The Perfect Gift for You and Your Kids

We at Simon & Schuster Canada really and truly believe that there’s no better gift than the love of reading. That’s why when we stumbled across this great gift idea on Pinterest, we had to tell everyone we could about it! The idea is to wrap up 25 children’s picture books and put them under your Christmas tree at the start of December. Before bedtime each evening, your little one gets to choose one book to unwrap, which you then read together! This continues every night up to and including the big day itself. What a cozy and heartwarmingly brilliant gift idea.

Make this a new holiday tradition! To help you start, we’ve listed 25 of our favourite children’s books down below (in no particular order). Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments section below.

Holiday Classics:

  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. This is a wonderful new version of the classic poem every family should own. Lavishly illustrated by renowned artist Charles Santore, the critically acclaimed illustrator of The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, and The Little Mermaid, this beautiful book is a treasure.

  • One Starry Night is a simple yet profound book that perfectly captures the universal nighttime vigil of parents everywhere. Author Lauren Thompson is at her lyrical best, while Jonathan Bean’s gorgeous, artisanal illustrations are the perfect match for this beautifully serene story of a truly Peaceable Kingdom.
  • The Hanukkah Hop by Erica Silverman, with illustrations by Steven D’Amico, is a lively and rollicking book that is sure to insprire every member of the family in celebrating the Festival of Lights!
  • Olivia Helps with Christmas (Ian Falconer) shows that everyone’s favourite 6-year-old pig is the #1 Kris Kringle fan, and of course she’s excited to OPEN HER PRESENTS!
  • Christmas Parade is a delightful Christmas picture book filled with hilarious characters and dynamic art from the one and only Sandra Boynton! Written with the irresistible rhythm of a lively marching band and illustrated by the author with those signature Boynton characters, Christmas Parade is a superb present for young children and families everywhere. Biddy BOOM!

  • Bear Stays Up for Christmas is an enchanting holiday story for young readers that kids will ask for again and again. Written by Karma Wilson and illustrations by Jane Chapman.
  • Santa from Cincinnati by Judi Barrett (author of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), with illustrations by Kevin Hawkes. Compiled from his baby book, family photos, and report cards, Santa from Cincinnati provides a full-spectrum view of the boy who grew to be the man who grew to be Santa.
  • Mortimer’s Christmas Manger is a sweet holiday story that’s cherished by families everywhere, again from the bestselling author and illustrator team of Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman.

WINTER WONDERS:

  • The award-winning Red Sled by Lita Judge is an almost wordless picture book in which a host of woodland creatures take a child’s sled for a nighttime joy ride. Gorgeously depicted in bold watercolor, their whimsical ride will become a wintertime favorite.

  • No Two Alikewritten and illustrated by Keith Baker, follows a pair of birds on a snowflake-filled journey though a gorgeous winter landscape to explore how everything, everywhere is wonderfully unique.
  • In Making a Friend, bestselling author Alison McGhee reminds us all that “What you love will always be with you.” This tender story about the power of friendship will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.

AMAZING ANIMAL ADVENTURES:

  • Olivia by Ian Falconer, the award-winning book that started it all! You and your little ones are sure to fall in love with Olivia’s adorably endearing precociousness.
  • Olivia and the Fairy Princesses (Ian Falconer) follows our beloved Olivia on a hilarious quest for individuality, and rest assured, you won’t find THIS pig pleased to be in pink!

  • Don’t Be Afraid, Little Pip – from bestselling author and illustrator team of Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman comes a reassuring tale about the lovable Little Pip that will leave readers cheering… and perhaps a little less scared to try something new.
  • Bear Says Thanks shows us that there’s no better way for Bear to say thanks than by having a big dinner with all of his friends! Written by Karma Wilson and illustrations by Jane Chapman.
  • Nightsong is a beautiful coming-of-age story about a young bat setting off into the world using only his good sense! With mesmerizing artwork from NYT bestselling illustrator Loren Long and lyrical text from Ari Berk, share the lovely message that no matter how far away you go, you can always find your way home.

