book/early readers, four hardcover picture books, four picture book and CD sets, and two paperback adult novels, one of which was a NYT bestseller. All the books I bought were either relatively new titles or classics which I know kids still read, because they check them out of the library.
There's a part of me that feels I should probably be buying books from the many local independent bookstores around town. Goodness knows, Charlottesville has some of the best bookstores you could ask for. But at the holidays, when I'm buying books in quantity, I'm looking for more book bang for the buck. One day I hope to publish my own bestsellers to support my book-buying. Until then, I support the independent bookstores when I can, and buy from them when I only need one or two books at a time. It's a constant dilemma in these economic times, choosing between supporting the local economy or meeting your own financial needs. I feel the same way about the farmer's market and local grocery stores vs. big box stores, and I try to strike a similar balance there too.
So anyway, back to the title of the post. Are you giving books this year? To whom, and what books? Some of the books I bought were:
Snow by Cyntha Rylant and Lauren Stringer
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cyntha Rylant and Arthur Howard
My Weird School series by Dan Gutman and Jim Paillot
Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa series by Erica Silverman and Betsy Lewin
Help Me, Mr. Mutt! by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Curious George books by Margaret and H.A. Rey
I wrapped everything after I got home, and I can't remember other titles at the moment. And no, I wasn't being compulsive about the gift wrapping. My family celebrates Chanukah and Christmas both, so I had to get some packages in the mail Monday to arrive before the beginning of Chanukah Friday evening. I guess I'll be surprised when the kids open them.