Live from our library: best books for the holiday season

Are you wondering what book is going to be the winning gift this holiday season? Or, are you looking for a few books that you can read aloud or share that celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas, or the snowy wonderland that comes with these winter months?

Luckily, we went over just those books yesterday on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page! This was the second installment of a new “Live from Our Library” Facebook Live series that we’re doing once a month, where I share book recommendations and take questions from those of you that are looking for the elusive “perfect book”.

We divvy up the recommendations into age bands, and go from toddler board books through Pre-K, elementary, middle, and high school, and include titles that would be of interest to the adults in a child’s life. After the broadcast we are posting a list of the books that were recommended on the Scholastic Parents blog and keeping the conversation going in the comment section, where I have a chance to respond to questions we didn’t have time for and go in more depth for the ones that I couldn’t answer extemporaneously.

I enjoy sharing the books I have read and loved, the books that kids are buzzing about, and having to think on my feet. Reader’s advisory is one of the best parts of librarianship; you get to exercise two of Ranganathan’s Laws of Library Science – “every reader his/her book” and “every book its reader”. The idea is that for every book that is out there there is a reader who will love or need it, and for every reader out there there is a book that will appeal to them. Our job as librarians is to make that match.

Here are some of the questions and answers that I spent some time working on yesterday afternoon:

Do you have any books like Twilight or new books like that? I'm looking for my niece’s Christmas gifts and she loves books and movies like that. I really enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles, which are YA novels based on fairy tales, but set in the future and are sci-fi - with romance and action as well. They are 1Cinder, 2Scarlet, 3Cress, and 4Winter. She might also enjoy the Raven Boys series by Maggie Stievfater, and the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia.

Can you recommend some good books for a 12 your old boy who is into the history of the hip hop culture? This was a great question! [I was stumped in the moment.] When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop (Coretta Scott King - John Steptoe Award for New Talent) by Laban Carrick Hill & Theodore Taylor III and Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation, by Jeff Chang & D.J. Kool Herc.

What African American woman books do you recommend for my girls to read? Jacqueline Woodson has a lot of great books, like Brown Girl Dreaming, Hush, and Feathers. Cleo Edison Oliver, Playground Millionaire, by Sundee T. Frazier. The News Crew (series) by Walter Dean Myers. Marley Dias is a young woman who was on a mission to identify "1000 Black Girl Books" last year, and she got to ~4000 according to her site (where she shares what she found).

Hanukkah books? I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel (Caryn Yacowitz & David Slonim), The Night Before Hanukkah (Natasha Wing & Amy Wummer), How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? (Jane Yolen & Mark Teague), Hanukkah Mad Libs (Roger Price & Leonard Stern), Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah (Brian P. Cleary)

Thanks to everyone who watched and participated in the live conversation! I'm looking forward to next month.