  • Mousetronaut is the story of a small mouse who wants to travel in outerspace! Written by bestselling author and retired NASA astronaut Commander Mark Kelly and with lively illustrations by award-winning artist C. F. Payne, this little mouse may inspire some big dreams!
  • Creepy Carrots, by Aaron Reynolds with illustrations by Peter Brown. The Twilight Zone comes to the carrot patch in this clever picture book parable about a rabbit who fears his favorite treats are out to get him.
  • In Boot & Shoe, Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee brings her signature wit, tenderness, and hilarious illustrations to this endearing tale about an irresistible puppy pair.

GET READY FOR GIGGLES:

  • I Loathe You, written and illustrated by David Slonim, shows that unconditional loathing is monsterly love in this sweetly humorous picture book.
  • I’m Bored–we all know that there’s NOTHING boring about being a kid, but one little girl is going to have to prove it in this anything-but-boring picture book from comedian Michael Ian Black, accompanied by charismatic illustrations from newcomer Debbie Ridpath Ohi. (Also named as a New York Times Notable Children’s Book of 2012!)

Do you remember the book that you fell in love with as a child? The book with illustrations that left you wide-eyed, and words that your parents learned by heart from countless re-readings? We promise that a similar, if not more magical, experience awaits you in the books by William Joyce:

  • The Sandman is the second book in Joyce’s joyfully imaginative Guardians of Childhood series, and tells us how the sleepy Sandman dreamed up his sweet-dream legacy. Everything about this book is GORGEOUS.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good read!

Rainy Day Reads For Kids

Spring is here, but along with blossoming flowers and warmer weather also comes rainy days. For parents with young children, here are some books that will inspire you with ideas to that will help keep your kids entertained indoors when it’s too wet to go outside.

Do It Now! Crafts

Crafts are a great way to keep kids busy for hours. From the minds of two mothers themselves, this book features over 70 project ideas, including making sand candles, weaving friendship bracelets, creating a pop-up 3D cards and more. It also includes a chapter on creative and fun snacks, like stained-glass cookies, candy sushi and chocolate anthills.

Crafty Princess

This craft book is perfect for little girls who love princesses, sparkles and the colour pink. This kit teaches kids to make tiaras, jewellery, mini thrones, magic mirrors and more, using household items. It also comes with glitter, gemstones, satin and ribbons for maximum style!

The Cookbook for Kids (Williams-Sonoma)

This is a great book to get children exploring the kitchen and lending parents a hand with dinner. Children will be able to prepare some for these recipes on their own while others will require an adult’s help. With recipes from crepes to cookies, fish tacos to nachos, kids will love eating their own creations. Have a look at an excerpt of recipes.

The Lonely Sock Club

This book includes fun projects for kids to create with socks. Easy, creative crafts include fingerless gloves, decorative vases, stuffed toys and more. The kit also comes with pom poms, yarn, googly eyes and felt. Take a peek at some of the crafts.

Mysterious Middle Grade Reads

This May, we’re bringing you a bunch of mysterious reads for middle grade readers that are sure to pull you in and you keep you on edge.

Keeper

Ten-year-old Keeper is searching for her mother. Keeper was born in the water and believes that her mother was a mermaid who swam away when Keeper was just three. As the myth goes, a blue moon calls mermaids to gather at the sandbar at night, so that’s exactly where Keeper’s headed. With her trusty dog by her side and a seagull as captain of the ship, Keeper heads out. However, with a storm approaching, the tides pull her farther from the shore and into more unsettling waters, as Keeper begins to fear the worst.

Read an excerpt from the book. You can also hear author Kathi Appelt’s advice for writers:

Brother from a Box

Matt Rambeau is finally a big brother—to a robot. Matt’s dad is a computer genius who’s always receiving cool stuff in the mail. One day, a package arrives from France. Turns out, it’s a humoid robot who, once assembled, begins calling Matt frère (brother in French). Although Norman, the robot, is a bit of a show off and ladies’ man, Matt still loves having a little brother. One day, Norman goes berserk after a technical malfunction, and suddenly strange men are showing in unexpected places. It seems like someone might be after Norman. Have a look inside the book.

The Great Cat Conspiracy

The New Cat likes to bring home dead things as gifts for Tom. One day, when the cat brings home the Vicar’s expensive koi carp, the Vicar demands that Tom’s mom replace the fish. Tom’s dad is so angry that he banishes the cat from the house. However, by the time Tom manages to convince his dad to let the cat back in, the cat has disappeared, and Tom is convinced someone has kidnapped his cat.

Neil Flambé and the Crusader’s Curse

Thirteen-year-old Neil Flambé is a world-class chef who serves nothing but the most scrumptious dishes, receiving only praise in return. Helping him concoct these dishes is his super-sensitive nose, which also allows him to help the local police solve aromatic mysteries. One day, things go horribly wrong. Neil’s plates are returned uneaten and critics are leaving unhappy. Worst of all, his restaurant is shut down by the Department of Health. Has the curse that plagued the Flambé chefs for decades returned?

Find out from author and illustrator Kevin Sylvester how to draw Neil Flambé yourself:

This Mother’s Day…

Do something different for mom! Why not let her pick her own present? Moms always seem to be the easiest people to buy for….I think it’s because they say they love everything we buy them…even if they don’t!

This Mother’s Day we’re running a sweeps where Mom can pick and choose the books that interest her from a selected list. So, enter the sweeps on behalf of your mom or tell your mom about the sweeps and get her to enter. There are five chances to win! Winners will be notified on May 14th.

For more info click on the image below.

Get Inspired with Earth Day Reads

In honour of Earth Day approaching, we’re bringing you reads, both for kids and adults, that celebrate nature and inspire to make the world a cleaner, brighter, better place.

FOR ADULTS

The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Freshwater in the Twenty-First Century

Beginning with a discussion with his aunt Julia Child (yes, that Julia Child), author Alex Prud’homme begins to think about how France’s reliance on bottled water has spread to America. Bringing to life a narrative with a variety of vivid characters, Prud’homme explores the future of water, threats to its quality, water as a right versus commodity and more.

The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World’s Largest Animal Rescue

How can you not love penguins? Better yet, how can you not love a story about rescuing penguins? In 2000, there was an oil spill off the coast of South Africa, devastating the habitat of 75,000 penguins. With 41% of the world’s African penguins at risk, conservation officials and volunteers jumped to the task of saving them. Dyan deNapoli tells the heartwarming story of the heroes behind the world’s largest wildlife rescue.

The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water

Charles Fishman brings another perspective to the water issue, tracing its importance to dinosaurs, Saturn, and dolphins in the desert. He challenges the idea that we might one day run out of water, instead, examining our relationship with water and finding ways we might use it more effectively.

FOR CHILDREN

Don’t Throw That Away!

Don’t Throw That Away! makes recycling and reusing fun, showing children that everyday household items that appear as trash can actually be used for something else. The book features large flaps that kids can lift to discover which throw-away items are actually treasures.

Dora Celebrates Earth Day!

In this book, Dora the Explorer teaches preschoolers things they can do at home every day to help save the environment, from turning off lights, to reusing jars, to recycling. It’s also printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper with soy ink.

Hey, That’s Not Trash!

Hey, That’s Not Trash! is a fun and interactive read for younger kids. Accompanied by rhyming text, each page features press-outs of everyday items that children will enjoy sorting into the right bins: paper, plastic or metal.

SpongeBob Goes Green!

In this book, SpongeBob comes face to face with global warming. After producing too much carbon monoxide and forcing everyone to flee Bikini Bottom because of the hot temperature, SpongeBob must figure out what he can to do to restore it and bring everyone back home. It’s also printed on 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper with soy ink.